Temple Owls (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), 4:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 17, 2009, MCI Center, Washington, D.C. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Temple +8.5/Georgetown -8.5
As part of ESPN’s 24-hour college basketball marathon, Temple and Georgetown battle in D.C. for an early season non-conference battle.
Georgetown is coming off a disappointing season in which the Hoyas were ranked in the top 10 in the country early on but couldn’t even reach the NCAA tournament. Temple is coming off two straight NCAA tournament appearances, but the loss of high-scoring guard Dionte Christmas will be tough to overcome.
The Hoyas had a bad season last year but at least they retained Greg Monroe, a sophomore 6-foot-10 big man who was superb last season as a freshman. Monroe could have gone to the NBA Draft, but he returned to school. Also returning are point guard Chris Wright, shooting guard Austin Freeman, 6-foot-8 wing Nikita Mescheriakov, sophomore guard Jason Clark, power forward Julian Vaughn and center Henry Sims.
Christmas often carried the Owls over the past few years. Without him, players like Ryan Brooks, Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez must step up their scoring.
In Georgetown’s opening 74-58 win at Tulane, Monroe was back to business with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Freeman had 16 points, Clark had 13 and Wright had 11. Julian Vaughn, the fifth starter, had seven points and five rebounds. Sims and Thompson were the only bench players that played more than three minutes. The Hoyas dominated on the boards with a 33-21 rebounding advantage. The Hoyas played well all around, but they did turn the ball over 15 times, including four turnovers as compared to two assists for Wright, their point guard.
Temple also played well in its opening game, a 76-56 win at Delaware. Often, teams struggle in their first game with new players or without their star player, but Temple didn’t miss a step in its first game without Christmas. Brooks took on the scoring load with a game-high 23 points. Fernandez was the only other Owl in double figures with 14 points. Allen had a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with his nine points. Temple shot 50 percent from the field, committed only nine turnovers and held a 38-28 rebounding edge.
If Temple is going to pull off the road upset, Allen, who is an excellent defensive player, will have to do an incredible job on Monroe. If Monroe isn’t able to score much, it would be up to the likes of Freeman and Wright to carry the offense. The Hoyas do, however, have plenty of guys capable of scoring points. Temple, meanwhile, will not rely on any one player. But the Owls don’t have many capable scorers to begin with. Brooks and Allen have to play well for Temple to be successful because Fernandez, Luis Guzman, Micheal Eric, Ramone Moore and Craig Williams can all score some points here and there, but none of them are likely to lead the team in scoring too often. Temple hopes that Allen can defend Monroe decently enough that the Owls won’t have to double-team him. If they do have to double-team him, Monroe is a very good post passer and the Hoyas have some solid outside shooters in Freeman and Mescheriakov.
Ryno’s Pick: Allen is a fierce defender, and although Monroe has an inch or two on him, Allen will limit Monroe’s production. The game will come down to which team can get other players to step up, and which team will shoot better from beyond the arc. Brooks, Guzman and Williams can all shoot well from beyond the arc, but Georgetown has more capable outside shooters with Freeman, Mescheriakov and even Wright, Vaughn and Clark, who was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc against Tulane. These teams are actually quite similar. Both teams’ head coach used to coach an Ivy League school – Temple coach Fran Dunphy was the coach at Penn and Georgetown coach Jon Thompson III was the coach at Princeton, so these two coaches know each other well. Both teams have solid point guards in Wright and Fernandez. Both teams have solid defensive big men and some capable outside shooters. But the difference is that Georgetown has a better star big man, better outside shooting and the home court advantage. Take Georgetown -8.5.