Temple Should, Make That Could, Beat Arizona State

The Chances of Temple getting out of the first round? Pretty darn good.

The Owls are a trendy upset pick in the first round of March Madness. Even President Obama is picking the Owls to advance.

But let’s not be foolish, when the Owls meet the Sun Devils on Friday they really aren’t expected to win. Temple is about a five-point underdog in Vegas.

In reality, they CAN compete with Arizona State.

Temple has the experience, they have the superstar in Dionte Christmas and they have the discipline to advance out of round one for the first time since 2001.

Last year, the Owls left the Rocky Mountains of Denver in a valley of hurt after playing their hearts out, but coming up short against a superior Michigan State team.
MSU gave Temple more problems than Arizona should.

Still, ASU is a dangerous team with deadly outside shooters. Stopping James Harden is key for the Owls. He's is destined to be a NBA Lottery pick and he averages more than 20 points per game.
Limiting Harden's shots could be the main obstacle in winning.

Temple has to rely on Christmas to make magic.

The Temple guard has the Owls on a roll -- winning five straight coming into the tourney.

He was the senior star and leader all year long. The good news for Temple is that he has doesn't have A-Rod syndrome -- he doesn't choke when it matters most. In December, Christmas scorched then No. 9 Tennessee for 35 points on a nationally televised win on ESPN.

The spotlight was on Christmas again in the A-10 Tournament. He didn’t play his best ball, but he woke up big time in the second half of the Owls’ victories in the semi-finals and the finals.

The Owls perimeter game benefits a shooter like Christmas and they have a slight edge because Arizona State plays zone defense, which could give Christmas open opportunities.

Temple's biggest problem is that they aren't a physical team. Arizona State likes to play tough basketball with their big man Jeff Pendergraph--he could give Temple a run for their money.
The Owls best defense? Seven-foot Spaniard Sergio Olmos at center. While he isn't known for physical down low play (he actually plays quite the opposite), lately he has played some of his most spirited and physical basketball of his career.

Heck, he almost got in a fight against St. Joe's.

Bottom line: If Temple remains composed, they should pull the upset.

Our prediction: Temple wins 69 to 65.

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