For two teams from such disparate geographical backgrounds, Iowa and Temple are surprisingly similar.
Both teams play with a high basketball IQ, showcased by the fact that neither team turns the ball over (Temple is tied for 1st nationally in turnovers per game, Iowa is 19th) or foul (Iowa is 3rd nationally in free throws allowed per game, Temple is 31st). Both teams feature long, skilled power forwards in Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa) and Obi Enechionyia (Temple) and high-scoring wings in Peter Jok (Iowa) and Quenton DeCosey (Temple). Both head coaches have Philadelphia roots.
Both teams have even won the same number of games (21).
With such similarities between the teams, it might come down to who can execute their gameplan better.
Temple coach Fran Dunphy has emphasized transition defense, saying, "They're [Iowa] great at, if we make a shot at one end, if we relax, they're going to run it right down our throat and get a great shot at the other end."
That's particularly true of All-Big Ten 1st Team Selection Uthoff, the thin but sweet-shooting 4-man who runs basket to basket as well as anyone in the country. He can also catch-and-shoot from almost anywhere on the court.
So can Temple find him in transition? Can they limit turnovers against Iowa's combination of man, zone, and pressing defenses and limit those transition opportunities? Their history (and Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery) says they can, and that will be critical for an Iowa team whose half-court offense can get disjointed and turn into hero ball.
How will Iowa defend Jaylen Bond on the offensive glass? Temple's senior captain is averaging over 3 offensive rebounds per game this season, and while Adam Woodbury is a terrific positional rebounder, he might have difficulty locating Bond out of zone sets to put a body on him.
This isn't news to McCaffery or the Hawkeyes.
"You have to guard them [Temple] when they come down the floor," McCaffery said in a press conference before his team's shootaround at the Barclay's Center, "and stop them from scoring and rebound the ball because then you've got Bond, who's as good an offensive rebounder as there is."
So Who Wins?
Iowa has the advantage if both teams play well - they're bigger, a little more talented, and it's a good matchup for Uthoff. But Temple can win if they keep the game simple, turn the ball over 8 times or fewer (around their season average), and, most importantly, knock down outside shots. The Owls ranked 1st in the AAC in 3-pointers attempted, but only made 34% of them for the season.