Previewing Temple

Previewing the Blue Devils and Owls who will tip off tonight at 7 PM in Cameron Indoor. The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN2 with Rece Davis and Bob Knight calling the action.

Temple (21-5) vs. Duke (25-2)
Durham, N.C. -- Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: ESPN2 7:00 PM EST (Rece Davis & Bob Knight)
MEET THE OWLS

Head Coach: Fran Dunphy (5th Year)
Record at Temple: 104-54
Career v. Duke: 0-2

Projected Starters:
?24 Lavoy Allen (6-9, 225 Sr.) – 10.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg
32 Rahlir Jefferson (6-6, 200, So.) – 5.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
22 Aaron Brown (6-5, 210, Fr.) - 2.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg
23 Ramone Moore (6-4, 180, Jr.) – 15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.2 apg
4 Juan Fernandez (6-4, 180, Jr.) – 10.2 ppg, 4.0 apg

Top Reserves:
1 Khalif Wyatt (6-4, 205, So.) – 9.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg
33 Scootie Randall (6-6, 205, Jr.) – 11.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
11 T.J. Dileo (6-3, 195, So.) – 2.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg


Series History: This will be the 27th meeting between the two programs with the Blue Devils holding a 17-9 advantage to date. Duke has won eight straight against Temple and 14 of the last 17. Despite the one-sidedness of the last eight games, the match-ups have been tightly contested with five of the last eight being decided by 10 points or fewer. The two teams have met eight times in Cameron Indoor Stadium with Temple winning just one of those eight contests.

In addition to five of the last eight games being decided by 10 points or fewer, in five of the last eight games the Blue Devils have been ranked as the nation's top team.

Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski the Blue Devils are 10-1 against the Owls and 7-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Temple Roster: Click Here
Temple Statistics: Click Here
Temple Schedule: Click Here


PRE-GAME NOTES:

"They haven't lost a non-conference game there in forever. It's gonna be a great opportunity for us. It's a tough place to play." - Lavoy Allen

"It's an honor to play that program with that coach, and that storied tradition in that facility. It's one of those atmospheres the kids are never gonna forget." - Fran Dunphy

Season To Date: Temple comes calling to Cameron Indoor riding an eight game win streak - all A10 games. The Owls have gotten a lift from a number of players including senior forward Lavoy Allen who has positioned himself on top of the school's all-time rebounding list in the Owls' last game by collecting 12 boards against St. Joseph's to bring his career total to 1,045 rebounds over his near four year career. It hasn't been easy at times for Temple as the team is facing uncertainty with 6'6 junior forward Scootie Randall's foot injury. As one of the A10's best players, Randall had averaged nearly 18 points per game over the last eight before missing the SJU game with a right foot injury. His status is undecided for the game against Duke.

Outside of the A10 schedule the Owls have wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown on the resume as well as a four point loss to Villanova. With a 21-5 overall record on the season, Temple is ranked as the nation's No. 24 team in this week's polls.

Coaching Ties: Temple coach Fran Dunphy and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski played together on a United States Army touring team in 1971. The team trained at the Presidio in San Francisco and toured in both the United States and overseas, visiting Germany, Greece, Lebanon and Syria.

Small Ball: Temple doesn't boast a lot of size with just three players on the roster over 6-foot-9 and only one of those factoring into the regular rotation in the form of Allen. Usually the Owls rely on a pair of 6-foot-6 athletes to function as big guards who rebound - the most successful of which is Randall. With his status uncertain, the Owls not only lose a scoring punch, but also rebounding from the wing. Something that could hurt against the taller Blue Devils. The equalizer could be isolating the Duke bigs on the perimeter and then attacking the basket in an attempt to force Krzyzewski to go small with Kyle Singler playing the power forward. This would require Duke to get much more from sophomore Andre Dawkins than they have over the past few games.

M*A*S*H The lack of size for the Owls can be directly traced to a season ending injury to junior big man Michael Eric who suffered fracture of the right patella on Feb. 15. A native of Nigeria, Eric had increased both his scoring (7.1 ppg.) and rebounding (5.9 rpg.) averages from a season ago (5.9 ppg., 3.1 rpg.) and was seventh in blocked shots (1.6 bpg.) in the Atlantic 10 at the time of his injury. He topped double figures five times this season with a high of 16 points vs. Akron (12/12). He posted his first career double-dou- ble at Fordham (1/5), scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He set a career-high with five blocks vs. Seton Hall (11/12) and is tied for the team lead with 38.

Similarly, Randall suffered a right foot injury in the second half of the Richmond win (2/17), missed the Owls game Sunday against St. Joe's. His status is uncertain for the Wednesday's game. Randall, who earned his first A-10 and Big 5 Player of the Week honors on Feb. 7, has averaged 17.4 points over his last eight outings to increase his average to 11.6 ppg., second on the team. The 6-6 forward, who tallied a career-high 28 points at Xavier (1/22), is also averaging 5.1 rebounds while leading the squad in three-pointers made (45) and ranking second on the team and eighth in the A-10 in FG% (.498). The Philadelphia native has scored in double figures 16 times on the season and 17 for his career. In A-10 play, he is second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg.), and first in field goal percentage (.508), three-pointers (31).

In all the Owls have lost 56 player games to injury this season including four starters missing a combined eight games (and counting). The injury tally stands as follows: Lavoy Allen (left ankle sprain) 1 game; Micheal Eric (fractured right patella) 2 games*; Juan Fernandez (bone bruise-left knee) 4 games; Anthony Lee (herniated disk) 22 games*; Scootie Randall (right foot) 1 game; Craig Williams (foot injuries) 26 games* (*- out for the season)

Defensive Focus: With so many injuries occurring the Owls can't simply hope to out-score their opponents. Not that Temple is known for up and down basketball in the first place, but the point remains. Defense is critical. And, so far, defense is being played in a high major fashion. The Owls lead the A10 in scoring defense, allowing just 61.0 points per game. Nationally the team ranks second in field goal percentage defense (.404).

Balanced Attack: In addition to defensive prowess, the Owls are getting a balanced offensive attack each night. After junior guard Ramone Moore (15.2 ppg), the team isn't sure which combination of players will step up and put points on the board or in what fashion. But each night someone does. The Owls have had seven players serve as the high scorer during a single game this season. Moore has led the Cherry and White in scoring a team-high eight times, while senior forward Lavoy Allen, junior forward Scootie Randall and junior guard Juan Fernandez have each led the Owls in scor- ing four times. Sophomore Khalif Wyatt has been high man three times while junior Michael Eric has topped TU twice. Sophomore Rahlir Jefferson has done it once. Five players, Moore, Allen, Fernandez, Randall and Wyatt, have scored 20 points in a game with Moore accomplishing the feat four times. Allen, Randall and Fernandez each have eclipsed the 20-point mark twice. Moore's 30 points in Temple's 68-65 win over Georgetown on December 9 is the high output for a TU player this season..

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 26-2 (12-1 ACC) on the season against Temple, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Duke has won 43 of the last 46 games entering Wednesday's game with Temple. The Blue Devils have won 20 of their 21 contests against non-conference opponents in that span.
  • The Blue Devils are looking for their 19th straight win in the month of February. Duke's last loss in the month was on Feb. 15, 2009 at Boston College.
  • The Blue Devils' current 34-game win streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium is the longest active streak in the country and the fourth-longest home win streak in program history. Duke has only lost two home games in the past four seasons, posting a record of 63-2 in Cameron Indoor Stadium during that span.
  • Nolan Smith is attempting to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in scoring and assists. Smith is currently averaging an ACC-best 21.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. He is one of three players in the NCAA averaging over 20.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.
  • Seth Curry is averaging 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 steals over the last six games. He is 14-of-30 (.467) from three-point range and has a 3.29:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in that span.
  • Kyle Singler is five points shy of moving into the top 15 of the ACC career scoring chart. Singler currently has 2,221 career points.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Owls are going to look to play an intense, physical brand of defense while also keeping a close eye on the tempo of the game. Temple doesn't want this game to turn into a track meet, and Will Do all it can to prevent such an evolution from occurring. The Owls will also look to draw the Duke bigs into foul trouble - something that hasn't been overly difficult at times this season for Blue Devil opponents. If Temple can force Duke to go small, the Blue Devils will need more help off the bench from Dawkins who has the size and athleticism to match-up with the barrage of blue collar, tough guards on the Owls' roster. Duke will also look for Singler to break out of his several month shooting slump as March begins to creep up. The senior has been brilliant on the defensive end, but has struggled from the field at times. In the end look for Duke to find themselves in a tight game throughout the first half and into the second. However, the loss of Randall and the potential problems on the glass should be enough - when combined with Duke's scoring ability at home - to send Duke to a ninth straight victory in the series.

Prediction:
Duke - 75
Temple - 61


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