No. 6 Arizona State Sun Devils vs. No. 11 Temple Owls

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview
No. 6 Arizona State Sun Devils (24-9) -5.5 vs. No. 11 Temple Owls (22-11) +5.5
Friday, 2:45PM Eastern betting line – Arizona State -5.5

The Temple Owls scored their second straight Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship in exciting fashion last Saturday taking down Duquesne 69-64. The win guaranteed the Owls an NCAA Tournament bid ultimately resulting in their number 11 seed they will enter the tournament carrying. Arizona State nearly came up big in the Pac-10 Tournament dropping the Championship game by only 3 points to the USC Trojans. The game will highlight some interesting one on one match-ups on the floor. Both teams are led by stellar guards that can change the entire complexion of the game on any given night. However, the guard that will shine through on Friday afternoon has yet to be determined as we wait to find out which team will come out of the first round with a solid victory.

Temple will head into the game as the slight underdogs with a balanced team who can play well on both ends of the court. The Owls are led by the play of senior guard Dionte Christmas. Christmas got very hot in the Owls Championship game last Saturday knocking down one point shy of a season high that equaled 29 points for the game. Christmas has averaged 19 points per game on the season and will go face to face with the Arizona State standout guard James Harden. The Owls have faired well on the boards this season and have also held opponents to shoot a low 40% from the field. Temple will try to confuse the Sun Devils with some different defensive looks and look for Christmas and others to earn the Owls first NCAA Tournament win in nearly 10 years.

Arizona State had lost 3 of their last 4 games to close out the regular season. However, the Sun Devils made a strong showing in the Pac-10 Tournament that nearly resulted in a Championship. The Sun Devils sophomore guard James Harden has been the difference maker all season averaging 20.8 points per game. Harden played extremely well through the conference games and will look to make an equally big impact in the NCAA Tournament for the Sun Devils. Opposed to the scorers for Arizona State, their defense could actually be the biggest difference in the game. Arizona State sports one of the top 25 scoring defenses in the country holding teams to only 60 points per game. Add to the fact that Temple has struggled at times shooting the ball this season and the Sun Devils could match up well in this opening round game.

The match-up between the two guards will be very intriguing as we wait to see who will make the biggest impact for their team. Also, Arizona State’s James Pendergraph and Temple’s Lavoy Allen will have their own interesting battle inside the paint that should be fun to watch as well which could determine the team that gets the most second chance opportunities.

Betting Trends…
Temple is 5-0 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 outings. The Owls have also reached the under total in 4 of those last 5 games as well. Arizona State is 3-1 ATS in their last 4 games while reaching the over in 4 of their last 5 games.

Pick – Sun Devils and the points. Take ASU -5.5