NCAA Tournament Odds: Temple meets Penn State

By: Brad Young | Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brian Blessing and Kenny White preview the Tucson pod
that includes (7) Temple taking on (10) Penn State.
Penn State and Temple are two schools in eastern Pennsylvania separated by less than 200 miles, but they will travel across country to battle in the NCAA Tournament.  The 10th-seeded Nittany Lions and seventh-seeded Owls have a history at the Big Dance, meeting during the Sweet 16 of the 2001 tournament.

Penn State hasn’t advanced to the NCAA Tournament since the 2001 campaign, while Temple is appearing in its fourth straight tournament.  However, the Owls were eliminated in the first round each time and are searching for their first tournament win since 2001.

Temple upended the Nittany Lions in that 2001 encounter as a 4 ½-point favorite, 84-72, before losing to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.  The combined 156 points went ‘over’ the 139-point closing total.

The Don Best screen has Temple 2 ½-point ‘chalk’ over Penn State, with the total set at 121.  TNT will provide coverage of Thursday’s West Region contest beginning at 11:10 a.m. PT from Tucson’s McKale Center.

Penn State (19-14 straight up, 16-11-2 against the spread) advanced to the Big Ten Championship Game before losing to top-seed Ohio State as a 10-point neutral-court underdog, 71-60.  The 131 points went ‘over’ the 127-point closing total, ending a string of three consecutive ‘under’ outings.  The Nittany Lions were riding a four-game SU and ATS winning streak before facing the Buckeyes.

Penn State entered halftime trailing by six points, 29-23, and finished the game with deficits in rebounds (27-25) and assists (14-8).  The Nittany Lions shot just 39 percent (22-of-56) from the field and 39 percent (7-of-18) from behind the arc, but they did convert all nine of their free throws.

Guard Talor Battle led the offense with 24 points and five rebounds, while forward Jeff Brooks added 19 and six.  They were the only two Penn State players to reach double digits in scoring.

Temple (25-7 SU, 17-15 ATS) is one of three Atlantic 10 Conference schools playing in the NCAA Tournament, along with Richmond and Xavier.  The Owls fell to the Spiders in the conference semifinals Saturday as a 3 ½-point neutral-court favorite, 58-54.  The combined 112 points never seriously threatened the 126 ½-point closing total, ending a string of three straight ‘over’ outings.

Temple was on the short end of rebounding, 36-35, but the team did deliver more assists, 14-10.  The Owls struggled by shooting 35 percent (20-of-57) from the field, and 28 percent (7-of-25) from 3-point land.

Guard Khalif Wyatt accounted for 15 points and six rebounds in the setback, while forward Lavoy Allen added 12 and 10.  Guard Ramone Moore had 11 and six, while point guard Juan Fernandez provided seven, seven and 10 assists.

Temple has won the previous six meetings with Penn State SU, while the Nittany Lions are 4-2 ATS.  The Owls won the latest encounter in 2009 as 7 ½-point home ‘chalk,’ 45-42, while the combined 87 points fell well below the 125 ½-point closing total.

Penn State forward Andrew Jones (mouth) is ‘probable’ versus the Owls according to the Don Best Sports injury report.

Temple forward Scootie Randall (foot) is ‘probable’ against the Nittany Lions.  The Owls have seen the ‘under’ go 10-2 their past 12 neutral-site games.  Temple is just 2-6 ATS its last eight games against Big Ten opponents.

 
 
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