Two major mid-major squads face off in the Third Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket: San Diego State vs. Temple means either a Mountain West or an Atlantic 10 team will be making this year's Sweet Sixteen. The game is at the heart of the updated 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule, tipping in Tucson on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. Eastern.
The Aztecs cruised through their Second Round matchup against Northern Colorado, winning 68-50 in a game that they dominated on the boards (42 rebounds) and in turnover margin (just three giveaways). Kawhi Leonard paced San Diego State with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and could well do the same sort of thing against an undersized Temple squad.
The Owls may have problems scoring, too: Juan Fernandes and Ramone Moore combined for 46 of Temple's 68 points in their dramatic Second Round win over Penn State, and San Diego State can do more things on defense. Neither team wants to run, though, and if Temple's slightly better three-point shooting can produce a few more points in half-court sets, this could be close late.
Star Watch: Leonard has been excellent of late for the Aztecs. Since San Diego State's second loss to BYU, he's had 12 or more points and eight-plus rebounds in every game, and has shot over 50% from the field in each of his last three outings.
Prediction: Despite a valiant effort early, Temple cannot keep up with San Diego State's better athletes, and falls 75-62.
More Reading: SB Nation's Mountain West blog Mountain West Connection has more San Diego State insights, while you can learn more about the Owls at SB Nation Philadelphia. The Smoking Musket, has plenty more on the Mountaineers.
Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.
Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.