Feb 25, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls guard Juan Fernandez (4) sets up a play during the first half against the Saint Joseph's Hawks at Hagan Arena. St. Joseph's defeated Temple 82-72. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Temple has balance, experience and a solid tournament resume.
Even before the Atlantic 10 season started, the Temple Owls appeared to have an NCAA tournament bid in the bag if they could put together a record that even came close to matching expectations. They did better than that, racking up a 13-3 conference record en route to a 24-7 overall record, a regular season A-10 title and a bid to the NCAA tournament. As the No. 5 seed in the Midwest, they'll face the winner of Cal/USF, who play in the First Four.
One game before their conference season started, Temple recorded their biggest win of the season, defeating the Duke Blue Devils. They suffered a bit of a hangover with their loss to Dayton in their next game, but followed that up by recording another signature win, beating eventual A-10 runners-up Saint Louis in a road game. Temple also had an impressive non-conference win against Wichita State, as well as a couple of close losses to solid teams in Texas and Purdue.
The Owls were stunned in the A-10 Tournament, falling to UMass in the quarterfinals. The loss took away Temple's shot at an auto-bid, but didn't hurt its NCAA Tournament chances.
Temple are not flashy or truly spectacular in any area, but are very experienced and extremely balanced. All five of their top five scorers are upperclassmen. Big guards Ramone Moore and Khalif Wyatt have very diverse games that make them difficult to guard, while 6'11" senior center Michael Eric rebounds at a high rate and is a scoring threat on the offensive glass.
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