Before March Madness begins in earnest on Thursday, we still have to get down to 64 teams. Eight teams will meet in Dayton to vie for one of those last few spots on Tuesday and Wednesday, and while it’s far from ideal, it beats the alternative. The Temple Owls and the Belmont Bruins were two of the last teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, and they will vie to travel to Jacksonville for the right to take on the Maryland Terrapins on Friday.
First Four Betting Line: Belmont -3 vs. Temple, O/U 155.5 (From BetDSI)
The Bruins breathed a huge sigh of relief when they heard they were headed to Dayton. After falling to Murray State in the OVC Championship Game, many thought that Belmont would be another mid-major that narrowly missed out because it failed to win its conference tournament. However, the Selection Committee rewarded Belmont for a great regular season that included wins over UCLA and Lipscomb (twice), so the Bruins will be dancing.
Temple was in the field right after it beat UCF in its regular season finale, but a bad loss to Wichita State in the Owls’ first game of the AAC Tournament meant they had to go to Dayton. The Owls are accustomed to disappointing losses, as their last two losses in the regular season, against Tulsa and Memphis, hurt their resume.
Belmont has been one of the most fun teams to watch in the country. Dylan Windler is the team’s leader, and despite being listed as a guard, he is constantly around the paint and is cleaning up the glass. He is averaging a double-double this year with 21.4 PPG and 10.7 RPG, and his play is a big part of why Belmont has a top 20 offense in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy.
Unsurprisingly, the Bruins are very efficient on the offensive end. They are hitting 49.9 percent of their field goals this season, and they don’t turn the ball over too much. Everyone gets involved in the action too as this team is averaging nearly 20 assists per game.
As for Temple, the Owls were the second-weakest team to get an at-large bid according to Ken Pomeroy. His ratings have this team ranked as the 76th best team in the country, and they don’t have an offense or a defense that ranks in the top 80.
This is a team led by its guards, but they haven’t been too efficient. Temple has three players that are averaging double digits in terms of points per game, but none of the three are shooting better than 46 percent from the floor, and only one is hitting better than 35 percent from downtown. As a whole, the Owls sink less than a third of their triples, and that’s concerning for a team that relies so heavily on guard play.
I love Belmont in this situation. The Bruins are a more well-rounded team, and they will be able to pick apart Temple with their dynamic offense.
- San Jose Wins a Thrilling Game Seven, Boston Advances and More - April 24, 2019
- The Dallas Stars Punch Their Ticket to the Conference Semifinals and More - April 23, 2019
- San Jose and Boston Force Game Sevens and More - April 22, 2019
- The Blues Send the Jets to the Golf Course and More - April 21, 2019
- Avalanche Extinguish the Flames and More - April 20, 2019
- Hurricanes Tie the Series, Blues Comeback Against the Jets and More - April 19, 2019
- Colorado Stuns Calgary in Overtime, Boston Evens the Series and More - April 18, 2019
- Tampa Bay Lightning Complete Biggest Postseason Collapse in History and More - April 17, 2019
- Avalanche Snuff Out the Flames, Hurricanes Crush the Capitals and More - April 16, 2019
- Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh on the Verge of Being Swept and More - April 15, 2019