2010-11 Record: 25-7 (14-2)
KenPom Rating: 38
Vegas: Temple -2.5
Projected Starting Lineup: G Juan Fernandez, G Ramone Moore, G/F Scootie Randall, F Rahlir Jefferson, F Lavoy Allen
Something crucial to track until tip off is Scootie Randall’s status. The junior wing missed Temple’s last five games with a fractured right foot. There have been reports that he attempted to warm up against Richmond and limped off the court, and there are also reports that he has been spotted on campus with no visible limp. Randall said he is ready to play against Penn State, but coach Fran Dunphy has not tipped his cards either way. What is definite is that Randall was averaging 11PPG and 5RPG on the season, he can be a difference maker on both ends of the court.
Temple will be playing without junior forward Michael Eric (7PPG, 6RPG, 1.6BPG) due to a fractured right patella which forced Eric to miss the final eight games and the rest of the season. I saw Temple play Seton Hall in person earlier this season and Eric was the best forward on the court, despite not putting up the best numbers. This is the same court that had Lavoy Allen and Herb Pope on it – two household names. If Temple is to play without Randall and Eric, that is 18PPG/11RPG/3.2BPG that they are missing, not to mention other abilities that don’t show up in the box score.
One player that had to be accounted for last season as guard Juan Fernandez. Then a sophomore, Fernandez was shooting at a 45% clip from beyond the arc. This season? Only 32% on smaller volume of shots. I’ve only seen a few Temple games, but could it be due to Fran Dunphy putting Fernandez on the opponent’s best guard. He vowed to have Fernandez guard Talor Battle today.
Although Fernandez is going through a junior slump, it apparently hasn’t affected the Owls’ that much. Why? Because junior Ramone Moore and sophomore Khalif Wyatt have stepped up big time. The two players are averaging 7 and 10 more PPG than they did last season, respectively. Lavoy Allen is still the usual double-double machine in the paint, which is worth noting, but that was expected.
While Temple has a formidable inside game, they also have several capable outside shooters. Ramone Moore, Scootie Randall, Juan Fernandez and Khalif Wyatt have all attempted more than 100 three pointers this season and are all capable of knocking them down. Wyatt seems to be the most dangerous (45-106, 42.5%). Penn State has had trouble guarding and closing out on three point shooters this season, so this is a major concern.
Overall, Temple plays a solid team game, a type of game that is seen often in the Big Ten. This might bode well for Penn State since they are not facing a Louisville or a Belmont. Temple will play strong, physical defense, slow the game down and rebound. Temple is 243rd in adjusted tempo while Penn State is 341st. That means that Temple likes to play slow, but Penn State is one of the slowest teams in the country, only behind Cal Poly, Stephan F. Austin, Denver and Wisconsin.
KenPom Prediction: Temple 62, Penn State 61
What Penn State needs to do:
- Guard 3PT shot
- Keep Lavoy Allen in check (Jones, Brooks)
- Rebound well
Feel free to add or correct anything I’ve said. I’ve only seen Temple play a few times and only once in person. Some of you Philly guys might be more exposed to them.