The Temple Owls could be in a letdown spot after suffering their first loss following a 6-0 start in blowout fashions vs. Duke in a disappointing effort. Take Towson as a big dog Wednesday.
The home team is not in the best of scheduling spots on Wednesday night when the Towson Tigers (4-5, 2-5 away) pay a visit to those Temple Owls (6-1, 3-0 home) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA at 7:00 ET.
The point spread at 5 Dimes has Towson as a huge underdog for this contest at a current line of +18 at odds of -108.
The Owls are definite contenders to win the Atlantic 10 Conference this season, although the conference did get tougher with the additions of VCU and Butler, but Temple had the kind of start to this season that gave it loftier aspirations.
The Owls opened the year by winning a true road game at Kent State, and they then went on to win their next five games for a 6-0 start, culminating with a another road win vs. Big Five rival Villanova in convincing fashion 76-61 last Wednesday. Thus, Temple was full of confidence going into a date with Duke at the Meadowlands on Saturday as it finally got a chance to see just how good it is vs. one of the country’s elite teams.
Well, the Blue Devils dominated from start to finish in a 90-67 blowout, which cannot be good for Temple’s psyche right now. Then again, the 6-0 start must be put in perspective as even now at 6-1, the Owls are still ranked only 53rd overall on the Pomeroy Ratings and they were only a 46th going into the Duke game despite being undefeated. Temple does not grade out poorly on the Pomeroy Ratings, but it is not a world-beater either.
The Owls rank 51st in offensive efficiency and 76th in defensive efficiency, so their current overall rating definitely seems closer to reality than the 6-0 start. You cannot tell that to the players though, and considering the excitement on campus Saturday morning followed by the disappointment that followed Saturday night, it seems almost inevitable that Temple will have some kind of a letdown tonight vs. a low profile opponent.
Towson is just 4-5 overall and ranked a dismal 283rd overall by Pomeroy, but believe it or not the Tigers are not totally void of talent. In fact they are a quite good offensive rebounding team ranking 23rd in the entire country in that category, and they play decent two-point defense allowing only a 44.2 percent success rate.
When you add in an expected lack of energy from Temple, those two things may be enough to keep the Tigers within 15 points or so here. Their offensive rebounding should either lead to easy put-backs or to extended possessions, both of which are fine attributes for an 18-point underdog. Also, Tempe ranks a bland 104th in two-point offense at 49.0 percent, so the Towson interior defense could continue its commendable showing in the early going.
Finally Towson is actually 2-2 ATS in its four lined games, losing by only six points at Georgetown Saturday as an identical 18-point underdog as it is tonight and losing by only two points in overtime at Eastern Kentucky earlier on.
Look for Towson to hang around inside this fat number from start to finish Wednesday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Towson +18 (-108)