Nothing Shocking in Philadelphia (Temple) for Wichita State

Doug Upstone

Thursday, February 1, 2018 2:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 2:21 PM UTC

There was an assumption that this year's Wichita State team would walk right into the American Athletic Conference, take right over and win the league. Turns out it might not be that easy.

No. 16 Wichita State Shockers at Temple OwlsFree NCAAB Pick: Wichita StateBest Line Offered: Youwager

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The Shockers are still a contender, being in second place at 7-2 (5-4 ATS) in the AAC and they will have a couple of shots at front-running Cincinnati, playing the Bearcats twice in their five games. Wichita State has a 17-4 record (9-10 ATS), which this season is exceptional, considering all the upsets in the Top 25. But losing to Oklahoma and SMU at home were stunners, along with a real dud performance at Houston in which Wichita State lost by 14 as a three-point favorite.

On ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET, the Shockers travel to Philly to take on an ordinary Temple team (11-10, 10-11 ATS). NCAA basketball oddmakers opened coach Gregg Marshall's crew as only a 6-point favorite. Is the number accurate or off-kilter?

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No. 16 @GoShockersMBB travels to Temple as conference play continues; Thursday at 6:00pm CT (ESPN2) #watchus


— Go Shockers (@GoShockers) January 31, 2018

Wichita State Adjusting to Spotlight and Competition

Having watched the Shockers seven times this season, this is what I have noticed compared to the past: Marshall's team brought back all five starters and being ranked in the Top 10 altered perceptions about the program. Each loss or close game brings up the question: "What's wrong?"

The first thing I noticed is they have good but not great quickness, particularly in the backcourt. This is where they have gotten exposed on the defensive end in certain games and been forced to play catch up. At times, Wichita State has played panicky when falling behind.

While this was expected, it is still noticeable. When you play 30-plus games, you are not going to bring the intensity each time. In the Missouri Valley, the Shockers could get away a dull first half and still win by 20. The AAC is different, with better overall talent and players with decidedly more quickness. This has affected Wichita State, but this will probably will help it in March.

Temple Plodding Along

After winning more than 20 games in 2014-15 and 2015-16, Temple appears to be headed for a second straight .500 campaign. The offense does not come easy for this Owls bunch, scoring only 67.5 points a game and connecting on 41.7 percent from the field.

The top three Temple players are all solid, but nothing close to All-AAC material. Quinton Rose, Shizz Alston Jr. and Obi Enechionyia combine to average just over 38 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the starters and bench do not produce on a regular basis, which holds this team back.

No Reason For Wichita State Not to Take Care of Business

For college basketball picks, Wichita State seems like an obvious choice. However, sportsbooks do not put these numbers out for fun. The means the Shockers have to control the tempo and make it a higher-scoring game and dominate the glass like they should. (Shockers +11 rebound margin, Owls -4). Temple hangs around but eventually loses by 10.

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