UConn's Inside Advantage Over Temple Hasn't Changed Since First Meeting

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:52 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 1:52 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapper, Mark Lathrop, is on a 14-3 ATS run and looks to keep things rolling as we get a primetime AAC matchup between UConn and Temple on national television.

2016-17 NCAAB Record: 33-19-2, +12.10 Units 

Pretty nasty split in my totals picks yesterday, as BYU decided not to play offense in the second half of their game at home to send that game under the total. No matter, as I am on a 14-3 ATS run coming into this breakdown between the Connecticut Huskies and the Temple Owls. The Huskies sit 4th in the AAC at 8-5 in conference matchups and 13-12 SU overall, while Temple is 8th in the conference at 5-9 and 14-13 SU overall. Even though the conference records clearly favor the Huskies, the opening lines have the Temple Owls favored by 2 points at 5Dimes. The overnight O/U total has opened at 135 points at BookMaker.

Temple is led by 6’ 4” sophomore guard, Shizz Alston, Jr. Although he averages 13.7 points and 3.9 assists per game on the season, he was definitely not the shizz in Temple’s last game out against East Carolina. In that game, Alston Jr. only shot 3 for 10 from the floor and scored 7 points. It continued a trend for him of hot and cold streaks throughout the year, this one cold of course. Alston Jr. was just average in the last meeting with UConn in scoring 13 points, but just after he scored more than 22 points in three games straight. He will definitely be a wild card in this game.

But it wasn’t Alston Jr. who decided Temple’s fate in the first game, it was 6’ 10” junior forward, Obi Enechionyia. Temple’s star big man usually averages 13 points and 6.1 rebounds per game on 40.3% average shooting from the floor. But in the last game against UConn, Obi was held to just 3-17 shooting from the floor and 7 points overall. More attempts by Obi haven’t been good for Temple’s game this year, as they are just 2-5 SU when he shoots 16 or more times from the floor.

UConn’s big men, on the other hand, had a completely different effect on the earlier matchup between these two teams. 6’ 10” senior forward, Kentan Facey, led the way with 9-11 shooting from the floor, 10 rebounds, and 23 points in the game. His effort was matched by 7’ 0” senior center, Amida Brimah, who shot an excellent 6-18 from the floor for an efficient 13 points over 26 minutes. Brimah also blocked 6 points in that game against Temple, his second-best effort of the year behind an 8 block performance against Northeastern.

This is a great spot for Temple on the schedule, with a primetime ESPN timeslot to showcase their basketball team. At the end of the day though, I don’t believe that they can overcome the advantage that UConn has in the front court. It will take excellent shooting from the outside for Temple to win in this game, but they rank 160th in the nation in 3-point percentage. They tried to shoot their way back into the first game after falling behind by 13 points in the first half, yet shot 29.4% from distance in that effort. This pick boils down to matchups, and in this case, UConn is the best team on the floor and I will take them on the moneyline as my Sunday college basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: UConn +120Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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