(7) Temple vs. (2) San Diego State
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(7) Temple Owls
All year long the Temple Owls’ have benefitted from having one of the most well-balanced offensive attacks in the country with five different players who average double figures. Against the rugged defense of the Penn State Nittany Lions, though, they only had two players who could really get it going in junior guards Ramon Moore and Juan Fernandez. With the game tied Fernandez had it set in his mind that he was going to take the last shot and despite being defended pretty well, he found a way to nail a floating mid-range jump shot with just .4 seconds remaining. The Owls saw Scootie Randall make his return after being out since February 17th, but his impact was minimal as he only played six minutes in which he didn’t score or grab a rebound. In a matchup against the San Diego State Aztecs the Owls have to be ready box out and play really aggressive in hopes of getting their talented frontline in foul trouble.
(2) San Diego State Aztecs
The San Diego State Aztecs knew they were going up against a one-man show in the Devon-Beitzel-led Northern Colorado Bears. They couldn’t prevent him from getting his as he shot 8-17 from the field and 6-10 from deep en route to a 25 point night, but they successful contained everyone else and ran away from the Bears with a 68-50 victory. As usual, the Aztecs were great on the glass, out rebounding the smaller Bears by 11. Kawhi Leonard played every bit like a future pro, tallying up 21 points and 10 rebounds. Billy White had a double-double as well with 12 points and 13 rebounds, also dishing out two assists and creating three steals. The three-point shooting of the Aztecs may have been more impressive than their defense that held the Bears to sub 37% shooting from the field and distance. The Aztecs scored 27 points from beyond the arc, knocking down 9-22. If they continue to defend and shoot like that they’re going to be a very difficult team to eliminate.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: San Diego State. Both of these teams are in unchartered territory as it’s been quite a long time since the Owls have been in the second round while the Aztecs have never been there. The Aztecs’ lack of experience doesn’t concern us. They’re a team on a mission and they’ll move onto the Sweet 16.
HOOPSWORLD’s 2011 previews were written by senior NCAA analysts Yannis Koutroupis and Luke Byrnes. 2011 March Madness coverage is sponsored by the United States Marines. To return to our preview headquarters, CLICK HERE.