NCAA Tournament: Temple - San Diego State Gameday Preview

#7 Temple (26-7, 14-2 A10) vs. #2 San Diego State (33-2, 14-2 MWC)
6:10 PM EST March 19, 2011
McKale Center Tuscon, AZ

ALL-TIME
Arizona State leads the series 1-0. The only meeting between these two squads came back in 1981.

LAST TIME
12/30/198
1 - The Aztecs knocked off the visiting Owls by a score of 75-64 in the Cabrillo Classic at the San Diego Sports Arena.

HEAD COACHES
Temple

Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 110-56 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 420-219 (21st season)

San Diego State
Steve Fisher

Record at SDSU: 231-151 (12th season)
All-Time Record: 415-233 (20th season)

TOP PERFORMERS
Temple
PPG
: G Ramone Moore - 15.2
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 8.5
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 4.0

San Diego State
PPG
: F Kawhi Leonard - 15.6
RPG: F Kawhi Leonard - 10.6
APG: G D.J. Gay - 3.2

PROBABLE STARTERS
Temple

Lavoy Allen F - 11.6 ppg. 8.5 rpg. 1.9 bpg.
Rahlir Jefferson F - 5.6 ppg. 5.1 rpg. .539 fg%
Aaron Brown G - 3.3 ppg. 1.0 rpg. 9.9 mpg.
Juan Fernandez G - 11.1 ppg. 3.0 rpg. 4.0 apg.
Ramone Moore G - 15.2 ppg. 4.2 rpg. 3.1 apg

San Diego State
Malcolm Thomas F - 11.5 ppg. 8.2 rpg. 2.3 apg.
Kawhi Leonard F - 15.4 ppg. 10.7 rpg. 2.5 apg.
Billy White F - 9.9 ppg. 3.8 rpg. .567 fg%
Chase Tapeley G - 8.4 ppg. 2.4 rpg. 1.9 apg.
D.J. Gay G - 11.2 ppg. 2.0 rpg. 3.2 apg.

LAST OUTING
Temple (66-64 victory over Penn State)

From the Associated Press:

Fernandez, double-teamed as time was running out, forced up the winning shot off his right foot while fading to his left just inside the 3-point line. The clock read 0.4 seconds as the ball went through the net.

In the timeout that preceded the shot, Temple's Khalif Wyatt had some advice for his coach: Put the ball in Fernandez's hands and let him determine the outcome.

"I was thinking about shooting a jump shot but I killed my dribble and [Tim] Frazier was right there," Fernandez said. "For some reason he jumped over to my right and that gave me the space to go left."

It's not the kind of shot anyone practices, Fernandez said.

"Like coach said," he said, "it was our time."

San Diego State (68-50 victory over Northern Colorado)
From the Associated Press:

The Aztecs (33-2) had their hands full with the 15th-seeded Bears of the Big Sky early and looked to be in trouble when Beitzel hit 3-pointers in rapid succession to open the second half.

San Diego State withstood the flurry and calmly turned Northern Colorado away behind its defense, answering Beitzel's burst with a 13-0 run that turned the potential upset into a runaway win.

Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Billy White added 12 points and 13 rebounds, and James Rahon hit some big shots during the big run on his way to 12 points.

One tournament win finally in the books, the Aztecs move on to face Temple on Saturday, looking to make it two straight.

"Relief? Kind of, but we're not satisfied yet," San Diego State guard D.J. Gay said. "We know we're a very good team capable of making a run. This one feels good, but we win the next one, that one will feel a lot better."

THE MATCHUP
Hey, have you guys heard? Tomorrow's matchup between Temple and San Diego State is really a match up between the gritty East Coast and the flashy West! Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez were asked about their gritty East Coast style today in a press conference and they both effectively no-sold the query.

JUAN FERNANDEZ: Well, like I just said before, we're a team that, you know, tries to slow down the ball a little bit, play more half-court offense and defense, I think. That is where we feel more comfortable. On the other hand, they prefer to play an up-tempo game and go up and down and, you know, try to get as many fast-break points as they can. So we will have to try to establish ourselves and play our rhythm.

RAMONE MOORE: Like Juan said, it's one of those teams that like to get up and down. I think we have to do a good job of managing the game and doing the things that we like to do to control the ball and not let them get in transition and do the things they want to do, which is something they've been doing a pretty good job, which is why they had a good season.

All kidding and lazy sports writing cliches aside, tomorrow's game offers a distinct contrast in styles between the two teams. SDSU has the ability to get out and run in transition and, if given the chance, they will do just that for a full 40 minutes. Temple is a slow-it-down, grind-it-out team that likes to limit possessions.

Kawhi Leonard is the Aztec's big time player. The 6-7 sophomore forward is averaging a double-double for the season with 15.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. While he is more comfortable down low, Leonard does have the ability to step out beyond the arc and knock down an open three. He has connected on 24 three-pointers this year.

His true value comes on the boards as he is simply a ball hawk. His offensive and defensive rebounding percentages are outstanding at 12.2 and 26.5 percent respectively. Fran Dunphy has already said that Aaron Brown will start the game on Leonard and that Scootie Randall will also draw his number when he enters the game.

As a Temple fan, all you can hope is that Randall has shaken the rust off as a healthy Randall would be an intriguing matchup for Leonard. The prospects of a still injured Randall guarding the Aztecs star are less encouraging.

If the prospects of guarding a dynamic player like Leonard worry you then you may want to skip this next paragraph. The Aztecs have rotation players that are 6-7 or taller, including 6-11, 300 pound center Brian Carlwell. Malcolm Thomas and Billy White are both starters who play 25 to 30 minutes a game while forward Tim Shelton is capable of providing quality minutes off the bench. Even if Micheal Eric was available for this game there would still be potential size mismatches all over the court.

The bright side? Much like Penn State, the Aztecs feature two smaller guards in D.J. Gay and Chase Tapely. Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez will need to exploit that whenever possible for the Owls to compete. The Aztecs have a pair of 6-5 guards that come off the bench in the form of James Rahon and Jamaal Franklin, so you can probably expect to see a lot of them to try and offset the Owls' size advantage in the backcourt.

PREDICTION
My heart says Temple, my brain says San Diego State. I tried to make this prediction with cherry colored glasses on but I just couldn't do it. San Diego State 73, Temple 62

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