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Gameday Preview: Temple Basketball Hosts St. Louis Billikens

St. Louis Billikens (5-9, 0-1 A10) @ Temple Owls (10-3, 1-0 A10)
2:00 PM  January 9, 2011
The Liacouras Center  Philadelphia, PA

ALL-TIME
Temple leads the series 4-1.

LAST TIME 
3/3/2010 - Lavoy Allen had a monster game for the Owls as he scored 18 and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead Temple to a 57-51 victory. Juan Fernandez scored 17 points for the Cherry and White, none of which were bigger than the three-pointer he hit with 1:39 remaining in the game that effectively sealed it for the Owls. The victory was their 12 road win of the season.

HEAD COACHES
Temple
Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 94-52 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 404-215 (21st season)

St. Louis
Rick Majerus
Record at St. Louis: 62-51 (4th season)
All-Time Record: 484-198 (24th season)

TOP PERFORMERS
Temple:
PPG: G Ramone Moore - 15.0
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 6.6
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 3.9

St. Louis:
PPG: G Kyle Cassity - 10.1
RPG: F Cody Ellis/ F Dwayne Evans - 4.1
APG: G Kyle Cassity - 3.2

PROBABLE STARTERS
Temple
Lavoy Allen F - 11.2 ppg.  6.6 rpg. 1.4 bpg.
Scootie Randall F - 8.4 ppg  4.8 rpg. .489 fg%
Micheal Eric F - 7.4 ppg.  5.8 rpg.  1.7 bpg.
Juan Fernandez G - 11.0 ppg.  3.8 rpg.  3.9 apg.
Ramone Moore G - 15.0 ppg.  4.8 rpg.  2.5 apg

St. Louis
Jordair Jett G - 9.9 ppg 3.5 rpg. 
Paul Eckerle G - 4.4 ppg 0.6 rpg.
Brian Conklin F - 8.3 ppg. 2.3 rpg.
Kyle Cassity G - 9.9 ppg. 1.8 rpg.
Cody Ellis F - 7.4 ppg. 4.0 rpg.


LAST OUTING
Temple (70-51 victory at Fordham)
From my game story:

Juan Fernandez had a poor shooting night both inside and outside the arc but it was his three-pointer with 3:58 to go in the first half that knotted the game at 27 and ignited Temple's monstrous run. The Argentinian finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Fernandez was stone cold from outside to start the game as he missed his first four three-pointers. The lack of outside shooting allowed Fordham defenders to tighten up their D around the paint. Once Fernandez started to hit the Rams were forced to stretch out their defense which allowed the likes of Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric to flourish.

Allen scored six of his 12 points in the last 3:25 of the first half and finished the game with 12 points but just two rebounds. Eric showed Temple fans what he can do when he actually stays out of foul trouble and on the floor to the tune of 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

St. Louis (60-50 loss against Dayton)
From the AP story:

Kyle Cassity scored 12 points and Mike McCall added 11 points off the bench for Saint Louis (5-9), which has lost four in a row. The Billikens shot a season-worst 36.5 percent after missing their first 10 shots overall, and their first nine from 3-point range.

Players said it had nothing to do with Majerus' absence.

"Obviously, coach wasn't on the sideline calling the plays, but Coach Moser is more than capable of leading this team," guard Paul Eckerle said. "I thought he did a great job of getting us prepared, but players have got to play the games."

THE MATCHUP
Let's be honest, the Billikens are not very good. They are missing their two best players, Willis Reed and Kwamain Mitchell, and their coach, Rick Majerus. Mitchell was recently reinstated by the university but it is unclear whether or not he will be available to play or if he will ultimately redshirt this season. Even if he does play today his skills are not enough to cover for the deficiencies of the team.

St. Louis is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country, averaging just 27.6 rebounds per game. The team's leading rebounder grabs a paltry 4.1 boards per game. Temple collects nearly 10 more rebounds per game and should be able to exert their dominance on the glass. Only one of SLU's regulars, Cody Ellis, is tall enough to offer Lavoy Allen or Micheal Eric any type of challenge. Look for those two individuals to have monster games today as the Billikens simply can not compete with their size.

There really is not much to break down for this game. The Owls are better in all aspects and should cruise to victory. This smells like another game in which the bench will see plenty of minutes with healthy doses of the likes of Aaron Brown, Khalif Wyatt and TJ DiLeo.

PREDICTION
No lines were posted at press time but I am fairly confident that the Owls will be favored by a healthy double digit sum. I have a feeling that they are going to come out on fire and bury the Billikens early as I imagine that the players got an earful from Fran Dunphy about their lackadaisical play to start the Fordham game. Look for the Owls to win big: Temple 79, St. Louis 53