Massachusetts (20-10) vs. Temple (23-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: The Barclays Center (17,732) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: CBS Sports Network. Home Record: UMass 9-4, Temple 14-3. Away Record: UMass 8-4, Temple 8-4. Neutral Record: UMass 2-2, Temple 1-1. Conference Record: UMass 9-7, Temple 11-5. Series Record: Temple leads, 44-21.
GAME NOTES: The two schools with the most Atlantic 10 Tournament Championships will square off in the event one last time as the sixth-seeded Massachusetts Minutemen take on the third-seeded Temple Owls in the quarterfinals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The winner of this game will advance to the semifinals to take on the victor of the Virginia Commonwealth and Saint Joseph's matchup.
UMass took down George Washington, 77-72, in the opening round as its senior leader Chaz Williams tallied 16 points and eight assists. Terrell Vinson and Trey Davis each added 14 points for the Minutemen, while Raphiael Putney chipped in with 12 points. The win was the fourth in five games for UMass, which has been impressive for the majority of the 2012-13 campaign. It notched wins over Providence, Elon, Ohio, La Salle and Xavier during the regular season and will be looking for its first A-10 Tournament crown since 1996.
Williams has been impressive for UMass this season, scoring 15.4 ppg to go along with 7.6 apg. Vinson adds 12.6 ppg, while Cady Lalanne is the squad's top rebounder, pulling down 7.3 rpg. UMass owns a high-powered offense, averaging 73.5 ppg, third-best in the conference. The Minutemen's defense actually gave it the boost needed in the opening round, as they held the Colonials to 0-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and watched GW turn the ball over 16 times.
Temple leads the all-time series with UMass, 44-21. The two teams played on Feb. 16 in Amherst this season and the Owls escaped with a narrow, 83-82 win. UMass defeated Temple in the A-10 Tournament a season ago.
Fran Dunphy's Owls reeled off seven wins in a row to close out their regular season, including a season-ending 84-76 victory over Virginia Commonwealth. Temple was not only able to take down the A-10's powers Saint Louis and VCU, but it also defeated Syracuse and Detroit during its difficult non-conference slate. The Owls outscored their opposition by an average of 5.0 ppg during the regular season. Temple has won nine A-10 Tournament crowns, but this will be its last chance for a 10th as it is set to migrate to the conference currently known as the Big East next season.
The Owls are led by the A-10 Player of the Year, Khalif Wyatt, who produces 19.9 points and 4.1 assists per outing. Scootie Randall adds 11.8 ppg but has struggled from the field, shooting below 40.0 percent. Anthony Lee, who scores 10.6 ppg and is their top rebounder (7.0 rpg), was held scoreless in 12 minutes of action by VCU in the regular-season finale.
UMass needs to keep winning to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive while the Owls are pretty much playing for seeding at this point. The point guard battle of Wyatt and Williams will be one for the ages. Although Temple holds an edge in talent, March is not known for its predictability.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 74, Temple 71
03/15 10:32:28 ET