Temple (6-0) vs. (2) Duke (8-0)
Saturday, December 8, 3:15 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: IZOD Center (20,029) -- East Rutherford, New Jersey. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Temple 3-0, Duke 4-0. Away Record: Temple 3-0, Duke 0-0. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Duke 4-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 18-10.
GAME NOTES: Two undefeated teams converge on the floor at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford on Saturday afternoon, as the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils square off with the Temple Owls in the Carquest Auto Parts Classic.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils have been one of the most impressive teams thus far, knocking off three top-five foes already on the way to a perfect 8-0 start. Duke was last in action a week ago, routing the Delaware Blue Hens in Durham, 88-50.
Fran Dunphy's Owls have also run out to a flawless record in the first month of basketball. Despite a 6-0 start, Temple is still flying a little under the radar and has yet to crack the top-25. The Owls knocked off Big Five foe Villanova last time out, 76-61.
This is the 29th all-time meeting between these two teams. Duke holds an 18-10 series advantage and has won 15 of the last 19 meetings. However, Temple ended Duke's nine-game win streak in the series with last year's 78-73 victory. The Blue Devils have not lost back-to-back games to the Owls since 1949-50.
The Owls posted their first win at Villanova since 1990 with their 15-point victory this week out on the Main Line. Senior Scootie Randall led the way with a game-high 21 points, thanks in large part to five 3-pointers. Sophomore Anthony Lee added a career-high 16 points in the win. Temple trailed at the half (36-32), but used an 18-3 run after the break to take control of the game and earn the victory.
The Owls have jumped out to a fast start with solid play at both ends of the floor, resulting in a +11.8 scoring margin. Randall's return to the squad after an injury-plagued 2011-12 season, has really given the Owls a versatile attack. Randall currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Point guard Khalif Wyatt provides a second top-notch scoring threat at 15.2 ppg and also serves as the team's top distributor (4.8 apg). Lee (11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is a strong finisher up front, shooting a team-best .659 from the floor.
The Blue Devils are also flourishing at both ends of the floor, averaging a robust 78.8 ppg on .481 shooting, while limiting the opposition to just 63.5 ppg. Senior forward Mason Plumlee has emerged as one of the nation's premier frontcourt performers. The 6-foot-10 veteran is shooting an impressive .654 from the floor and averaging a double-double with 19.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. There is plenty of offensive support around Plumlee, with Seth Curry (15.1 ppg), Ryan Kelly (13.0 ppg), Rasheed Sulaimon (12.9 ppg) and Quinn Cook (10.5 ppg) all making significant contributions.
The Blue Devils overwhelmed the Blue Hens with their offensive arsenal, converting 52.2 percent from the floor overall, as five players finished in double-figure scoring in the lopsided win. Delaware had no answer for Plumlee's interior presence, as he posted 18 points and 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes on the floor. Kelly netted 18 points as well, followed by Sulaimon and his 14 points. Freshmen Amile Jefferson (12 pts) and Alex Murphy (10 pts) provided valuable minutes off the bench.
Temple has certainly been impressive thus far and may once again give Duke all it can handle. However, the Blue Devils are playing with tremendous confidence right now and with Plumlee leading the way, expect Duke to remain unscathed when the final buzzer sounds.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 77, Temple 72
12/08 10:38:40 ET