Syracuse heads to Madison Square Garden to take on the Temple Owls in the Gotham Classic today at noon eastern on ESPN.
Temple is 8-2 on the season, and is coming off of a ten point loss to Canisius Wednesday. Their other loss was to Duke in blowout fashion. The Owls do have a solid win over Villanova however, where the Owls outscored the Wildcats by 19 in the second half to win 76-61. Temple is led by senior guard Khalif Wyatt, who averages 14.5 points per game this season after averaging 17.1 points per game last season. Wyatt is a pure scorer, who definitely can get in the paint and drive to the hoop. On the glass, the Orange will have to watch out for senior Scootie Randall. Randall is one of the only rebounders on this struggling temple team, and leads the team in rebounds, and can also pass the ball. Randall is second on the team in assists, and is definitely a play maker for the Temple offense.
This game will be interesting to watch and see if Syracuse can blow the doors off Temple for a complete game. Hopefully the ending of the Detroit game taught this team a lesson, and they can have a complete effort from start to finish today. Temple struggles mightily shooting the ball, so the Syracuse defense should be able to impose their will defensively on the Owls, and should get some great looks in transition. We’re going to be seeing a team that rank 188th in division one in rebounding go up against the 5th best rebounding team in the country, so the Orange should really be able to bully the Owls in this one as well.
This game has the make up of a CJ Fair breakout game. I see CJ really dominating the glass in this one, and I look for CJ to put up a double-double in this ballgame. This match up is absolutely perfect for him, and I think he is going to be the player everyone is talking about in the post-game. I also think like clockwork we will see another Michael Carter-Williams double-double, and the Orange will cruise in front of the Orange faithful inside MSG.
Although Temple has the name recognition that some of these other teams don’t have that Syracuse plays, I still don’t see this team giving Syracuse much of a run, despite their impressive win over Villanova. I see the Orange doing whatever they want in this game, and despite the Owls being 8-2, I think it will take a heroic effort for them to have any chance at winning this game.