In an interesting No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the NC State Wolfpack and Temple Owls will need to outdo their opponent physically in order to win.
Both teams were upset minded during the regular season, but the result won’t be an upset, regardless of the victor.
NC State comes into the second-round game with a 24-10 record, highlighted by an upset victory over then-No. 1 Duke in January.
Temple recorded a 23-9 record, which included a win against then No.3 Syracuse in December. The Owls are one of only eight teams to earn a bid to the last six tournaments.
When: Friday, March 22 at 1:40 p.m. ET
Where: Dayton, Ohio at the University of Dayton Arena
Betting Line: NC State -4.5
Temple forward Anthony Lee is suffering from a concussion, and is listed as questionable for the game Friday against the Wolfpack, according to USA Today. Lee averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
NC State has no reported injuries.
Matchup to Watch: Temple guard Khalif Wyatt vs. Wolfpack guard Lorenzo Brown
This matchup is going to be an exciting one to watch.
Senior guard Khalif Wyatt led Temple this season with 19.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. Both led the team. Junior guard Lorenzo Brown is a do-it-all guard, recording 12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.
Their battle will determine the outcome of the game.
Brown is tough defensively, coming up with 2.0 steals per game. Wyatt is no slouch either, recording 1.7 steals per game.
But to the other’s enjoyment, both are turnover prone, each averaging over three per game. Whichever guard is able to take care of the ball more consistently will come out on the winning side.
Key Player for Temple: Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (8.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.5 APG)
With leading rebounder Anthony Lee questionable for the game, it will be Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson’s job to pick up the slack. He’s second on the team in rebounding, but will need to step his game up for the Owls to win.
He does the little things that gives a team a chance. At 6’6” and 215 pounds, it may be difficult to box out Wolfpack senior forward Richard Howell (6’8” 257 pounds). Hollis-Jefferson, however, impacts games with his work ethic. He can hurt an opponent in so many ways.
Key Player for NC State: C.J. Leslie (14.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.4 APG)
C.J. Leslie is the Wolfpack’s leading scorer coming in with 14.9 points per game, but he will have a bigger job description come Friday.
He needs to dominate the post.
He must rebound, play tough defense and box out Owls’ frontcourt players. He needs to have an all-around great game for the Wolfpack to come out victorious.
Stat to Watch: Rebounding Margin
If the Owls are able to keep the margin close, they’ll have a great shot at winning this contest. If NC State is able to dominate the boards, it will be a long day for Temple.
NC State pulls down 36.8 rebounds per game, which is good for 78th in the country. The Owls record 34.5 per game, which puts them at 178th in the country. Remember though, Owls' leading rebounder Lee is questionable for the game.
Prediction: NC State 78, Temple 70
If Temple’s Lee was playing in this one, it may be a different story. NC State is too big and too physical for the Owls to handle.