Cornell vs Temple – 12:30 P.M. Friday, March 19th
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - East Region - First Round
Cornell +4 (-110)
Temple -4 (-110)
The 12th seed Cornell Big Red are set to face the #5 seed Temple Owls in the first round of the East regional with tip-off scheduled for 12:30 P.M. on Friday, March 19th in Jacksonville, Fl.
In the only conference that gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament without having a conference tournament play in, Cornell’s 13-1 regular season record in the Ivy League was all they needed to punch their ticket to the dance. They did more than just beat up on their fellow Ivy Leaguers as they ended the season with an overall record of 27-4 which definitely opened some eyes along the way.
They also played a fairly competitive non-league schedule with games against Syracuse (73-88 loss) and St. Johns (71-66 win) and come into this game as a legitimate upset threat. The main reason for this has been the wealth of experience they brought into this season.
They are led by a trio of seniors; F Ryan Wittman, who is averaging 17.5 points per game, C Jeff Foote, who is averaging 12.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, and G Louis Dale, who is averaging 11.9 points per game.
The Temple Owls have been the class of the highly competitive Atlantic 10 all season long. They finished with and overall record of 29-5 and won the regular season with a conference record of 14-2 and a tie breaking win over Xavier.
Just to hammer their point home they won the A-10 Conference Tournament with a 56-52 win over Richmond in the finals running their current winning streak to 10. Add in some impressive wins over non-conference opponents such as Villanova (75-65) and Virginia Tech (61-50) and you have a five seed that can make some noise in this tournament.
Their offensive firepower consists of senior G Ryan Brooks, who leads the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game and sophomore G Juan Fernandez, who is averaging 12.6 points per game. Junior F Lavoy Allen has been a force underneath, averaging 11.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Add in the rest of the starting five along with a strong bench and you have the best Owls team to come out of North Philly in an number of seasons.
There has been a lot of talk about Cornell being the classic #12 seed upset pick as every year this tournament seems to have one of these. My advice is to check the other three regions if you are looking to pick one for your bracket. The Owls are just too good and too strong to lose this first round game to a good, but untested Big Red team.
Owls are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win
Owls are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
Owls are 8-0-1 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games as a favorite
Owls are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games
Big Red are 10-0 ATS in their last 10 vs. Atlantic 10
Big Red are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games
Big Red are 22-5 ATS in their last 27 games as an underdog of 0.5-6.5
Big Red are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
Big Red vs. Owls Free Pick: Temple -4
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