As of Monday, March 18, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Temple vs. North Carolina State
Eighth-seeded North Carolina State, which reached the Sweet Sixteen last year, will take on ninth-seeded Temple on Friday in Dayton, Ohio in an East Region second-round matchup. The Wolfpack reached the semifinals of last week's ACC tournament before falling to eventual champion Miami. The Owls fell in their Atlantic 10 tournament opener to Massachusetts.
Temple is making its sixth straight NCAA appearance, but the Owls haven't advanced to the Sweet Sixteen since 2001. Last year, Temple earned the fifth seed in the East but lost to 12th-seeded South Florida in its opener. The winner of this game will take on the winner of No. 1 seed Indiana's game against the winner of a play-in game between LIU-Brooklyn and James Madison.
TV: 1:40 p.m. ET, TBS
ABOUT TEMPLE (23-9): Senior guard Khalif Wyatt is coming off one of his worst shooting performances of the season against Massachusetts. The Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and conference scoring leader (19.8 points per game) missed 12 straight field goals at one point and finished 4-of-19 in the loss. But coach Fran Dunphy told reporters that "he's got a different way about him. There's not that many guys like Khalif out there." Wyatt blossomed in 2011-12, earning second-team all-conference honors. He seemed to save his best games for his team's biggest matchups, highlighted by a 33-point performance in Temple's win over then-No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (24-10): The Wolfpack had high expectations after their Sweet Sixteen run, but failed to live up to their preseason No. 6 ranking. The return of junior forward C.J. Leslie, who led the team in scoring (14.9), and junior guard Lorenzo Brown to the North Carolina State lineup weren't enough to keep the Wolfpack inside the ACC's top three. Brown struggles to hold on to the basketball at times - he averaged a team-high 3.5 turnovers - but has still been instrumental to the nation's 12th-best scoring offense (77.8). For a team tabbed to win the conference by the coaches and media, second-year coach Mark Gottfried told The Charlotte Observer it's been a "good" season, but not a great one.
The Wolfpack went 2-0 against Atlantic 10 opponents this season.
Then-11th seeded North Carolina State upset No. 6 San Diego State and No. 3 Georgetown en route to a berth in the Sweet Sixteen, where it fell 60-57 to No. 2 Kansas.
Temple lost its lone game against an ACC team, a 90-67 decision against Duke on Dec. 8.
PREDICTION: North Carolina State 79, Temple 67