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College basketball: LaSalle vs no. 24 Temple

Temple (24-6, 14-2 A 10) holds a – 10 spread as the No. 24 Owls take on LaSalle (15-17, 6-10 A 10) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey in Friday’s college sports betting. On paper, that might be generous for a team that has barely made it to AP’s top 25 rankings.

However, Temple is one of the hottest college basketball teams in the country heading into this month’s NCAA tournament. The Owls are bidding for a fourth seed and have won 11 of their last 12 games. In that winning stretch dating back to January, Temple’s only loss came at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils which was then considered the No. 1 team in the nation.

The Owls are one game behind No. 20 Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Prior to their loss to Duke, Temple’s last loss came at the hands of Xavier 88-77 on January 22.

Expect Temple to pull away against LaSalle on Friday. Along with Xavier, the Owls have been a dominant team in their conference boasting a 14-2 league record for the regular season. LaSalle, residing near the bottom of the Atlantic 10, have gone 6-10 in league play.

The Owls’ last win came against LaSalle on March 5th in a high scoring 90-82 game. Lavoy Allen scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Temple. Teammates Khalif Wyatt scored 18 points, Ramone Moore added 16 and Juan Fernandez scored 14.

The Explorers were led by Aaric Murray who scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Earl Pettis added 12 points and Steve Weingarten scored 11.

Temple has not won an NCAA tournament game since 2001, but this could be the year the Owls are talented and hungry enough to break that streak.

Dayton vs #20 Xavier

The No. 20 Xavier Musketeers (24-6, 15-1, A 10) hold a – 7 spread against the Dayton Flyers (20-12, 7-9 A 10) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey Friday night. Xavier sits atop the Atlantic 10 Conference with an impressive 15-1 record in league play and is expected to be one of the more formidable teams in the NCAA tournament.

The conference features two AP Top 25 teams, the Musketeers and No. 24 Temple. Xavier’s sole conference loss came in February in 66-62 game against lowly Charlotte (2-14, 10-20 A 10). The Musketeers’ offense (72.8 points) is ranked third in the conference, while its defense is ranked fourth (64.4 points). The Flyers average 67 points on offense while allowing 64.5 points on defense.

Xavier is one of the most dangerous teams heading into the NCAA tournament, having won 17 of their last 18 games. Had Charlotte not pulled off a last minute upset, the Musketeers would be taking an impressive 18-game winning streak into Friday. Unsurprisingly, Xavier is expected to roll over Dayton in the conference quarterfinals and face the winner of LaSalle and #24 Temple.

Temple is the second seed in the Atlantic 10, and the Owls have won 11 of their past 12 games. Xavier was the last team to defeat Temple in a 88-77 game in January.

Xavier is led by junior guard Tu Holloway who has been an offensive machine all year, scoring 20.1 points, with 5.5 assists and 5.2 rebounds a game. The latter stat may raise some eyebrows for NBA scouts considering that Holloway is only six feet tall weighing in at 185 lbs, which shows his activity level and game awareness on the court.

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