In the East bracket, the No. 9 Temple Owls will be facing the No. 8 North Carolina State Wolfpack later today. Temple is led by senior guard, Khalif Wyatt. He averages 19.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists. When Temple has faced ranked opponents this season, Wyatt has played exceptionally well. In a win against the Syracuse Orangemen, Wyatt posted 33 points, four assists and three rebounds. In a loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, Wyatt amassed 26 points and four rebounds. When Temple beat the Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) Rams, Wyatt finished the game with 30 points, four rebounds, four steals and four assists. The only exception is when Temple lost to the Duke Blue Devils. In this game, Wyatt had only six points and three assists.
Temple has several other good players in Scootie Randall, Anthony Lee, Jake O’Brien and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson. Temple has flown under the radar for most of this season. Wyatt is Temple’s main man. Expect him to score a lot of points as they will go to him in clutch situations.
North Carolina State has is led by C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell. Leslie has the potential to be a Wooden or Naismith Award finalist while Howell is a rebounding machine. Both of these players will be key in N.C. State’s ability to beat Temple. Other key players to pay close attention to are Scott Woods, Lorenzo Brown and T.J. Warren. Woods is a three-point specialist, and Brown will have the job of shutting down Temple’s Wyatt. Warren is N.C. State’s most versatile player, and he plays the small forward, power forward and center positions. At 6’8″ 235 pounds, Warren has the ability to play inside or outside.
The key to winning this game for each team is controlling the boards. Both teams have high-octane offenses, so expect a high-scoring game. In addition, Temple plays more players than N.C. State. Getting Howell or Leslie in foul trouble will behoove Temple a great deal.