Temple vs. North Carolina: Pompey's take

Posted: March 22, 2013

Let me start by stating the obvious. Khalif Wyatt must have a solid game if Temple expects to advance beyond its first game of the NCAA tournament for the second time in six seasons. The senior guard struggled through 4-for-19 shooting in Temple's Atlantic Ten quarterfinal loss to Massachusetts. But when he's on, the Owls (24-9) have a chance to beat anyone.

Temple must also find a way to slow down North Carolina State's high-scoring offense in the East Regional second-rounder here at University of Dayton Arena. The Wolfpack (24-10) have five players who average double figures in scoring. So it's unlikely that Temple will shut all of them down. But the Owls must frustrate and contain a few of them.

Jake O'Brien also needs to display his shooting prowess just like he did against Virginia Commonwealth in the final game of the regular season. O'Brien, a 6-foot-9 graduate student, made 5 of 8 three-pointers and finished with 19 points and a game-high three blocked shots. The Boston University transfer's three-pointer with 14 minutes, 40 seconds left gave Temple a 51-48 advantage and the lead for good.

If the Owls can do that, they will continue dancing on Sunday. If not, they'll be back in Philly watching North Carolina State play a likely opponent in Indiana on television instead.

   - Keith Pompey

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