NCAA Tournament Picks March 19 – Temple Owls vs. Belmont Bruins

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

We’re used to seeing the Bruins in the NCAA Tournament. Just not the Belmont Bruins. However, it was the team from Nashville that beat the UCLAns in a non-conference tilt and ended up with an at-large bid to the Dance, even though it didn’t win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. 


The following article courtesy of Bookmaker

Times are changing in the world of college basketball when a strong mid-major gets the nod over a mediocre power conference club that can’t even put together a winning record in league play. The Temple Owls are one of four AAC teams Dancing and the two square off in a First Four matchup.

Temple Owls vs. Belmont Bruins

Date and Time: Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 9:10 p.m. ET

Location: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH

Opening CBB Odds: Belmont -3.5, O/U 155.5

Temple vs. Belmont TV Coverage: truTV


Odds Analysis

If one of these teams feels lucky to be in the Dance it has to be Temple. Granted, the AAC was as tough as ever this year with Houston, Cincy and UCF all getting invited, but a fourth-place finish in the AAC getting in is rare. Maybe the committee wanted to throw Fran Dunphy a bone since his next loss will be his last. The coach is retiring once the season comes to a close. A win over UCF in the final regular season game, along with a victory over Houston earlier, certainly helped Temple’s cause.

With a 16-2 record in the OVC and a 26-5 overall mark, the Bruins certainly pass the eye test. But there were some anxious moments while waiting for their name to be called. The Bruins ended the regular season on a 13-game winning streak and won their OVC tournament opener before falling to Murray State in the final. Their only league losses were to 24-win Jacksonville St. so there was enough in their body of work to prove their worthiness. And the committee thought so, probably because only Gonzaga fills it up better than the Bruins at the DI level.



The Owls had to sweat out selection Sunday as well, though their win over UCF in the final week of regular season play likely put them over the hump. The Knights were coming off victories over AAC leaders Cincinnati and Houston, and had climbed into the national rankings. An upset loss to Wichita State in the conference tournament left Temple standing on nails, though.

They don’t do anything special, but the Owls are solid in every aspect and they have AAC scoring leader Shizz Alston on their side. Alston averages 19.7 points and he’s on the floor for over 36 minutes a game. And he’s most valuable down the stretch. Alston shoots over 90 percent from the stripe and he’s helped the Owls go 9-2 in games decided by five points or less and 4-0 when the game goes extra minutes. “We’re a veteran team and have been through those situations a lot in the past couple of years, and that has helped us in close games”, Alston said.


The Bruins felt they had done enough to get into the Tournament, but they would have liked the automatic bid that comes with winning the conference tournament. It was set up nicely for them, riding a 13-game winning streak and having knocked off Murray St. once already this season. But you can’t count on past outcomes having an impact on current events. It also didn’t help that Nick Muszynski missed the game with an ankle injury. The 6-11 center was missed inside as the Bruins got outrebounded and were outscored in the paint 48-32.

With some additional time for treatment, the hope is that Muszynski and his 14.9 points per game are able to return on Tuesday. His presence opens the floor for Dylan Windler to do what he does best. And when he’s doing it he’s tough to stop. Windler averages 21.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 55 percent from the floor and 43 percent from deep. Those two help the Bruins average 87.4 points per game, which is second in the country. Without Muszynski, they scored just 65 points in the loss to Murray St.


Bet Temple vs. Belmont at

Temple wants to keep playing for its coach and Belmont wants to validate its selection. On top of that it’s the frickin NCAA Tournament, so there is plenty at stake. The Bruins have a little more depth and scoring punch, and if Muszynski plays both areas are even stronger. Chalk up the loss to Murray St. as a bad game and look for the Bruins to come out firing. They don’t want to let Temple hang around since that’s where the Owls thrive. So they will end it with a bang covering the spread.

NCAA Tournament Score Prediction: Belmont 76, Temple 68

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