Commentary

Ailing Temple will struggle at Duke

The Owls just don't have enough healthy bodies to take down the Blue Devils

Originally Published: February 23, 2011
By LaRue Cook | ESPN The Magazine
Scootie RandallChris Chambers/Getty ImagesRandall and the Owls have an impressive résumé but can't hang with Duke at Cameron Indoor.

Full disclosure: We'd be lying if we wrote an entire article about how the Temple Owls have a legitimate shot at knocking off the Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor. There's a reason Coach K's club is once again the top-ranked team in college basketball, and it's unlikely that Fran Dunphy's 24th-ranked squad will dethrone the defending champs.

But by no means are we calling the Owls pushovers: They've proved their NCAA tournament worth with three wins against the RPI top 50 (Georgia, Georgetown and Dayton), and they came within a combined seven points of knocking off Villanova (RPI 27) and Texas A&M (RPI 25). But Temple will be facing one of the best metrics-based teams in the nation -- No. 6 offense (119.2 points per 100 possessions) and No. 2 defense (86.1 points per 100 possessions) -- and national player of the year contender Nolan Smith, who leads the ACC in points (21.7), assists (5.3) and looks more comfortable in his PG role with the loss of Kyrie Irving distant in the rearview mirror.


To read the rest of LaRue Cook's breakdown, including why Temple just won't have enough on the roster to deal with Duke's bigs, you must be an ESPN Insider.