Tourney Free Pick: Temple vs. Arizona State

Tony George
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by - 3/20/2009 3:21 AM Share
Sport: College Basketball
Game: Temple Owls vs. Arizona St. Sun Devils
Date/Time: 3/20/2009 2:45PM EST
Pick: Arizona St. Sun Devils
Reason: It has been six years since Arizona St. last made a trip to the NCAA tournament and it is not going to go out early as this team has the makeup of making a big run. It is obviously one game at a time but the Sun Devils got a very good draw in the South Region. A win here likely sets up a game against Syracuse and it is anyone's guess how the Orange are going to react after their marathon trip to through the Big East Tournament. A possible showdown with Oklahoma looms in the Sweet 16 but first things first and that is taking out a Temple team what won the Atlantic Ten Tournament and likely would not be here if not for that. Arizona St. players obviously have no experience on this stage but that should not be a detriment. The Sun Devils head coach Herb Sendek has plenty of experience from his days at NC State and Miami Ohio where he guided the Wolfpack and RedHawks to six tournament appearances, going 6-6 and most importantly, 5-1 in first round games. The Sun Devils went 9-5 against this year's NCAA field and Sendek said he thinks that's enough to overcome their lack of postseason experience. Arizona St. has a very important asset to be successful in the tournament and that is strengths both inside and outside. It has the very versatile James Harden, who will make many first-team All-America lists, as well as the nation's most accurate shooter in Jeff Pendergraph. Both teams put up solid numbers in their conference runs and Temple is no doubt a very hot team right now. However, comparing the Atlantic Ten to the Pac Ten is like comparing a Jeep to a Hummer. It is nice and efficient but not nearly as strong. The Pac Ten is ranked in the top three conferences while the Atlantic Ten is well below that, coming in anywhere between 8th and 10th, in the same line as the MVC and C-USA who each got just one team into the tournament. The Sun Devils have advantages in two key areas and those are free throw shooting and assist/turnover ratio. Those margins are even bigger when looking at the last five games of each team and that is with Temple winning all five of those. The Owls win over Xavier was a solid win but you have to go all the way back to December to see their last quality win and hat was a victory over Tennessee, arguably one of the bigger disappointments in the country this season. Those were the only two wins over tournament teams as they went 0-4 in the other games against other teams in the field. For the season, Arizona St. went 10-6 against the nation's top 50 including 4-2 against the top 25 while Temple went just 2-4 against the top 50 and 1-4 against the top 25. Arizona St. is 8-2 ATS this season when coming off a non-cover and it falls into a solid situation. Play on teams from the six major conferences when playing against a team not from those six conferences when favored between 3.5 and 9.5 points and coming off a conference loss. These play-on teams are 45-17 ATS over the last 12 years including a 17-5 ATS mark over the last five years. The Sun Devils will prove to be too much for the Owls on Friday. 3* Arizona St. Sun Devils

Fargo went 12-8 ATS (60%) during the conference tourneys and his TOP RATED REPORTS were king! During the regular season, his 10* GAME OF THE YEAR reports went an AWESOME 8-4 ATS (66.7%)! His 9* and 10* GOY Tournament reports went a TREMENDOUS 8-2 ATS (80%) for a combined 16-6 ATS (72.7%)! 1st Round GAME OF THE YEAR goes Friday! Do not miss out on this MONSTER!


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