Miami Hurricanes NIT Semifinals Game Preview: Temple Owls


Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

Time: 7:00


Line: Temple -1.5

The Miami Hurricanes are in New York City and they’re getting ready to play in the National Invitational Tournament semifinals against the Temple Owls on Tuesday. The Canes took the hard way at getting to the World’s Most Famous Arena, going down by as much as 18 against Richmond last Tuesday, only to come back and win the game in the last minute. That’s so Canes, right?

Now that Miami has made their way to Madison Square Garden, they have one goal: cut down the nets in New York City. Sure, it’s not the NCAA tournament, but like Fran Fraschilla said in the NIT press conference on Monday, the Canes have the “perfect NIT team.” What he meant by that is that Miami has all their key guys returning and this run in the NIT could very well catapult them into some great things next season, and I couldn’t agree more.

The Canes should be excited to play at MSG and are now two wins away from winning the NIT. But first, they have to deal with the Temple Owls.

Temple Scouting Report

Temple has been a really interesting team this season. The Owls look really good sometimes, but sometimes, they just look OK. (Sound familiar?) The Owls destroyed the Kansas Jayhawks by 25 points early in the season, but then went on to lose to a team like Saint Joseph’s. (Seriously, does this sound familiar?)

The key to the Owls’ success is the play of guards Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey. Both Cummings and DeCosey combine for almost half (28) of the Owls’ points per game (66). That’s pretty impressive.One thing that both of those guards do well is that they don’t turn the ball over. Actually, the entire Temple team doesn’t turn the ball over. The Owls only commit 10 turnovers a game, and that puts them 7th in the country. Good thing for Miami, however, is that the Owls don’t really force many turnovers either, which goes well with a Canes offense that only turns the ball over 10 times a game.

Temple is an average team offensively, but where they make their money (well, not really money because you know, NCAA) is on the defensive side of the ball. has the Owls’ adjusted defensive efficiency at 93.8 in the season. How good is that? That’s 22nd best in the country, good.

For being a relatively short team, the Owls rebound the ball exceptionally well. Temple is 28th in the country in rebounding, bringing down close to 38 rebounds a game. Granted, they force a lot of missed shots, but you still have to rebound the ball after the miss. The problem, however? They’re a bunch of small guys.

The Owls only have two guys listed above 6’8” on their roster: Jimmy McDonnell and Devontae Watson. McDonnell barely plays, and Watson only brings down about 3 rebounds a game for the Owls. Miami usually struggles against teams length, so this is a good sign.

Watson will likely get a bump in minutes to try and slow down Tonye Jekiri and whoever else the Canes throw out there at the center position, and the rebounding battle is definitely something to keep an eye out for on Tuesday.


Miami 57 – Temple 54

Jim Larranaga will coach his first game at Madison Square Garden, and he’ll win his first game as a coach at Madison Square Garden. Now, how will it happen? probably in some crazy ass Miami Hurricanes way, but it’ll happen.

I think Miami definitely needs to win the guard battle and they’re definitely capable of that. The Canes will have the edge inside and that’s something they have to exploit early on and then get the guards involved.

If the first-half Miami team shows up, Temple will run all over these guys and they’ll be heading back to Coral Gables on Wednesday. If the team that played the last ten minutes against Richmond shows up, they’ll be playing for a championship on Tuesday.

The best part about this game? You could say the same exact thing about Temple.