College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Villanova vs Temple (Friday, Nov. 11)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured Eric Dixon.
Villanova vs Temple Odds
The Temple Owls took one on the chin in their first game of the 2022-2023 season, losing at home against Wagner in overtime.
They will host the Villanova Wildcats on Friday night, who will be without potentially their two greatest players on the roster: five-star recruit Cam Whitmore (thumb injury) and Justin Moore (Achilles).
The Wildcats fended off La Salle in the opener, as Caleb Daniels, Eric Dixon and Brandon Slater filled the planet-sized void left by Whitmore and Moore.
Luckily for newly-minted head coach Kyle Neptune, the two should return in the coming weeks. However, Villanova will need to determine a path forward until Whitmore and Moore return to the court.
Aaron McKie has coached the Owls for three seasons and last season, they showed some promise as the team, which was under .500 in each of the first two seasons, finished 17-12.
Temple has shown its hand under McKie. The Owls were 223rd in Adjusted Tempo last season and Villanova has consistently been one of the slowest Power Five teams in the past five years.
With two main scorers remaining out for the Wildcats and Temple smelling blood, the under should be in play.
Expect a grind-it-out defensive battle.
Villanova struggled a little bit with defending the perimeter in the opener as La Salle shot 10-of-25 from 3. Last season, the Wildcats held opponents to 30.8% shooting from beyond the arc.
This needs to be a point of emphasis heading into the game with Temple. In its first game, Temple went 5-for-20 from downtown. The Owls shot 31.1% from outside last season.
However, Khalif Battle and Zach Hicks each shot over 36% last season, and they are back for another season. Villanova has the length to defend 3-pointers as every member of its lineup is at least 6-foot-4. The Wildcats need to utilize that length to ensure the Owls continue to struggle from 3.
Bridging off of that, Villanova needs a way to shut down Battle. He averaged 21.4 points last season with an eFG% of 65%.
eFG% leaders among players who averaged 20+ PPG:
1. Khalif Battle 65.1%
2. Keegan Murray 61.4%
3. Kofi Cockburn 59.3%
Temple’s Battle scored 19+ in 6/7 games he played in before injury. Former top 100 recruit, poised to become a household name in the sport and on draft boards. pic.twitter.com/c41THwlhJb
— Danny Johnson (@dannyjohnson_23) October 8, 2022
Dixon should be able to contain him inside, but the guards need to hold him in check.
Villanova can do that by slowing the game down to its optimal speed — the Wildcats used up 21.1 seconds per possession against La Salle.
This was almost identical to last season, when the Wildcats ranked 349th in offensive possession length.
This should help in transition because they rarely turn the ball over and keep the game slow.
Temple also keeps the game slow. The Owls forced Wagner to hold the ball for 20 seconds in each possession in game one.
Temple, in turn, utilized 18.7 seconds per possession.
This is an issue for a team returning its most effective players from last season. Yes, Battle, Temple's most consistent scoring option, missed most of the season due to injury, but of the players on the team last season (outside of Battle), only Hicks had a 50%+ eFG%.
If Villanova guards Battle correctly, Temple’s offensive options are limited.
Temple has thrived with its ability to get to the free throw line and Damian Dunn is that guy. He shot 18 free throws and sunk them all against Wagner.
— Temple Men's Basketball (@TUMBBHoops) January 13, 2022
Jahlil White also averaged 3.1 free throws per game in 2021-2022. With more playing time, he will also be a foul-line threat.
Luckily for under backers, Villanova ranked 46th in the nation in free throw attempts on defense. This was an issue against La Salle, but the Wildcats were likely working out the kinks. They should regress to the mean in this one, at least somewhat.
Villanova vs Temple Pick
These teams both play at a snail’s pace. Villanova’s offense won't be fully in motion until Whitmore and Moore are back in the lineup.
Either way, Villanova holds the ball for as long as possible on offense and forces opponents to the same.
Temple employs the same strategy and if Dunn or Battle are limited in any capacity, the under is in play.
Take the under at 135 (-110) and play it to 133.5 (-110).