Jan 23, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Members of the Temple Owls diamond gems dance team performs during the second half against the Pennsylvania Quakers at the Liacouras Center. Temple defeated Penn 76-69. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte 49ers Basketball Countdown to Tipoff: Temple

February 6 at Temple is the first of the only return match in the Atlantic 10 this year for the Charlotte 49ers, with the Owls coming to Halton Arena on February 24. By coincidence, the women’s team is hosting Temple at home in a rare same team match for the men and women.

I’m sure we are all familiar with Temple. Their retired coach, John Chaney, is famous for threatening to kill John Calipari when he was at UMass. I imagine 49ers fans actually don’t mind Chaney’s threats as Calipari sold us out on national TV while he was at Memphis in the CUSA days, when he complained about us getting a NCAA Tourney bid over Memphis even though we beat them. (A big no-no for coaches to throw their conference brethren under the bus.)

Just looking at the standings can be deceiving as Charlotte is tied for 2nd, and Temple is tied for 11th. The conference is tough from top to bottom this year, and we are actually only a two game difference in the standings, 5-2 vs. 3-4. Combine that with the fact that they have lost their last two road conference games by 20+, Temple beating GW on the road and Richmond at home after those teams tormented us, and we are in for a tough game Wednesday night.

The Niners are short-handed with DeMario Mayfield suspended and Darion Clark may still be hurt, so you can see it’s going to take a complete, unselfish, team game like Charlotte pulled off Saturday at Homecoming vs. UMass to pull out the precious W.

Temple’s leading scorer is Khalif Wyatt with 18.6 ppg. They round out their top three scorers with two others, Anthony Lee and Scootie Randall, in double figures at 11.4 and 11.3 ppg respectively. When it comes to sharing the ball, Temple has three guys that average over 2.0 apg. They are Wyatt at 4.0 apg, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson at 3.3 apg and Scootie Randall at 2.2 apg.  As you can see, two of the three top scorers are also the top assists men. That makes them hard to defend when you cannot tell if they will dish out to the open man, or shoot themselves.

(On a side note, did you know that in the late 1940’s at UNC Charlotte’s founding, when we were still Charlotte College, we were originally called the Owls because students at that time were working parents who went to school as “night owls?”  You could look at this game vs. Temple as the Battle Of The REAL Owls!  I know some of our fans at ninernation.net have even gone the Auburn Tiger route of “War Eagles” chants, calling UNC Charlotte the “War Owls” to be old school.)

Temple has two guys that average 1.0 bpg–Hollis-Jefferson (1.2 bpg) and Watson (1.0 bpg). The big man Watson’s stat is all the more impressive because he hardly ever plays.  So if he gets in, don’t shoot anywhere around him!

Wyatt does, however, average 3.0 turnovers a game. No one else on the team has even 2.0. As leading scorer and assist man that is to be expected, but it also opens up the opportunity to pick his pocket.

When we have the ball, protect it around Wyatt as he averages 1.5 steals. The other Owls over 1.5 spg are Hollis-Jefferson at 1.8 and Will Cummings at 1.6.  If any of our men are surrounded by these guys, please pass to a teammate before things go haywire.

From long distance watch out for Wyatt–he shoots 34.1%. The other marksmen playing major minutes are Jake O’Brien at 40.0% and T.J. DiLeo at 33.3%. Quenton DeCosey doesn’t play much, but if he gets in, he is 38.1% from downtown.

This is where we should have our obligatory Bill Cosby reference as he is a Temple alum. When I watched the Cosby Show as a kid, I remember that big T on a maroon background in Dr. Huxtable’s office.  Okay, down with nostalgia, lets kick some Temple arse!

Who do you not foul? Well Wyatt (I’m getting tired of hearing his name) shoots 82.8% at the FT line.  Will Cummings shoots 80.0% and Dalton Pepper shoots 83.3%. Who to foul? Well, Daniel Dingle is at 50.0%, but he is rarely in. Also three man Quenton DeCosey is 46.2%. If Quenton attempts a three, FOUL HIM! Otherwise, the regular players you take your chances with: Anthony Lee at 63.6%, Hollis-Jefferson at 66.1%, or Jake O’Brien at 60%.

So I guess this is where I give the scouting report on the 49ers.  Hmm…better not. Let Temple do their own research. No reason to aid the enemy.

For those of you wanting me to predict a score, I’ve never been good at that, and no one would believe a 149-3 pick for the 49ers anyway. All I can say is play a team game, cut down the turnovers, play pressure defense, guard the 3-man, hit our FREE throws, and don’t get down if you are down on the road.  You have to be positive to come back in an enemy camp. We don’t want any repeats of Richmond or GW.

For those wondering what is going on the rest of the week for the 49ers, here it is. 
–I already mentioned on Wednesday the men’s basketball team is at Temple and the women’s basketball team hosts Temple.  Thursday is the Signing Day Chalk Talk with the football coaches as the staff details each new signing. 
–Friday, men’s and women’s tennis hosts Mercer, track and field is at the Tiger Paw Invitational, and softball hosts Wisconsin in the opening game of the First Pitch Classic. 
–On Saturday, the First Pitch Classic continues with softball hosting Notre Dame and Presbyterian. Women’s tennis at Liberty while men’s basketball hosts 2011 Final Four participant VCU. 
–On Sunday, men’s tennis hosts College of Charleston, women’s basketball is at St. Joe’s, and softball concludes the First Pitch Classic against Presbyterian.

Tags: A-10 Atlantic 10 Basketball Charlotte 49ers Charlotte 49ers Men's Basketball Temple Owls

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