NCAA Basketball: My Pick for Game of the Week
Each week Mike Aurigemma will choose one NCAA men’s basketball game that he believes will be must watch television and break down how he feels the game will play out…
Temple Owls vs. 9. Butler Bulldogs
Fresh off of a huge victory against Gonzaga the Bulldogs have another tough test this coming Saturday as they face the Temple Owls. With Butler now inside the top 10, this is a huge game for Temple to try to beef up their resume, which will help them try to get a seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs are coming off an emotional last second win against Gonzaga and the most impressive part is that they did it without their star player Rotnei Clarke. It looks like he will play Saturday against Temple after sustaining a scary neck injury his last time on the court. I am not a believer that Butler is now better without Clarke as we all know that is not the case, but they definitely showed a lot of mental toughness to win that game without their best player. Now with him coming back their offense should get boost, but it could hurt them as well if he struggles to find a rhythm early on in the game.
We all know that Temple relishes these opportunities as this will be the fourth top 10 team they face this season. In one of those games they were able to upset Syracuse so they are definitely not afraid of big games like this. A win in this game make their case for an NCAA tournament bid that much stronger and also boost them in the standings in the A-10 conference. To me it all comes down to Khalif Wyatt and if he can play a consistently good basketball game. They will not need him to go out and score 40 in this game, but he has to maintain his composure and try not to do too much. He is averaging just under three turnovers a game and also only shooting around thirty percent from behind the arc. He cannot try to go head to head against Rotnei Clarke and get caught up in that moment, but just be a steady force for the Owls throughout the game.
In the end, I think that we will see a rusty Clarke in this game, which could lead to him shooting his team out of the game early. I also think Temple will be a lot more emotionally ready for this game to try to boost their resume, but you cannot forget the kind of victory that Butler just had last week. It is hard not to have an emotional drop off after a game like that.
The Winner: Temple Owls