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Temple vs. St. Joes Pick NCAA Basketball – November 30th

Just when the athletic programs were looking Smart and Strong in Texas, the hot seat is firmly ratcheted it up in Longhorn country.  Charlie Strong has already been shown the door, and suffice it to say that Shaka Smart is not enjoying his morning after last night’s double-digit home loss Texas Arlington.  The Longhorns are now 3-3 on the season and don’t look like an NCAA Tournament team right now, which would be a really big problem for a frustrated and impatient fan base.

Elsewhere, the ACC seemed to have a pretty good night with some of their bigger name teams in action; Duke, Notre Dame and Pitt rolling to wins in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but by the time you add in wins from Wisconsin, Penn State and Illinois over Syracuse, Georgia Tech and NC State and the Challenge stands even at 4-4 heading into tonight’s conclusion.  The headliner is UNC’s trip to Assembly Hall to face the Hoosiers – a dangerous foe despite their inexplicable loss to Ft. Wayne.  The schedule is also strong with Purdue at Louisville, Ohio State at Virginia, and Virginia Tech at Michigan filling the airwaves.

It’s gonna be a nice night of college hoops, so let’s see if we can bounce back from last night’s win-streak-snapping loss on Maryland getting beat up by Pitt.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Temple Owls at St. Joe’s Hawks -1

OK, Temple.  Show us you are for real tonight.

Obviously, Vegas is still skeptical.  Despite  back to back wins this weekend over ranked foes, Florida State and West Virginia – both as a substantial underdog, they are still the slight dog tonight on the road at city-rival St. Joe’s.  These two former conference mates have a good rivalry, and it seems reasonable to expect a really good game tonight.  However, St. Joe’s early body of work is far from impressive.  They made a surprising run to the NCAA Tourney.  It is hard to see them finishing in the Top Four of the A-10 again this season.

So far, St. Joe’s has lost to NC State and Ole Miss by a combined 23 points and struggled to a one-point home win over Toledo.  And yes, Temple has the jarring losses to UMass and NEW HAMPSHIRE, but those were before the light apparently came on for the Owls.  Tonight is the classic formula for a trap-game and the regression back to reality, except for one important factor – it is really unlikely the rivalry doesn’t get the attention of Fran Dunphy’s squad tonight.

Expect Temple to play well in a fierce rivalry game, and I like them to grab the win against the Hawks.

Free Pick:  Temple Owls +1