Temple to Play Maryland in BB&T Classic

Okay, so 1) this was hinted at a few days ago, and 2) I'm late with the news because I've been out of the house all day, but whatever. It's official: Maryland and Temple will face off in this year's BB&T Classic.

Temple, as I've went over before, is a pretty formidable opponent, even if they don't have the name cache of Villanova, who played in the BB&T last year. Fran Dunphy, Temple's head coach, is a Gary Williams protege and his teams always play tough-nosed, lock-down defense. They toppled Villanova, Dayton, Virginia Tech, and Xavier last year thanks to that defense, and they weren't nearly as well-known as they should've been (they were #22 by KenPom).

If the early rankings are any indication, they'll be even higher when they play Maryland: they've been ranked everywhere from #22 to #10 and #9 in early rankings. It's possible they'll be Top 15 (or higher) when they come to DC.

The Owls' strength comes from their defense, coaching, and hard work, which should remind you a little bit of Gary Williams squads. They lose their top scorer from last year, Ryan Brooks, but still return quite of bit of talent in Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez. Allen nearly went pro last year and averaged 11 points and 11 boards; he'll be one of the better big men Jordan Williams will face all year.

All in all, it's a pretty good matchup for a BB&T Classic sort of deal. Probably not the seemingly no-lose opportunity that was presented by playing Villanova last year, but Temple's a good opponent that will be ranked much of the year but - if Maryland exploits their lack of scoring ability - they're beatable.

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