Bracket Breakdown: Temple

      An interesting stat to note- with Michael Eric healthy and in the lineup, the Owls are 10-1 this season, including wins over Wichita State, Xavier and Maryland. Without him, the team is 9-4 with losses to Bowling Green, Texas, Dayton and Richmond. Thin in the frontcourt, Eric brings a toughness on the boards and an interior presence to block and alter shots from penetrating guards and bigs posting up; had he had enough games to qualify, Eric would be second in the league in rebounding and fourth in blocks. Eric's offensive game helps keeps defenses in check from hedging out on a trio of talented guards and knockdown outside shooters, Ramone Moore, Khalif Wyatt and Juan Fernandez.

        Temple has built up a reputation over the past few years for their efforts defensively, and rightfully so. This year, the defense is pedestrian across the board, but it's the offense that is leading this team to victory-after-victory, now eight in a row. Moore and Wyatt are combining to score 35.5 points, but 6.5 assists per game as well. Juan Fernandez is slowly making better decisions and has recently elevated his field-goal percentage above .400, mostly by way of effective 3-point shooting (41.4 percent). Even defensive-minded wing Rahlir Jefferson, who plays both inside and out, has stepped up to keep defenses honest.

        The A-10 may be in a state of flux due to teams continually beating up on each other, but don't hold that against the Owls who are 8-2 in conference.

By President Corey Ruff - 2 - 16 - 12