North Carolina vs. Temple Prediction, Game Preview

    North Carolina vs. Temple prediction and game preview for the opening game between the Tar Heels and Owls. Find out who's picked to win the regular season tipoff.

    November 12, 2015

    No. 1-ranked North Carolina will take on the Temple Owls in the Veterans Classic Basketball Tournament to open up the season. Below is the North Carolina vs. Temple prediction and game preview.


    North Carolina vs. Temple Game Preview

    Game Broadcast

    Date: Friday, Nov. 13
    Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
    Venue: Alumni Hall, Annapolis, Md.
    Network: CBSSN

    Why You Need To Care

    The Tar Heels are ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll for the first time since the 2011-12 season and for the fourth time during Roy Williams’ tenure as head coach.

    With starting point guard Marcus Paige out for the first month of the season with a fracture in his right hand, UNC needs to get Joel Berry II and Nate Britt some minutes. They’ll likely share the job of filling in for Paige while he’s gone.

    Roy Williams hasn’t lost an opening game with the Tar Heels since the 2004-05 season when UNC fell to Santa Clara. But, more importantly, it’s an early look at what is supposed to be the best team in the country — missing its star player. Let’s see how good the team around Paige really is.

    As far as Temple goes, this is a tone-setting game for the Owls and head coach Fran Dunphy. After a disastrous 9-22 season two years ago, Temple rebounded with a 26-11 record last season but didn’t get a chance to dance in March.

    The Owls haven’t been in the NCAA Tournament since the 2012-13 season when they lost in the third round to Indiana.

    Why North Carolina Will Win

    It’s North Carolina — plain and simple. The Tar Heels aren’t supposed to lose games like this, but if that’s not enough then let’s look at the experience locked in with the roster. Williams’ team goes against the grain of relying on one-and-done freshmen. UNC converted 51 percent of its two-point field goals last season and shot 35.8 percent from behind three. With 77.7 points scored per game, the Tar Heels ranked No. 16 in college basketball last season. Temple was ranked no. 308 with 395 offensive rebounds given up last year. The Owls will give up too many second chances to a team that ranked No. 2 in offensive rebounds a year ago.

    Why Temple Will Win

    The Owls were No. 28 in opponent field goal percentage last season allowing just 39.4 percent of shots to drop. They also took 765 free throw attempts while the Tar Heels were sixth worst in personal fouls having committed 738. Dunphy’s squad, which ranked No. 10 with 957 defensive rebounds, will box out UNC’s big men and look to get some quick buckets in transition. Paige was UNC’s best three-point shooter last season. With him out, Temple can try and turn the Tar Heels into a one-dimensional offense plagued by missed triples.

    Players Who Matter

    Berry’s inrease in minutes will be a huge factor, but the x-factor for UNC will be Brice Johnson. He was second to Paige last season witih 12.9 points per game. With Johnson’s game predicated on getting good looks around the basket, he’ll need to have a big game scoring the ball to help make up for the loss of Paige. Will Cummings, Temple’s leading scorer from last year, is gone, so Quenton DeCosey will have to step up offensively, too. Just like Johnson, DeCosey was second on his team with 12.3 points per game. Both Johnson and DeCosey could swing the momentum of the game with offensive outbursts.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    With the exception of one game 11 years ago, Williams and UNC just don’t lose on opening night. This will be the seventh time UNC and Temple have played and the first meeting since the 1991 NCAA Tournament. The Owls haven’t beaten the Tar Heels since 1988 when they went into Chapel Hill, NC and beat Dean Smith’s team by 17 points. Even with Paige out, the Tar Heels recorded more assists than any other team last year and will continue to share the basketball, pound the ball inside and make the extra pass to get high-percentage shots.

    North Carolina vs. Temple Prediction


    Robert Judin:
    North Carolina 72, Temple 64

    Jordan Cornette:
    North Carolina 80, Temple 74

    Line: North Carolina -10

    MORE: Preseason ACC Basketball Rankings

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