NJIT Highlanders (0-0) at Temple Owls (0-0)
College Basketball: Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 4:30 pm (Liacouras Center)
The Line: Temple Owls -7.5 -- Over/Under: 133.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The NJIT Highlanders and the Temple Owls meet in college basketball action from the Liacouras Center on Saturday afternoon.
The NJIT Highlanders will look to finally take the floor for the first time as a member of the America East conference after finishing their last year in the ASUN with a 9-21 overall record, including a 6-10 mark in conference play to finish in 8th, losing to eventual tournament champion Liberty in the quarter-finals of the tournament. The transition will be made a bit easier for the Highlanders with their two double-digit scorers from last season back in Zach Cooks, who had a team-high 19.7 points per game as well as 5.2 rebounds per game in addition to San Antonio Brinson who had 11 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last year. Souleymane Diakite will also return for NJIT as last year’s top rebounder with 8.5 boards per game as well as 7.8 points per contest. As a team, NJIT averaged 63.5 points on 40.3% shooting from the field, 30.2% from 3-point range and 68.1% from the foul line while allowing opposing teams to average 67.7 points on 44% shooting from the field and 34% from 3-point range last season.
The Temple Owls will also be taking the floor for the first time this season after having to deal with COVID-19 protocols within their respective programs. The Owls will be out to bounce back from their first losing season since 2014 and just their 4th losing season in the last 44 years, finishing 14-17 with a 6-12 record in AAC conference play. The Owls wouldn’t get a chance to redeem themselves in the conference tournament as it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hard part for Temple will be replacing their top two scorers from last year as Quinton Rose graduated as a senior while Nate Pierre-Louis transferred out of the program after combining for 17.3 points and 13.5 rebounds last year. Only time will tell if Aaron McKie can replenish some of last year’s early season magic before falling apart as the season went on. As a team, Temple averaged 68.3 points on 40.4% shooting from the field, 32.2% from behind the arc and 68.7% from the foul line while allowing opposing teams to average 67.9 points on 39.9% shooting from the field and 31% from 3-point range last season.
NJIT is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games while the under is 7-1 in their last 8 Saturday games. The under is 9-1-1 in Temple’s last 11 Saturday games and 4-1 in their last 5 games overall.
This is a hard one to call with so much going on between these two programs. With that said, I think we’re going to see a lower-scoring game between two teams that really struggled to put points on the board last year and while NJIT had a scorer like Zach Cooks, the offense sputtered and Temple’s going to come out slow with a completely new lineup that’s going to need time to gel. I’ll side with the under in this game.