The selection committee has created their masterpiece, and the Sun Devils will take on the 11th seeded Temple Owls in Miami, FL. Temple, located in downtown Philadelphia, is the Atlantic 10 conference tournament champion. They create an interesting matchup between senior Dionte Christmas and James Harden, the centerpieces of each team. They finished the season 22-11 and 11-5 within the A-10. The Owls have a mix of quality losses, and bad losses. Their losses were to Clemson, Buffalo, Miami(OH), Kansas, Long Beach State, Villanova, UMass, Rhode Island, Xavier, La Salle, and Dayton. Their key wins are against Tennessee, Penn State, and Xavier in the A-10 tournament. Temple needs some production from their supporting players in order to put up a fight. Christmas put up 20 points in 5 of their losses, demonstrating the need for his teammates to step up. In order for Temple to win, I think it will fall on Lavoy Allen. If Pendergraph and Kuksiks can shut him down, the Devils shouldn't have a problem taking this game. Look for Harden and Abbott to lead the Devils from the outside, and Pendergraph to contribute down low leading the Devils to a 75-64 first round victory.
The second round takes the Devils to a matchup with The Syracuse Orange. Syracuse has been one of the hottest teams coming down the stretch, with big wins over Connecticut and Marquette. Let's hope they still have tired legs after their 6 OT thriller against UConn. Cuse was left out of the tournament last year and went on to two wins in the NIT before losing to UMass. Syracuse PG Jonny Flynn is one of the top PG's in the nation. He is quick and elusive, and can make a shot from anywhere on the court. He has scored double digit points in all but 2 games this season while also contributing 6.7 APG. His supporting cast includes Eric Devendorf who is averaging 16 PPG, and shooting 79% from the charity stripe. The Orange have an 8-man rotation, with 5 players averaging double figures. I think Syracuse is too deep and athletic for the Devils to handle. James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph will play their last game as Sun Devils against Syracuse, as the Devils bow out after a 2nd round loss, 85-73.