UCF at Temple Prediction - Basketball Picks 3/2/23

Temple Owls (15-14) vs Central Florida Knights (16-12)

Game Info: Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 7:00 pm (Liacouras Center)

Betting Odds: Temple Owls +1 -- Over/Under: 133 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Central Florida Knights will head up to Philly to face the Temple Owls in AAC play from the Liacouras Center on ESPNU. Temple leads the head-to-head series, 11-7, after winning five of the last six meetings.

Central Florida moved to 16-12 following a road win over Tulsa. The Knights held the Golden Hurricane to 14 first half points, and left Oklahoma with a 19-point win, 68-49. UCF is scoring 72.1 points per game, while allowing 65.9 ppg, and shooting 42.7% from the field.

Central Florida has faded down the stretch, dropping eight of their last eleven games, and they’ll look to avoid being swept by Temple on Thursday evening. UCF is 7-9 in AAC play, with a 4-5 road record. Freshman forward Taylor Hendricks went for a game-high 25 points in the win over Tulsa, and he leads UCF in scoring (15.3) and rebounding (6.6). Senior guard Ithiel Horton scored 28 points against I-4 rival USF last week, and he’s up to 12.6 ppg. 

Temple dropped to 15-14 following a road loss to Cincinnati. The Owls forced overtime, but the Bearcats would end up handing them a five-point loss, 88-83. Temple is scoring 70.1 points per game, while allowing 69.8 ppg, and shooting 43% from the floor.

Temple has watched their positive early start to conference play disappear after dropping five of their last six games, and they’ll look to avoid falling to .500 here. The Owls are 9-7 in AAC play, with a 8-7 home record. Temple has played through sophomore gunners Khalif Battle and Damian Dunn this season. Battle leads the team in scoring, but after missing the last two contests, his status must be monitored when approaching this one. Dunn stepped up and dropped a season-high 34 points against Cincy last time out, and he’s up to 15.3 ppg. 

UCF is 13-11-2 against the spread this season, with a 14-10-2 over/under record. Temple is 15-12-1 ATS this year, with a 14-13-1 o/u record.

Temple comes into an interesting spot for this Thursday. Khalif Battle’s status will be huge for this contest, but Damian Dunn has shown in each of the last two games he can lead the charge. This is the same team that beat Houston and contended in conference play early on, and I think they feed off of the Philly crowd in their home finale here. Show Aaron McKie some love, and roll with Temple to win this AAC contest.

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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