Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wednesday dribble: Richmond takes aim at Temple

Just one game on Wednesday's hoops docket as Richmond tries to rev up for a big finish against a Temple squad some believe is NCAA tournament-bound. Speaking of Richmond, be sure to check out our interview with Brittani Shells. Shells talks the way she plays - quickly, decisively and with great enthusiasm. Here's hoping all the Spiders perform this way, because against these Owls, they'll have to.

Wednesday's game

Temple (20-7, 9-3 Atlantic 10) at Richmond (16-10, 5-6 Atlantic 10), 7 p.m.
The schedule-makers did the Spiders no favors - of the four A-10 teams that have already won 20 games (Xavier, Dayton, St. Bonaventure and Temple), the Owls are the only one Richmond gets to play at home. The Spiders will be looking to build on Sunday's effort against St. Joseph's in which they lost on a buzzer-beater but according to coach Michael Shafer competed more passionately than they have all season. But just playing hard probably won't be enough against the talented Owls. The Spiders must turn defense into offense by creating steals, the one thing Richmond does better than any team in the A-10. Simply put, when the Spiders can impose their style on an opponent, they win. They average 14.4 steals a game in their five A-10 victories; 8 steals a game in their six conference losses. And Temple may be vulnerable to Spiders pressure - in A-10 games the Owls turn it over more than any other league team (18.8 per game). There aren't many other weaknesses on this team so the Spiders are going to have to exploit the heck out of this one. And history isn't on Richmond's side - the Owls have won four straight in the series and eight of the last nine. But hey, guys, it's your final home game of the season. Why not let it all hang out? Richmond 62, Temple 60

NOTE: Although your schedule may not reflect it, Richmond will be also be in action on Friday when the Spiders visit George Washington. The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 10 before being postponed because of the snowstorm that buried the nation's capital.

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