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Temple in good NCAA tournament position after win over No. 21 VCU

Mar 10, 2013, 2:53 PM EST

Khalif Wyatt AP

Early on, it looked like VCU’s patented “Havoc” defense would dominate Saturday against Temple. The Rams ripped off an 18-0 run to take a commanding 21-12 lead just 10 minutes into the game. That lead would grow to as many as 16 points, a combination of rushed Temple shots and Owl turnovers, before something clicked.

Temple broke off an 11-0 run to end the half and continued to turn it around in the second half on its way  to an 84-76 victory, denying VCU a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title and boosting its own NCAA tournament hopes in the process.

Khalif Wyatt scored 30 points, the fifth time this season that he has reached that mark, and now has Temple solidly on the favorable side of the bubble. The Owls have quality wins over Saint Louis, La Salle, and Syracuse, on their way to going 11-5 in conference and 23-8 overall. Despite having lost to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, and Duquesne, Temple is 44th in RPI and 71st in strength of schedule.

Of course, a win or two in the A-10 tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next week wouldn’t hurt their cause, but they should make their way in regardless. Especially with bubbles teams losing left and right around them, Temple rides into the conference tournament on a seven-game winning streak.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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