The first Big 5 Classic was announced prior to the 2023 college basketball season and expanded to include Drexel to round out all six of Philadelphia’s men’s D1 college basketball programs. After pool play, which featured matchups over the past few weeks, the championship game is officially set, and it’ll be Temple squaring off with Saint Joseph’s as part of a tripleheader at Wells Fargo Center in Philly.
While Drexel and Villanova square off in the first consolation game, followed by La Salle and Penn, the nightcap and headliner will feature the Owls and Hawks at 7:30 pm ET to decide who wins the Big 5 title this season.
Both teams have impressed, with Saint Joseph’s (5-2) losing a tight overtime matchup to Kentucky to mark one of blemish on their record. The Hawks did also suffer a loss in a bit of a head-scratcher to Texas A&M Commerce, but defeated Villanova and Penn.
Temple nearly picked up what would have been an impressive victory against Ole Miss, a game it lost by one. The Owls’ other loss came by five against Columbia.
Temple vs Saint Joseph’s Head-to-Head
Temple and Saint Joseph’s have met a total of 145 times over their collegiate basketball history, with the Owls holding a 78-67 edge. Temple won the meeting in 2022 between the teams by a score of 70-60, while St. Joe’s got the win in 2021 by a score of 68-49. Prior to that, Temple had won four consecutive matchups dating to the 2016 season.
Temple vs Saint Joseph’s Game Information
- Game: Saint Joseph’s Hawks (5-2) vs Temple Owls (4-2)
- Date/Time: Dec 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Temple vs Saint Joseph’s Live Stream: TBS.com
Temple vs Saint Joseph’s Betting Lines
Temple vs Saint Joseph’s Game Prediction
While Saint Joseph’s is widely viewed as a popular choice to finish within he top four or five teams in the Atlantic 10, the Hawks have been unable to turn the corner under head coach Billy Lange, who took the helm to follow Phil Martelli in the 2019-20 season.
Over the four-year span, the Hawks have never gotten above the .500 mark but boast an impressive backcourt with guards Erik Reynolds II and Lynn Greer.
Temple has also failed to live up to expectations as of late and is under the watch of first-year head coach Adam Fisher. The Owls lost guards Khalif Battle and Damian Dunn to the transfer portal, and those departures paired with a change to the look of the AAC, have led to to Temple initially being projected to finish near the bottom of the conference.
Both teams have gotten well-balanced production. The aforementioned Reynolds leads the Hawks in scoring at 17.3 points per game, while the Owls have seen Hysier Miller take a huge step forward, averaging 20.7 points, over a 12-point increase from last year.
Glimpses of the upside Saint Joseph’s possesses were on display in the win over Villanova, along with the overtime loss to Kentucky. I think we see the duo of Reynolds and Greer put together strong showings, while Xzayvier Brown, one of the team’s top scorers, is another name to watch as he looks to stay hot while logging big minutes off the bench.
The Hawks’ mixture of upside on the offensive end and the fact they allow just 64.3 points per game is a solid combination and should get the job done here.
Predicted Score: Saint Joseph’s Hawks 72, Temple Owls 62
Worth Targeting the Total?
The current over/under for the Big 5 Classic title game is set at 144½, and while both teams have had little issue scoring through the early stages of this season, it’ll be interesting to see if the Saint Joseph’s defense can be a difference maker. The Hawks have flashed upside on the defensive end, and I think that’ll lead to this game playing to the under.
Pick: Under 144½ (-105)
Worth Betting ATS?
It’s always tough to gauge teams early in the season, especially when they’re going through some major changes. The NCAA basketball lines have seen this spread move around a bit, but it currently sites with St. Joe’s as a six-point favorite.
Temple has looked good even after losing two key members of its roster from last season. While I do think the Owls keep this game close until late in the second half, I like the Hawks to pull away late behind the play of Reynolds, who’s picked up right where he left off last season.
College Basketball Pick: Saint Joseph’s Hawks -6 (-110)
Questions of the Day
Which team is the favorite to win the 2023 Big 5 Classic Final?
Saint Joseph’s is favored to win the Big 5 Classic Final by six points.
What are the key betting factors to consider for the 2023 Big 5 Classic Final?
Temple lost its two top scorers from last season, Khalif Battle and Damian Dunn. While the Owls have looked more than capable of taking steps in the right direction toward filling that void, the impact of those losses could ultimately be highlighted in this matchup.