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Thursday, January 19, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: South Florida @ Seton Hall

January 20, 2006

In the race for the final spots at the Big East tournament table, these kind of game are very important for Seton Hall. The Pirates opened Big East play with a stunning comeback win over St. John's and have competed very well, but have come up short on the road against Rutgers and Villanova and mixed in a tight loss to Marquette on their home floor. Now, they have to adjust without their defensive stopped Stan Gaines who is out after breaking several bones in his face against Villanova on Tuesday.

South Florida is a team you just have to feel sorry for. They have now lost 8 straight, including their four conference games and things do not promise to get much better any time soon. Although they have lost by just 4 pts at home to WVU and by 6 pts and 3 pts on the road to Syracuse and Georgetown, they were pounded by St. John's at home last weekend, 68-49.

The Bulls have gotten a little bit healthier with the return of guard Collin Dennis, but his rust showed in a 1-9 shooting evening at Georgetown. They are likely to play just 7 players and going up against a physical team like Seton Hall it is likely to cause them to wear down, but they do have some players who will put up some numbers like Melvin Buckley, James Holmes and Solomon Jones.

How the Bulls manage to contain Kelly Whitney will likely tell the tale of this game. He should be able to have a field day inside with his bulk and touch around the rm against the skinny Bulls. They will need to have Jamar Nutter and Paul Gause continue to be threats on the perimeter to give Whitney additional room and Donald Copeland will be asked to run the show.

With this as a must win against a team they definitely should beat, I look for Seton Hall to turn up the defensive pressure a bit early on and get Whitney established. They should have success against a Bulls team that could go down early.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 65 South Florida 56

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Seton Hall @ Villanova

January 17, 2006

Villanova returns home after a couple hard fought road games last week, winning 84-78 in overtime at Rutgers and losing 58-55 on the road to Texas. Seton Hall dropped a home game ot Marquette last week, 67-63. Tonight, the 18-pt favorite Wildcats look to regain their shooting touch at the expense of the Pirates.

Seton Hall does take pride in their defense and it will be tested, especially on the perimeter, by the 4-guard look that Villanova will use for a good portion of the game with Mike Nardi, Allan Ray, Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry sharing time together often. They will rotate in Will Sheridan, Jason Fraser, Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark in the frontcourt as well.

Seton Hall could possibly match-up if they go with a line-up of Donald Copeland, Jamar Nutter, Stan Gaines and Kelly Whitney with either Paul Gause, Carl Marshall and Brian Laing rotating in. Grant Billmeier and Marcus Cousin would also rotate in with Whitney and to go a little bigger. They do have options, but their ballhandling and perimeter offense lags well behind the quartet that Villanova is going to go with and with the pressure Villanova is going to apply the Seton Hall guards, this is a tough, tough test for the Pirates. Add in the fact Donald Copeland is a little gimpy yet from an awkward fall in the Marquette game, and, one is not going to give Seton Hall much hope as they play in the on-campus Pavilion at Villanova.

Seton Hall is really going to have to buckle down defensively against Villanova and find ways to score themselves. I can see them doing one or the other tonight, but not both and Villanova always shoots well in the Pavilion. I do not expect tonight to be any different.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Villanova 81 Seton Hall 64

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Marquette @ Seton Hall

January 11, 2006

After opening their Big East membership in conference play at home last week, the Marquette Golden Eagles take to the road with three straight and begin the stretch by traveling to New Jersey to meet the Pirates of Seton Hall. Marquette caught the attention of the conference with their rousing 94-79 win over Connecticut. However, over the weekend they could not hold on to a 10pt halftime lead and lost to Cincinnati on their home floor.

For Seton Hall, they found themselves dead in the water, down by 20 on their home floor against St John's in their opener, before rallying for an improbable victory last week. Over the weekend they continued to show some improvements offensively in losing, 82-78, at Rutgers.

Seton Hall has opened as a 1-pt favorite in this one and I am pretty sure that it has caught many by surprise. The Pomeroy computer also predicts Seton Hall by 1-pt. After looking over the line-ups and match-ups, i am beginning to see the game in a similar fashion.

For Marquette, they are 0-2 this year on the road, losing at Nebraska and Wisconsin. No shame in either loss, especially since the Nebraska game was immediately following a grueling trip to Alaska. Seton Hall has had trouble scoring much of this season, whether they are home or away, but they seem to be showing little signs of life.


In their loss to Cincinnati over the weekend, Marquette got 34 pts combined from their freshmen backcourt of Dominic James and Jerel McNeal. However, they took 36 shots between them to get the 34 points (13-36 from the floor) and Steve Novak scored 17 pts, but only got 9 shots. They will have to do a better job in running the offense to get others involved, because living and dieing from the perimeter with freshmen on the road in this conference is a tough way to make a living. Seton Hall will counter at the guards with senior Donald Copeland and junior Jamar Nutter. James shoudl be able to give Copeland fits with his quickness and constant pressure on both ends of the floor pushing the ball and his on the ball pressure on defense. How Copeland handles this will likely tell the story of this game. If he can keep his game together and still provide a source of offense for the Pirates, you have to like their chances.

Seton Hall defensive stopper Stan Gaines will get the call on the 6'10 Novak. This is the role Gaines has been casted for the Pirates, to shut down the opposing team's top offensive threat and it is a good match-up for Gaines. Marquette has had trouble defending the post and rebounding and they will definitely have their hands full with Kelly Whitney's scoring potential inside. Marquette will rotate Ryan Amoroso, Jamil Lott and Ousmane Barro into the mix in the front court with Novak and each will be assigned to slowing Whitney and using all 15 of their fouls if need be.

Joe Chapman for Marquette, in place of the injured Wesley Mathews, and Marcus Cousin for Seton Hall round out the probable starting line-ups. Marquette will rotate in the versatile Dan Fitzgerald into the mix in the backcourt and Seton Hall will use Grant Billmeier in the front court with Brian Laing on the wing and Paul Gause and Carl Marshall off the bench in the backcourt.

This looks like ti will be a tough, low-scoring grind it out game. There probably will not be much of a crowd on hand, making it a tougher game to get up for and the empty building can play tricks on a shooter'e eye. I really like this Marquette team and how they play, but the Mathews injury and inexperience will get to them here and Donald Copeland does just enough as a senior to help Seton Hall earn a home win.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 64 Marquete 61

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: St John's @ Seton Hall

January 4, 2006

For both Seton Hall and St. John's, this is a big game tonight. Both teams have favorable Big East schedules, but winning anything on the road will be tough, so St John's does have an opportunity tonight. for Seton Hall, losing a game like this at home in the Big East could be a disaster.

Seton Hall is coming off a solid win over Iona in their last game and St John's is still basking a little bit in the Holiday Hoops Festival championship, without Daryll Hill. At this point, it still looks like Hill will be out of action tonight when the two teams get together at Continental Airlines Arena, but Norm Roberts could be playing a little cat and mouse game with Louis Orr.

Both teams rely on effort and defense to keep them in games. Without Hill, it will probably be a tall order for the Redstorm to win away from home. Neither team shoots it very well, as both are at 41% or less for the season. St John's shoots just 25% from beyond the arc and 63% from the line, where SHU shoots 75% from the line and 33% from 3-pt range. Both teams are a near mirror-image in other stats defensive and on the boards. So, who will have more offense tonight? Well, without Daryll Hill, I have to believe it will be Seton Hall.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 62
St John's 57

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Here are some game preview articles:

NY Post
NJ Star-Ledger
Courier News


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