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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

Leave your prediction in the comments section!


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