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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

Leave your prediction in the comments section!


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