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Friday, February 17, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame @ Seton Hall

February 18, 2006

February 18, 2006

Seton Hall's win over West Virginia Tuesday night put the Pirates in VERY good position for an NCAA Tournament bid, something nobody gave SHU much hope for before the season began. On Saturday, they look to put what could be the final stamp on their resume by beating Notre Dame.

It might be a saying that is overdone, but Notre Dame IS much better than their 3-8 conference record. They have won their last two games, both at home, over Rutgers and South Florida and will now look to add their first conference road win, after 5 defeats, two in overtime, by a combined 15 pts. They also still find themselves one game out of the mix for a Big East Tournament spot, and they have a trip to Connecticut following this game.

For our the rest of our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


No doubt Louis Orr and his Seton Hall Pirates are one of the best stories in the country. With a head coach left hung out to dry since last spring, through the entire recruiting season, the Pirates have banded together and won seven of their last eight games to go from a conference bottom-feeder to challenging for a bye in the conference tournament. Led by seniors Donald Copeland and Kelly Whitney as well as getting timely contributions from Jamar Nutter, Brian Laing, Paul Gause, Grant Billmeier and the return of Stan Gaines, SHU is playing some very good ball right now. They have shown they can be more than a team that just relies on their defense. However, it will still be their defense that carries them into the NCAA Tournament, especially against a team as skilled as Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish story for 2005-2006 has been well documented and losing close games has been their forte throughout the conference season. The Irish tend to be limited athletically and physically inside, meaning they continuously come up short at the end of close games in getting key stops or making the big play. They have very capable players, led by Chris Quinn, but it seems any limitation any of them have gets exploited at the key points in games by opponents.

Notre Dame got an ugly win Wednesday over South Florida in a game the Irish shot 4-20 from 3-pt range, including 0-9 from Colin Falls. I think you can count on the Irish shooting better than that against the Pirates. Notre Dame has some favorable match-ups, but will have to deal with the quickness advantage the Pirate guards have. They also must have Torin Francis be a threat offensively and defensively inside and make things tough for Kelly Whitney. Francis and Rick Cornett have to team together to at least match Whitney's output and the Irish need something from their power forward spot. The Irish have also been tinkering with a 4-guard line-up to spread the floor and create more room for their shooters.

Seton Hall will have to continue giving their full effort and working hard on defense. They need to be on Colin Falls the entire time and not let him get going offensively. If Falls is taken away on the offensive side of the ball, it is a major advantage to Seton Hall because he is a one-dimensional player. However, for some reason, I just have a feeling that Falls is able to get free for some threes and Francis brings the game many thought he would flash for some time now. I think Seton Hall suffers an ill-timed let down on Saturday and lets one slip away as Notre Dame earns that elusive close win.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Notre Dame 66 Seton Hall 65


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