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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: West Virginia @ Seton Hall

February 14, 2006

West Virginia finishes off their three game road trip as they look to move back into a 1st place tie in the conference with Villanova when they take on Seton Hall at the Continental Airlines Arena tonight. The Mountaineers have a quick turnaround after their impressive 69-56 win at Georgetown Sunday night to prepare for the Pirates. WVU also must resist the urge to look ahead to Connecticut, who will be coming to Morgantown for a nationally televised game this coming Saturday.

Seton Hall will look to bounce back after the 42-pt drubbing they were given by Connecticut on Saturday night. The loss, which came at home, snapped the Pirates six game winning streak which has put them in the NCAA Tournament mix. WVU is the middle game of a three game homestand which concludes with Notre Dame on Saturday. This is a pivotal stretch for Seton Hall to see really how good they are.

Here are the pregame stories and previews from around the internet:

Seton Hall Looks to Get Defensive (
WVU Basketball: Seton Hall No Pushover (Charleston Gazette)
Pittsnogle Not Singing Baby Blues (Charleston Gazette)
WVU Likely to Run Into Mean Bunch of Pirates (Register-Herald)
Mountaineers Height a Big Test for Hall's D (Star-Ledger)
Seton Hall's Sheriff Hopes to Restore Order on D (Courier News)
WVU/SHU Scouting Report (Courier News)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


On Sunday, I thought the key to the West Virginia/Georgetown game was which team would tire first, I thought, playing on the road, it would be West Virginia. I was flat out wrong! West Virginia finished th egame strong as it was Georgetown that clearly tired. Tonight, the Mountaineer's stamina will be tested again as they play their third road game against a winning conference foe in less than five days! It all started Thursday night at 9 PM at Pittsburgh and concludes tonight at 7:30 against Seton Hall.

Last season, Seton Hall closed out the regular season by beating West Virginia, 66-63, at the Continental Airlines Arena. In that game, the Mountaineers shot just 8-26 from 3-pt range. Seton Hall will look to apply the same defensive magic tonight when the two teams meet again.

Even though the Pirates had won six straight games, they were allowing their opponents to shoot 48% from the floor, which is a high number for the defensive minded Pirates. Of course, Connecticut took full advantage of the defense, shooting 53% from the floor and scoring 99 points. The Pirates were also outrebounded by the Huskies 60-32! Seton Hall will look to rebound tonight on the defensive end, otherwise, the veteran group of Mountaineers could put on a clinic. One thing working in Seton Hall's favorite is the expected return of their defensive ace, Stan Gaines, who has been out with broken bones in his face after taking an elbow to the face in their loss to Villanova. Gaines will be wearing a mask, but is expected to be ready to go tonight.

Last Thursday West Virginia dropped their first conference game at Pittsburgh when Kevin Pittsnogle went 0-12 from the field and fouled out without scoring a point. Pittsnogle and the Mountaineers rebounded Sunday by winning at Georgetown as Pittsnogle led the way with 25 pts. As we all know, WVU is not a deep team. For the most part they will play 7 players, five of which are seniors, for the most part. Three tough road games in five days is bound to have an effect on their game in some way, especially when you factor in they could be looking ahead, even ever so slightly, to getting back home to meet Connecticut this weekend. It is only natural.

Seton Hall is a rather small-ish team, especially in their backcourt and that will cause a tough match-up against the 1-3-1 zone defense of West Virginia as they will look to trap the Pirate guards and make it tough for them to make entry passes to the post. Mike Gansey, Frank Young and Joe Herber are most likely to find smaller defenders on them. Gansey could be the one to draw Gaines. I do not think they can put Gaines on Pittsnogle, because that would force Kelly Whitney to guard one of their smaller, perimeter orinetated forwards. Seton Hall has some quickness they would like to use to their advantage, but the WVU 1-3-1 trap has a way of negating those advantages. With Whitney likely to be defending 20-feet from the basket, rebounding could be another factor. WVU is the worst rebounding team in the conference, but they get by as they force twice as many turnovers as they commit and rely on 3-pters to make up for the difference.

I see that WVU is an early 4.5-pt favorite and I see them coming up with a win tonight, but in a tighter than anticipated game. SHU will come at them, try to be physical and grind it out, but in the end, their lack of offense might just bite them as the Mountaineers have a couple more answers from the arc.

NBE Blogger's Prediction:

West Virginia 67 Seton Hall 64


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