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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Rutgers vs Seton Hall

March 8, 2006

The New Jersey contingent from the big East will ascend upon Madison Square Garden for the third meeting this season between the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers and the Seton Hall Pirates. The teams split their two previous meetings in the regular season, both winning at home, and will decide the season series in a rubber match on basketball's greatest stage in the Big East Conference Tournament.

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

Rutgers Russell is Making Most of Playing Time (Courier News)
Contributions from Palmer, Gause Paramount to Seton Hall's Success (Courier News)
SHU/RU Scouting Report (Courier News)
Dance Hall? Pirates Aim to Lock up Spot vs RU (
Whitney Stands as Big Obstacle for Rutgers (Star-Ledger)
SHU Hopes to Make Sure Douby Doesn't Make his Point (Star-Ledger)
Seton Hall Pours out Thanks to Orr (Star-Ledger)

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!


The Seton Hall Pirates' improbable run to the NCAA Tournament looks to have been sewn up with their road win at Pittsburgh on Friday nigth, giving the Pirates a 9-7 Big East record and wins on the road against NC St, Pitt and Syracuse with home wins over West Virginia and Cincinnati. That should be enough, regardless of what happens against Rutgers today, to get them into the Big Dance.

All season long, rumors on Louie Orr's future with Seton Hall have been in question. No matter how much the Pirates exceeded expectations, as the pre-season 15th place team, the clouds over Orr remained, and, even with the liklihood of a NCAA bid prior to the Big East Tournament being locked up, those clouds remain, which continue to kill the ability of the Pirate staff to recruit, but, alas, that is a story for another day...

Rutgers has already made a decision on their coaching future and it does not include Gary Waters. Waters accepted a buyout offer from the University last week and Fred Hill, jr will assume the head coaching duties in the future. Hill is a highly regarded recruiter, but an inexperienced head coach. However, the Scarlet Knight's have chosen a direction, it looks like those at Seton hall are hoping a direction will be chosen for them.

OK, back to the game. Rutgers finished the conference schedule at 7-9, a dramatic improvement over their 2-14 from a year ago. Both Seton Hall and Rutgers faced the easiest schedules in the conference as they played each other, South Florida and St. John's twice each. Rutgers was a tad easier since they did not play either West Virginia or Connecticut while Seton Hall did not play Louisville or Georgetown.

Obviously for Rutgers, their hopes pin on Quincy Douby. All season long, Douby has been their star and has racked up points like no other in the league this season. Rutgers' inability to develop a secondary scorer has been their downfall.

Seton Hall matches up well with the Scarlet Knights because of Kelly Whitney inside. Rutgers has nobody who can physically match up with him and the Pirates have enough solid defenders to try and slow down Douby. Donald Copeland and Jamar Nutter also offer much better scoring balance for the Pirates.

Seton Hall is just a 2-pt favorite, which seems to be a little low, but many of the computer numbers show this game to be very even. Like usual, it should be a very tight game, but too much Kelly Whitney inside should get the win for Seton Hall.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 64 Rutgers 59


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