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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Rutgers @ Seton Hall

January 3, 2006

The Big East season tips off for Rutgers and Seton Hall with the two in-state rivals meeting at the Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands. It is the Big East debut for both head coaches as Fred Hill leads his Scarlet Knights against Bobby Gonzalez and the Pirates. Both coaches have long been known in Big East circles for their ability to recruit in NYC and NJ, now they will square off on the court and see who can guide their team to a win.

Here are the game stories from newspaper sources around the internet:

Rutgers-SHU Scouting Report (Courier News)
Rutgers Forward Perseveres Through Pain (

This is an interesting game as two teams with opposite styles converge to meet at the Meadowlands. Seton Hall wants to push tempo and get the game played at a helter-skelter style and pace, while Rutgers would love to see a game trapped in the 50's, with the first team to 60 the winner. The problem with the Scarlet Knight's, can they score 60?

Seton Hall is led by freshman guard Eugene Harvey, who uses his supreme quickness with the basketball to make things happen for the Pirates. Harvey averages 16 PPG and 5.3 assists a game and combines with Brian Laing (16 PPG and a team high 7.3 rebounds a game) and Jamar Nutter (13 PPG, but shooting just 32% form the floor) to give the Pirates three strong scoring options on the floor. All three prefer the game to be wide open and with Stan Gaines and Grant Billmeier the other starters, the half court offense is not a strength of SHU. The Pirates will go small with Paul Gause and Larry Davis, bith guards, getting most of the time off the bench, where they both provide instant offense and the ability to ball-hawk.

Rutgers meanwhile has alot of trouble scoring the basketball. Averaging just 61 PPG and shooting a touch higher than 40%, the Scarlet Knights are going to have to work at slowing the game. With Marquis Webb, possibly the conference's best perimter defender, they will need to cut of Harvey's dribble penetration and force this game to be a battle of the backboards. Seton Hall has no size underneath and very little presence on the boards while JR Inman, Adrian Hill, Hamady N'Diaye and Ollie Bailey should be able to do some damage inside. Seton Hall loves to force turnovers by being aggressive after the ball and Rutgers will need to handle the ball much better than they have thus far this year. They have some capable perimeter players in Webb, Anthony Farmer and Courtney Nelson, but they have not played to their abilities offensively this season. I doubt they suddently find it tonight.

The oddsmakers have made Seton Hall the overwhelming favorite by 9 points and Pomeroy sees an easy Pirate win (by 17). I think they game stays relatively close, but when it gets down to the end, the Pirate pressure ices the game when Rutgers has to try to hurry up.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Seton Hall 73 Rutgers 62

What's your prediction?


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