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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Seton Hall @ Connecticut

February 14, 2007

Last year this was a match-up of a pair of NCAA Tournament teams. This year, it is likely that only one of the two will make the Big East Tournament. The Connecticut Huskies have won two conference games in a row to move to 4-6 in the Big East and one-game ahead of Seton Hall, 3-7 in the Big East, for the 12th and final Big East Tournament spot. Last year, UConn was a 42-pt winner at Seton Hall, but this Connecticut team has a lot of trouble scoring points.

Here are the pregame stories and previews found on the internet this snowy morning:

Calhoun Looks to Past for Answers (Danbury News Times)
Huskies Have Endured Hard Times, Hoping Experience Will Help Freshmen (Stamford Advocate)
SHU/UConn Scouting Report (Norwich Bulletin)
Win Can Relieve UConn (Norwich Bulletin)
Playing for the Now at UConn (Bristol Press)
Need for Points by Thabeet Heightened (Hartford Courant)
Freshmen Find their Footing (Hartford Courant)
Seton Hall at UConn (Courant)
Hall's Big East Spot on the Line (Newark Star-Ledger)
Calhoun Worried Huskies Lack Confidence (Connecticut Post)
Seton Hall-Connecticut Scouting Report (Courier News)

Connecticut enters the game as a 10.5-pt favorite, but they hold just a precarious one-game lead over Seton Hall in the race for the 12th and final Big East Tournament spot. Seton Hall has lost five consecutive Big East games, dropping them to 3-7 in the league and they are 0-5 on the road in conference play. Connecticut has won two in a row in the Big East, beating Rutgers (in OT) and Syracuse at home to move to 4-6 in league play and have beaten SHU 19 times in their last 21 meetings, including last year's 42-pt blowout.

Both teams play at a quick pace and there will be a lot of up and down action and, likely, a lot of trips to the foul line. Seton Hall will press all game to make up for their lack of size and depth in the frontcourt. This could take the young UConn guards out of their objective to feed the ball inside where Connecticut has a massive size advantage. The Huskies shoot poorly and if they take quick shots against the SHU pressure, they could play right into the hands of SHU.

Seton Hall is not a great shooting team, either. They do have the potential to get hot with Jamar Nutter and Paul Gause coming off the bench. Freshmen Larry Davis and Eugene Harvey will have plenty of motivation going up against the highly regarded classmates on the UConn side in Dougie Wiggins and Jerome Dyson, as wll as AJ Price. It will be an interesting sidebar to keep an eye on, especially if one side begins to press and try to do too much on their own.

In the end, I think UConn's size will win out as Jeff Adrien will dominate the glass and Hasheem Thabeet and Stanley Robinson will change too many shots inside for the Pirates. However, expect SHU to keep coming at them and make this game very close, especially the way UConn shoots foul shots.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Connecticut 68 Seton Hall 65


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