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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


February 12, 2008

Only one game separates Marquette and Seton Hall in the Big East standings as they two teams prepare for a rematch of a very close contest from earlier in the season. Seton Hall led for much of th egame at the Bradley Center back in January and took Marquette to the wire in a heated and intense contest that had the coaching exchanging barbs during the game and a hard foul by Jamar Nutter on Dominic James.

As they prepare for the rematch, here are the local media previews and stories on the game:

Marquette Basketball Preview (Appleton Crescent)
Seton Hall Keeps its Focus on Big East Tourney (Star Ledger)
A Quick Looks at Seton Hall (Providence Journal)
Hayward Makes Big Gains in Sophomore Season (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Seton Hall-Marquette Scouting Report (Courier News)

A couple teams trying to end losing skids meet at the Pridential Center in Newark (NJ) tonight. Seton Hall has lost three in a row and Marquette has dropped a pair. The Pirates pushed Tom Crean's club to the limit in an earlier meeting this season, before losing 61-56 when Dan Fitzgerald iced the contest with a three-pointer as the shot clock expired in the games' final moments. Marquette overcame a 32.8% shooting performance as a series of zones used by Bobby Gonzalez and his Pirates slowed the Marquette attack and forced them to become a jump-shooting team. The Pirates will look to do the same tonight and hope that Jeremy Hazell heats up in his home building and improves on his 1-5 showing in the first meeting.

These teams are pretty similar in terms of personnell. Each team uses three guards and a wing at the power forward slot. They both also cover the post position by committee and would not hesitate to go smaller if they need to.

Marquette has the edge in experience and big-game success, while the Pirates are still trying to create their identity in the Big East. Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Mathews can play both ends of the floor as well as anyone, but look for Eugene Harvey, Jamar Nutter and Hazell to be pumped up for the match-up. Brian Laing is Seton Hall's go-to guy on offense and will be matched with the rapidly improving Lazar Hayward at the forward spot. This is an excellent match-up as both players like to face up and shoot the ball or take it to the basket. In the post, neither really has a player to consistently rely on, but Ousmane Barro has been showing signs of stepping his game up. John Garcia is definitely a load inside, but a gimpy knee and his conditioning will hold him back.

Marquette is a sligh 2.5-pt favorite and both teams should play with plenty of intensity and emotion. If one team doesn't bring that energy level, they will not be able to win tonight. Assuming both teams are ready to play, I think Marquette is the better team overall. Barring Jeremy Hazell going completely off down the stretch of a close game, I think Marquette does enough on the defensive end to come up with another tough win in this match-up.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Marquette 72 Seton Hall 66



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