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Tuesday, January 06, 2009


January 6, 2009

Seton Hall returns to action on their home curt, just three days after being blasted by West Virginia, 92-66, at the Prudential Center. In two Big East games, the defenseless Pirates have yielded an average of 96 points a game while being outscored by a combined 50 points in losses to WVU and Syracuse.

Villanova opened their conference slate on the road on New Year's Day and fell to Marquette in the Bradley Center in a competitive and entertaining game. The Wildcats will look to even their conference record at 1-1 when they take on the Pirates tonight.

Here are some pregame stories and previews found on the web today:

Villanova at Seton Hall (Sports Network)

Villanova makes the short trek from Philly to Newark (NJ) for a Big East conference match-up against the Seton Hall Pirates. Villanova lost at Marquette in Thursday's conference opener as they shot just 41% from the floor and hit ony six of 20 from three-point range in the 79-72 loss. If your offense is ailing, a game with SHU is likely to fix that.

In Big East play (2 games) opponents are shooting 55% from the field in a mix of dunks, lay-ups and open three-point shots (20-40) against SHU. sure, maybe they ran into a couple of hot-shooting teams, but the Pirates try to force tempo without numbers and the results have been a lot of easy baskets for the opposition.

Offensively, SHU is just four of 36 in two games from three-point range. Jeremy Hazell is averaging 26 points a game in the first two league games, but nobody else has been a consistent offensive threat.

A healthy John Garcia provides a big lift for the Pirates and the 'Nova post players do not have anyone with his bulk to match-up. However, the injured knee limits Garcia's effectiveness and the style of play the Pirates lean to also cancels out the effectiveness of Garcia in the paint. Quicker post players like Antonio Pena and Dante Cunningham could pose problems for Garcia and the thin SHU frontcourt.

The Villanova gaurds have not been shooting the ball very well, so it will be interesting if Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are able to find the mark. The Pirates will try to keep Corey Stokes from getting any open looks, but if the game starts to open up, look for the sophomore shooting specialist to find his spots and dial in from long rage tonight.

The Pirates need to improve their offensive effeciency and not just work on volume in the Big East. Their shots are due to start to fall for others other than Hazell, but will they have enough inside to take advantage of Villanova's small line-up? Probably not...

With Villanova a 6 and a half point favorite according to the latest college basketball odds, the Wildcats are a good bet to even that conference record with a road win.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Villanova 78
Seton Hall 70



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