Seton Hall @ Connecticut, 9:00PM
Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Connecticut
Radio: 770 WABC
Projected Starting Five:
Let's be honest, there isn't a projected starting five, I'm willing to bet the house that Bobby will roll out his fourth new starting lineup in as many contests, prove me wrong Gonzo and put Stix back where he belongs.
Losers of four of their last five games and their backs firmly pressed against the proverbial wall, the Seton Hall Pirates will travel to Storrs, Connecticut, in hopes of recording their first Big East Conference win. Seton Hall hasn't won in Connecticut since 1997 and their on-campus drought extends even longer, winning last at Gampel Pavilion in 1992. It won't be an easy task for the Pirates who find themselves in an absolute must-win situation after losing to the two best opponents (VTech and TU) on their rather average, non-conference schedule. The losses to Syracuse and West Virginia were expected, despite the valiant effort the Pirates put forth, but the non-conference losses have put the brakes on what looked to be a very promising start to the season.
The UConn Huskies (AP #13) also lost two of their non-conference contests, however, unlike the Pirates, they've played some of the best competition in the country including Duke and Kentucky on a neutral floor, Madison Square Garden. The Huskies also lost their first true road game of the season, their Big East opener at Cincinatti, but rebounded last Saturday in Hartford, defeating Notre Dame after the Irish hung around for 30 minutes. The Huskies will be the third team in the top 13 the Pirates have faced in the last 10 days, oh the joys of the Big East Conference.
The Huskies have absolutely dominated the historical series between the two teams, holding a commanding 40-18 advantage:
UConn has won the last nine games in this series, 16-of-17 and 23-of-25 against Seton Hall. Furthermore, Seton Hall is only 1-8 all-time at Gampel Pavilion with the lone win coming almost 18 years ago, Feb. 8, 1992. UConn was a ranked team in six of the last 10 meetings... four of which they were in the Top-10.
In a 82-70 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, the Huskies played like the physical team they were expected to be, which is probably bad news for the Pirates according to the CBS Sports Preview:
"On the defensive end, we stepped it up and really played together," Robinson said. "Our bench players played great." Junior center Charles Okwandu had 10 points and five rebounds, while fellow reserve Gavin Edwards scored 13 points for UConn. "I thought we needed something to happen good for us," coach Jim Calhoun said. "In this league, you don't get too low, which I don't think we did after Cincinnati. We didn't play particularly well against Cincinnati, but we came back with a chance to win the game."
Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant's UConn Basketball blog quotes Huskies head coach, Jim Calhoun, who views the Pirates as a desperate team, ready to present a scare:
"In this league it always seems that the team that needs to win -- Seton Hall is not going to go away - seems to be able to put forth a great effort. It doesn't mean they're going to win. We have something to say about that. But over the years it seems that when a team is desperate, a good team, with their back to the wall, they get a win. That's the scariest part. They're going to be very hungry. ... They're good. They're trying to find themselves right now. If they find themselves on Thursday, it would be great. Thursday's a good day for them to find themselves."
Note: I will be in attendance tonight and my twitter updates will not be as frequent. Please use this open game-thread to discuss the game.