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Merry Christmas, Looking Forward to West Virginia

Gonzo Ball would like to wish a Merry Christmas to the entire Seton Hall Community as we prepare for a holiday treat of West Virginia and Seton Hall, Saturday afternoon. 

Seton Hall Athletics previews the CBS nationally televised contest between the Pirates and the WVU Mountaineers taking place at the Prudential Center, Saturday at 3:30PM:
Seton Hall and West Virginia will hook up for the 25th time in the history of the match-up. The Mountaineers have a slim 13-11 all-time series lead, but have dominated in recent years. West Virginia has won four straight and six of the last eight meetings. Last season, WVU hammered Seton Hall, 92-66, at Prudential Center.
Jon Rothstein of MSG.com weighs in with his five keys to the game that the Pirates must follow in hopes of upsetting West Virginia. Follow the link for his analysis of the five points below:
1. Protect the Glass
2. Accelerate the Tempo
3. Attack the First Pass of the Press
4. Spread the Floor on Offense
5. Mr. Pope, This Is Your Sanctuary
The remaining 19 games of the season, will either be the Pirates salvation -- or damnation, writes a Christmas spirited, John Rowe:
Because of their cream-puff, non-Big East schedule, the Pirates need to win at least 10 conference games if they are to make the NCAA tournament. Plus a victory or two in the Big East tournament wouldn't hurt.

The odds are against the Hall pulling it off. But the odds aren't as great as in coach Bobby Gonzalez's first three seasons in South Orange.
Last night in Morgantown, the Mountaineers defeated 15th ranked Mississippi, 76-66:
Facing a ranked opponent for the first time this season, West Virginia (9-0) shot 60 percent (18 of 30) from the field after halftime and frustrated one of the nation's top offenses. Mississippi (10-2) was held to its lowest point total of the season and saw its six-game winning streak snapped.
Dana O'Neil looks at the current state of the Big East Conference, handing out superlatives such as favorite, surprising, disappointing, mystery, top performance, etc.  Seton Hall came away winners in two categories while appearing in four:
Top performance: Jamel Jackson, Seton Hall
Really, this could go to all of the Pirates after their win against VMI with a cartoonish score, 134-107, but in a statistically eye-popping game, Johnson caused the most gasps. Jackson came off the bench for 40 points. He took 17 field goals, 15 of them from beyond the arc. More amazing, he made 12 of his 3-point attempts.
Jackson, Johnson, Jackson, yeah, all the same. 
What you might not have realized: Seton Hall is off to its best start since 1988-89, the year the Pirates went to the national championship game. Meantime, St. John's is receiving votes in the Top 25 rankings for the first time since 2006.
Reason to worry: Will the Big East eat up its own? The brutality of the conference could do damage to teams fighting for bids and respectability -- teams such as Seton Hall, Cincinnati and St. John's -- if any of them finish with subpar conference marks.

Who's going dancing: Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Georgetown and Connecticut are in. Bank on Notre Dame, too. Hard to imagine Louisville not in but right now they are decidedly not. Cincinnati, St. John's and Seton Hall probably aren't in yet but could play their way in with very strong conference performances. Ditto Pittsburgh and Marquette.
Seton Hall bound Fuquan Edwin led his Paterson Catholic Cougars to the City of Palms Championship last night in Fort Myers, Florida reports Keith Idec:
The Cougars defeated a nationally ranked team for a second straight night to win the 37th annual City of Palms Classic, which included six teams in USA Today's Super 25 national poll.

Senior forward Fuquan Edwin scored five of his team-high 17 points during an 11-1 run that pushed Paterson Catholic (4-0) to a 62-54 victory over Winter Park (Fla.) High School (9-3) in the City of Palms championship game at Bishop Verot High School. The game was televised live by ESPNU.