South Florida @ Seton Hall, 7:00PM EST
Prudential Center - Newark, New Jersey
Opening Line: Seton Hall -8 (SHU 4-6ATS)
Television: SNY, ESPN3.com
Radio: WSOU 89.5 FM
Twitter @SOrangeJuice @JPGuerette @JohnLopiano @The_Bracket_Man
Seton Hall Pirates, Big East, Record: 6-6 (0-0), KenPom: 59, RPI: 149, SOS: 78
The Pirates gladly welcome the USF Bulls into Newark tonight for the BIG EAST opener after proving they couldn't compete with the A-10, going 1-4 against the conference during their non-conference slate. After blowing consecutive second half leads, the Pirates take a two game losing streak into tonight's contest; the last of five on their current homestand. Although the Pirates have virtually no chance of making the NCAA tournament after their miserable non-conference play, it's imperative they begin conference play with a victory at The Rock as the next four of five will be on the road. The one home game in that mix? A noon-tip with Syracuse.
Outside of their last two games, the glaring issue surrounding the Pirates has been their tendency to start slow. Against Dayton and Richmond, the Pirates played some of their best basketball of the year, for the first twenty minutes. After collapsing against Dayton and failing to close out Richmond, we're still waiting to see this squad play a complete 40-minutes to the best of their ability. Will tonight be the night it all comes together? Seton Hall better hope it does, they've got an NIT-resume to start piecing together.
South Florida Bulls, Big East, Record: 6-7 (0-0), KenPom: 121, RPI: 101, SOS: 27
There probably isn't a better BIG EAST opponent for the Pirates to open against as the Bulls have played as poorly, if not worse, than Seton Hall. Despite having a SOS in the top 30, the Bulls have a few head-scratching losses on their non-conference resume including UCF, FAU and Kent. Despite compiling seven losses, the Bulls stick around in games and they haven't lost all season by more than 8 points. To the same degree, in three of their six victories they've only outscored their opponent by 3 points or less. One thing is for sure, Las Vegas is being extremely generous giving the Bulls +8 points tonight. I see this one as a 3-4 point game, either way.
As always, Let's Go Pirates!