Seton Hall vs. Arkansas, 7:00PM EST
Freedom Hall - Louisville, Kentucky
Opening Line: Seton Hall -2.5 (SHU 3-3ATS)
Radio: WSOU 89.5 FM
Twitter @SOrangeJuice @JPGuerette @JohnLopiano @TheBracketMan
Seton Hall Pirates, Big East, KenPom: 50, Record: 3-3, RPI: 138, SOS: 106
Overview: The Pirates are looking to build upon their encouraging win against St. Peter's on November 29th. The team has had plenty of rest over the past week and change - they should come out of the gates with a ton of energy and a definite game plan.
The offense played much better against the Peacocks than their last two at the Paradise Jam. Although St. Peter's is a lesser opponent, they are a strong defensive team. Many of St. Peter's defensive categories are in the green on KenPom's site, clearly showing their ability to defend. Despite this, the Pirates put up a formidable 69 points.
The next step is translating their offensive success to the next level by executing against a major conference team such as Arkansas. Every Pirate fan should be skeptical that this translation will occur against an athletic SEC opponent.
Look for Jeff Robinson and Jordan Theodore to continue to lead the offense. The Pirates desperately need increased production out of Keon Lawrence and Herb Pope, although Lawrence had one of his better games against St. Peter's despite not filling up the points column.
Arkansas Razorbacks, SEC, KenPom: 85, Record: 5-1, RPI: 248, SOS: 335
Overview: As shown by Arkansas' RPI and SOS, they have not been tested. The Razorbacks lost to the only decent opponent they played, UAB, on a neutral court. Besides that, Arkansas has no wins of note, they beat Oklahoma at home, but Oklahoma lost to Chaminade, so there isn't much weight in that win.
Based on Arkansas' KenPom profile, they play real good defense. They block a lot of shots (5th in the nation) and steal the ball better than all but 11 teams in the country. One also has to take into account the quality of opponent that Arkansas has played - are these stats inflated?
KenPom Prediction: Seton Hall 73, Arkansas 68
...The Razorbacks are one of the basketball schools in the SEC. Ok, I exaggerate a bit- every school in the SEC except for Kentucky and Vanderbilt are football schools. But Arkansas is right up there in terms of tradition, with a great home court advantage. Luckily for the Pirates this is not a road game at Bud Walton Arena...
Seton Hall will head back on the road for another neutral site game on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The Pirates will face Arkansas as part of the 2010 DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational. This will be the first-ever meeting between Seton Hall and Arkansas. The Pirates are coming off a 69-49 victory over Saint Peter's on Nov. 29 which evened their record at 3-3. Senior Jeremy Hazell is out with a broken left wrist. Senior Jeff Robinson is averaging a team-best 12.8 points per game among actives.
...AT STAKE: This is a huge game for the Hall. To beat a respectable major-conference team on a neutral floor is always a good thing for the resume, especially when that W over Alabama looks weaker by the day. Plus it's their only non-conference tilt on national television...
As always, Go Pirates!