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Seton Hall Pirates (17-11, 8-9) @ Providence Friars (12-17, 4-13) 7:00PM Open Game Thread

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Seton Hall @ Providence, 7:00PM
Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI
Television: ESPN360
Radio: 770 WABC 

Online: Seton Hall v. Friars Coverage, Twitter @GonzoBall @thecycle

Projected Starting Five: G-Harvey, G-Theodore, G-Hazell, F-Robinson, F/C-Pope

With a victory today, Seton Hall will finish with a .500 conference record for the first time since they were (9-7) in 2005-2006.  Is it progress? Certainly.  Will it be enough for a fan base that has become increasingly frustrated in recent years? Probably not.  However, the season won't end today if the Pirates can pull off back-to-back senior day road victories.  

If they can pull to .500, they'll bring a respectable record, but more importantly, a bit of momentum into BET play.  Once there, reel off another two victories in the tournament against a bottom feeder and a team that they're evenly matched with (in round two), and this team might begin to polish their slippers.  Obviously, I'm getting ahead of myself as the Pirates need to solely focus on one game at a time.  If they don't bring their best effort into Providence tonight, the Friars (who are playing for the 14th seed in the BET -- aka pride), may pull off their first victory in their last ten attempts.  Beat Providence.  

SHU Athletics preview:

This will be the 96th meeting all-time between the teams, second-most among all Seton Hall opponents (Villanova, 99). The Friars have a slim 45-40 edge in the series. Seton Hall has won three of their last four games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Last season, Providence beat the Pirates, 98-93, in overtime.

Providence game notes

FRIARS TO HONOR SENIORS IN PREGAME CEREMONY...Prior to the home finale against Seton Hall on Saturday, the Friars will honor the team's four seniors for their contributions to the Providence College men's basketball program. The seniors are Luke Burchett (Western Springs, Ill.), Sharaud Curry (Gainesville, Ga.), Ray Hall (Denver, Colo.) and Brian McKenzie (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

The News Tribune: 

Both of these teams have some big men who can bang around in the low post. But in the backcourt, the Friars don't have anybody who can match Hazell's scoring output.

Accuscore has the Friars as the favorites in tonight's action: 

The Providence Friars are slight 56.3 percent favorites over the Seton Hall Pirates. The Pirates are shooting 44.8 percent from the field and the Friars are forecasted to shoot 41.5 percent. The rebounding battle is pretty even with the Pirates projected for 40.8 rebounds vs. 40.5 for the Friars. The Friars are committing fewer turnovers at 11.6 vs 14.2 for the Pirates.

Providence Journal preview:

The Pirates come to town as one of the Big East's shakiest bubble teams, but they remain hopeful of winning enough games down the stretch to make the NCAA Tournament. After a 1-4 start in Big East play, the Pirates have rallied against the softer stretch of the schedule.

Friars are determined to show they still have fight, writes Kevin McNamara

A combination of a murderous schedule, an all-too-frequent horrid defense and a dose of bad luck has this team backed up against the wall. But, to everyone's credit, there is little panic or self-pity dressing alongside the players in the locker room. In fact, long stretches of strong basketball and several close losses - highlighted by Thursday night's heartbreaking 73-71 defeat at No. 17 Pittsburgh - are keeping the Friars hungry.

As always, Let's Go Hall!