Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Big East, Record: 11-7 (2-4), KenPom: 94, RPI: 119, SOS: 106
Much like their coach, the Scarlet Knights are fierce fighters. Throw out the quitting quotes, Mike Rice will not allow his team to bow down to the more talented Pirates. Rutgers has accomplished a lot more than most Pirate fans thought they were capable of, so don't be surprised if they give the Pirates a run for their money today.
Most of Rutgers' scoring will come from the trio of Jonathan Mitchell, James Beatty and Gilvydas Biruta. Beatty is the Scarlet Knight's deep threat, while Mitchell and Biruta will get it done from within the arc. Mitchell and Beatty are both coming off 20 point games in Rutgers' 71-62 win over South Florida.
KenPom Prediction: Seton Hall 67, Rutgers 62
Seton Hall fell to its second straight ranked opponent with an 80-75 loss to #23 Georgetown on Tuesday. Last Saturday, the Pirates fell at #5 Pittsburgh. The Seton Hall frontcourt had another strong game with Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson combining for 37 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Jeremy Hazell was playing in only his third game since returning from a broken left wrist and tallied 15 points. Three players are averaging in double-figures in scoring for the Pirates.
Rutgers (11-7, 2-4) makes the 29-mile drive up the New Jersey Turnpike to meet BIGâ€ˆEASTâ€ˆrival Seton Hall (8-11, 2-5) on Saturday in a 12 noon tip-off at the 10,862-seat Prudential Center. The Scarlet Knights will be preparing to win their second straight conference game and earn their initial league road win of the season. The Pirates will be looking to snap a two-game skid compiled against nationally-ranked BIG EAST foes. The game features a pair of first-year head coaches in RU's Mike Rice and Seton Hall's Kevin Willard. With 41 hours between the 7 p.m. start of the USF game on Thursday night and the noon tip-off in Newark, the game signals the quickest turnaround of the season for the Scarlet Knights.
SERIES HISTORY: Dating back to 1916, Seton Hall leads 33-24 and has won the past four meetings, including last year's 76-70 decision at the Rock and 85-74 verdict at the RAC. Rutgers has beaten the Hall just three times on the road-61-59 in 1950, 70-64 in 2001 and 64-61 in 2008. Over the past 12 meetings dating back to 2005, Seton Hall holds a 7-5 edge. Three of those games have gone to overtime and six others have been decided by six or fewer points. This is the first end of a home-and-home, with the rematch slated for Feb. 12 in Piscataway.