The Pirates are looking to rebound after falling to in-state rival Rutgers on Saturday. Seton Hall was edged in nearly every facet of the game, despite being a better team on paper in nearly every aspect of the game. Perhaps the explanation for this phenomenon is that Mike Rice out coached Kevin Willard.
Kevin Willard did not straight up admit this, but he made a note of mentioning his poor job of coaching several times in the post-game presser.
What to Look For Tonight:
- Who will be that last starter? A sequel to the 'Edwin/Lawrence saga' - who will start? Neither played well against Rutgers, so this question remains unanswered. To complicate things, Jamel Jackson is now in the mix for minutes after his whole quitting the team stunt. Sources indicate that Jackson had a phenomenal practice since deciding to stay with the team, lets see if that translates into lighting up Syracuse's zone.
- Effort. According to Jordan Theodore, this team simply isn't bringing it. If the team doesn't "bring it" tonight, the result might resemble 2005 or 2008.
- Rebounding. Some how, some way, Seton Hall out rebounded Syracuse 43-30 in the first leg of this match-up. Accompany that with awful free throw shooting by Syracuse, and thats how the game was as close as it was. I don't expect Syracuse to get dominated on the boards again. Prove me wrong, Seton Hall.
The head scratching Fab Melo story line continues. The McDonalds All-American #1 center prospect has definitely not lived up to the hype. Recently, he broke through with 6 points, 4 boards and 4 blocks in 15 minutes against Cincinnati. Since then, he has tallied 2 points, 2 boards in 10 minutes against Pittsburgh and Villanova. The most surprising thing behind all this: Jim Boeheim continues to start the freshman. Don't believe me? Check the ESPN box scores. Its very strange to see someone start game after game but only play 5-10 minutes.
After an 18-0 start, Syracuse has dropped their last two games against Top 10 opponents Villanova and Pittsburgh. Combine that with the fact that Syracuse struggled mightily at the Prudential Center, and I think its safe to assume that the Orange will be more than ready for the Pirates.
Kris Joseph returned to the Syracuse starting lineup against Villanova after missing a game and change due to a scary head injury sustained against Cincinnati. Joseph didn't miss a beat, scoring 23 points on 15 shots against the Wildcats.
Seton Hall dropped its third straight game with a 66-60 loss to in-state rival Rutgers on Saturday. Despite the loss, the Pirates frontcourt had another strong game. Junior Herb Pope logged his fifth double-double of the year with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Jeff Robinson had 12 points and eight rebounds. Four players are averaging in double-figures in scoring for the Pirates, who are led by Jeremy Hazell's 19.1 points per game. Patrik Auda missed his fifth straight game with an injured foot.
No. 9/10 Syracuse looks to return to its winning ways when it hosts BIG EAST foe Seton Hall on Tuesday, January 25 in the Carrier Dome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Orange enters the contest with an overall record of 18-2 and a 5-2 mark in conference action. The Pirates are 8-12 overall, 2-6 in the BIG EAST.