Providence @ Seton Hall, 2PM EST
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Opening Line: Seton Hall -4.5 (SHU 8-11 ATS)
Radio:WSOU 89.5 FM
Seton Hall Pirates, Big East, Record: 9-12 (3-6), KenPom: 68, RPI: 93, SOS: 12
Who was that team on Tuesday? A team that dominated a Top 10 opponent in their building, the Carrier Dome no less. A team that looked like they were ranked and their opponent a team with a 2-6 Big East record. Whoever that team was, I want them back.
If Tuesday night was a preview of what Willard has in store for Seton Hall fans, I like what I see. If Tuesday night was just a part of Syracuse's stretch of four straight losses, then I ask the team to prove it wasn't a fluke. There's no better way to do that than against one of the hottest teams in the Big East: the Providence Friars. They aren't hot in terms of a winning streak, but after starting 0-6 in the Big East, the Friars have beat ranked Louisville and Villanova in consecutive games.
I'm sure that Friar fans are asking a question similar to what many Setonians may be thinking: Are we the 2-0 vs ranked opponent team, or are we the 0-6 start to the Big East team?
What to look for today:
1) Willard's sideline behavior. Willard was very animated on the sideline against Syracuse, perhaps a sign of hunger. No, Willard didn't want a sandwich - he was dying to do something that very few Seton Hall teams have done: win at the Carrier Dome. Well he got his proverbial sandwich, in memorable fashion.
2) The play of Jordan Theodore. Theodore played one of, if not his best, game of his three season Seton Hall career on Tuesday. The turnovers were still there (5 of them), but the 19 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and the play of a true point guard vastly outweighed the mistakes. It hasn't been like that for most of the season. Build on that, Jordan.
3) Jeremy "I'm Back" Hazell. Hazell removed the cast under his wrist protector against Syracuse and look what he did. Was it really limiting his ability that much, or did he just have one of those Hazellian games?
Providence Friars, Big East, Record: 13-8 (2-6), KenPom: 73, RPI: 90, SOS: 52
As mentioned, the Friars are hot. They have been compared to last year's Seton Hall team - if they just played a little defense, they could be Dancing. A few Keno Davis in-game tweaks later and the Friars have held Louisville to 67 points and Villanova to 68, en route to two consecutive victories over ranked opponents.
Both fan bases are probably a little annoyed that they are facing an opponent that seems to be on the top of their game. Why couldn't Seton Hall play Providence in between their loss to Rutgers and blowout in Morgantown?
No matter the outcome, one team will stay hot and improve their chances at an NIT bid. The other will be left questioning if their recent outcomes were just dreams.
For more on Providence, see JP's Scouting Report.
KenPom Prediction: Seton Hall 77, Providence 72
Seton Hall is coming off a convincing 90-68 upset at #9 Syracuse on Tuesday. The Pirates never trailed in the game and all five starters scored in double-figures. Jeremy Hazell tallied team-highs of 28 points and nine rebounds in the victory. The win snapped a three-game losing streak. Four players are averaging in double-figures in scoring for the Pirates, who are led by Hazell's 20.3 points per game. Patrik Auda missed his sixth straight game with an injured foot.
PC scored its second-consecutive win beating No. 8/7 Villanova, 83-68, on Wednesday, January 26, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The Friars improve to 13-8, 2-6 in BIG EAST action, while the Wildcats fall to 17-3, 5-2 in league play. Providence put together one of its best team performances of the season, as six players scored at least eight points