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Seton Hall Basketball: Open Game Thread - Villanova Wildcats (19-6, 7-5) @ Seton Hall Pirates (11-14, 5-8) - 8PM (SNY)

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Villanova @ Seton Hall, 8PM EST
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Opening Line: Villanova -3.5 (SHU 11-12 ATS)
Television: SNY
Radio: WSOU 89.5 FM
Twitter: @SOrangeJuice @JPGuerette @JohnLopiano @The_Bracket_Man

Seton Hall Pirates, Big East, Record: 11-14 (5-8), KenPom: 60, RPI: 91, SOS: 13

Projected Starting Lineup: G Eniel Polynice, G Jeremy Hazell, G/F Fuquan Edwin, F Jeff Robinson, F Herb Pope

The Pirates are looking to build off of a hard fought victory at the RAC on Saturday night. Despite the removal of Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson, the remaining Pirates were able to band together and play true team basketball en route to victory. Good defense, great point guard play and clutch free throw shooting made the 'W' possible. What will we see tonight from an infamously inconsistent Seton Hall team against a Villanova Wildcat team that is on a two game losing streak?

What to Look for Tonight:

- It was important to note the play of Jordan Theodore and Eniel Polynice after their showing in Piscataway. Will this trend continue against a better (at least on paper) Villanova squad? We need to see more consistent play from the two guards. Sure one terrific game is great and everything, but its still one game. Theodore will have to show the leadership and seniority next season that he flaunted against Rutgers. He will be the senior - a mentor for two freshman point guards.

- The battle in the paint. Herb Pope will be matched up against Yarou and Pena in the paint. As always, it will be crucial for Pope to remain out of foul trouble. No stupid "over the backs". Pope stayed out of foul trouble against Rutgers and was therefore able to log 30 minutes. He didn't have the greatest statistical night, but his presence on the floor is still way better than anything else Seton Hall has to offer. How many times have we seen the Pirates collapse after Herb Pope fouls out?

- Defense, defense, defense. The Pirates are now ranked 11th in KenPom's Adjusted Defensive Efficiency rankings. To compare, the Pirates were ranked 122nd at the end of last season. With Corey Stokes injured, the Pirates need to key on Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns. The defense of Jordan Theodore, Jeremy Hazell and Eniel Polynice will be huge tonight.

Villanova Wildcats, Big East, Record: 19-6 (7-5), KenPom: 13, RPI: 21, SOS: 27

Projected Starting Lineup: G Corey Fisher, G Maalik Wayns, F Isaiah Armwood, F Antonio Pena, C Mouphtaou Yarou

As already hinted at, Corey Stokes will not be playing tonight due to his injured toe. This is obviously a significant blow to the 'Cats as Stokes averages 14.6PPG, good for second on the team.

Also hinted at, Villanova has lost two straight. Thanks to a miraculous comeback/implosion at the RAC, capped off by a questionable 4 point play, Rutgers upset the Wildcats last week. Surprisingly, Villanova followed up the thriller with another loss against Pittsburgh. Most thought that Pittsburgh would struggle to beat Villanova at the Pavillion without leading scorer Ashton Gibbs. The Panthers showed, yet again, that they are truly a team.

Seton Hall is truly a thin team. They play three guards and do not have productive (for big minutes) forwards off the bench. Villanova will excel if they can get the Pirate starters in any sort of foul trouble.

For more information on the Wildcats, check out JP's Scouting Report.

KenPom Prediction: Villanova 69, Seton Hall 66

Seton Hall Athletics:

Seton Hall snapped a brief two-game losing streak with a 69-64 victory at Rutgers on Saturday. Jeremy Hazell scored a team-high 19 points, and in doing so, became the fourth player in Seton Hall history and the 30th player in BIG EAST history to record 2,000 career points. Junior Jordan Theodore scored 18 points and dished out six assists with no turnovers. Hazell leads four players averaging in double-figures for the Pirates with 18.0 points per game.

Go Pirates!