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Seton Hall Basketball: Open Game Thread - Seton Hall Pirates (11-16, 5-10) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (22-5, 11-4) - 7PM (ESPNU)

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Seton Hall @ Notre Dame, 7EST
Edmund P. Joyce Center, Notre Dame, Indiana
Opening Line: Notre Dame -9.5 (SHU 11-13 ATS)
Television: ESPNU
Radio: WSOU 89.5 FM
Twitter: @SOrangeJuice @JPGuerette @JohnLopiano @The_Bracket_Man

Seton Hall Pirates, Big East, Record: 11-16 (5-10), KenPom: 60, RPI: 99, SOS: 8

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

The Pirates have had a week to think about what they did, or failed to do, against Marquette last Saturday. Due to a poor rebounding and interior defense, Seton Hall was unable to compete with the Golden Eagles down the stretch. The Pirates were somehow able to keep the game close for a good 25 minutes, but the outcome was never really in doubt. This mini two game road trip won't get any easier tonight against #9 Notre Dame.

What to Look for Tonight:

- Improved defense. The defense wasn't awful in the first half against Marquette, but twelve offensive rebounds and numerous fast break buckets will grind any defense down. I doubt Coach Willard was happy with the effort, in fact, he was probably very disappointed. Hansbrough and Abromaitis need to be locked down tonight.

- Monster games from the forwards. Why would I predict such a thing when they played so poorly against Marquette? Because Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope should be embarrassed with how they played last Saturday. Herb Pope only played 15 minutes due to being in foul trouble from the git-go and Jeff Robinson scored 11 points on 11 shots. Ouch. With Patrik Auda and Aaron Geramipoor still learning on the job, the veterans need to step up.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Big East, Record: 22-5 (11-4), KenPom: 20, RPI: 10, SOS: 31

Projected Starting Lineup: G Scott Martin, G Ben Hansbrough, F Carleton Scott, F Tyrone Nash, F Tim Abromaitis

Notre Dame is one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 8 of their last 9 games in the Big East. Coach Mike Brey has the Irish playing great team basketball. Not many people, including myself, thought that Notre Dame would be able to reload like this after last season. Boy were we wrong. They are better, much better.

Notre Dame is a balanced team, but they rely heavily on their starters. Outside of those five, Mike Brey only goes 2 deep off the bench. Guard Eric Atkins will see a good 15-20 minutes and forward Jack Cooley will see 5-10 minutes, but thats it. Getting Notre Dame in foul trouble won't be easy, but it should be a focus.

For more on Notre Dame, check out JP's Scouting Report.

KenPom Prediction: Notre Dame 72, Seton Hall 63

Seton Hall Athletics:

The Pirates have dropped their last two games, falling most recently at Marquette, 73-64, on Saturday. Jeremy Hazell scored 23 points and hit four three-pointers, making him the BIG EAST's all-time three-point leader. Earlier this season, Hazell became the fourth player in Seton Hall history to record 2,000 career points. The 6-foot-5 senior leads four players averaging in double-figures for the Pirates with 18.5 points per game and needs just two made three-pointers to become the BIG EAST's all-time leader.

Go Pirates!