Game preview: No.12 Seton Hall faces No.10 Villanova in a crucial Big East gameDate: February 8, 2020
By: Liam Plate
After a convincing road win over Georgetown, No.12 Seton Hall men’s basketball team (17-5 overall, 9-1 conference) heads to Philadelphia, to take on No.10 Villanova Wildcats (17-5 overall, 7-3 conference). Villanova won last season’s series with the Pirates 2-1 where the Wildcats won the first matchup
in Philadelphia, then the Pirates took down Villanova at home in the Prudential Center, and in the last one the Wildcats notched a 74-72 victory in the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall has not won in the City of Brotherly Love since 1994, but this season has been full of surprises for the Pirates and this is a different Seton Hall team.
After Seton Hall got their win streak snapped by Xavier in a game where Myles Powell only scored nine points, they came back strong with a 78-71 win over Georgetown where Powell came back strong dropping 34 points. While Powell’s 34 lead the way, Jared Rhoden chipped in 12 points along with nine boards and Quincy McKnight added eight points along with 10 assists.
The Pirates had a 10-point lead at halftime, but played at the same level as Georgetown in the second half, which allowed the Hoyas get back in the game and only lose by seven points. Even though Seton Hall is coming into this game above Villanova in the Big East standings, the Pirates will need to be able to play consistently well in both halves in order to take down the Wildcats at home.
On the other hand, Villanova is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Butler as Kamar Baldwin sunk a three at the buzzer to put the Bulldogs on top of the Wildcats 76-73. Sophomore Saddiq Bey and junior Collin Gillespie combined for 57 of Villanova’s 73 points on Wednesday.
Based off of that statistic, it will be crucial for the Pirates to shutdown Bey or Gillespie or at least limit both of them. Similar to Seton Hall, Villanova shoots very well from beyond the arc as they are shooting 35.4% on the season. The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the country at taking care of the basketball as they average only 10.8 turnovers per game. Villanova is a very fundamentally sound team and knows how to play the game the right way as they are led by two- time national champion head coach Jay Wright.
Some keys for Seton Hall for today’s matchup is that they will need to close out on Villanova’s shooters, turn defense into offense by forcing turnovers and scoring on the fastbreak, and they will need to limit Bey and Gillespie. McKnight will be the key to stopping Gillespie up top and it will be up to the big men down low such as Romaro Gill and Rhoden to stop Bey from dominating the Pirates underneath.
Seton Hall has struggled this season in putting together a full 40 minutes of basketball, but the Pirates will need to start out strong and keep their foot on the gas throughout the entire game because to break a 26-year losing streak in Philadelphia, they’re going to have to give it all they got and this team definitely has the stuff to do it.
89.5 FM WSOU will have all the coverage you need from game day with pre-game coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. with Jose Feliciano and Dalton Allison, then at 2:30 p.m. Bob Towey and Wilnir Louis will have the call live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Tune in to hear all of the action of what should be an exciting top-15 matchup.
Liam Plate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.