Friday, February 4, 2011
W2W4: Seton Hall vs. Connecticut
By Kieran Darcy
Here are three things to watch in Saturday night's game between Seton Hall (10-13, 4-7 in Big East) and No. 7 UConn (17-4, 5-4) at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and ESPNNewYork.com will be there. The game will air on ESPNU, and ESPN3.com.
HIGHLY MOTIVATED: This is a big game for both teams. Seton Hall looked to have some momentum building, after back-to-back wins at Syracuse and against Providence -- but then they were beaten badly at West Virginia on Wednesday, 56-44. UConn is coming off back-to-back home losses to Louisville and Syracuse, and will desperately want to avoid a three-game losing streak. Intensity should be at a premium.
"This is a chance for us to win a big game at home," said Seton Hall associate head coach Shaheen Holloway, who filled in for Kevin Willard on the Big East teleconference on Thursday. "We really need to come out and play well and try to win this game on Saturday."
CONTAINING KEMBA: UConn's Kemba Walker is fifth in Division I in scoring, at 23.4 points per game. But, after scoring at least 20 points in 14 of his team's first 17 games, the 6-foot-1 junior from the Bronx has done it just once in the past four games. He had a season-low eight points against Syracuse on Wednesday, shooting just 3-for-14 from the field.
"He's playing 36 minutes a game, getting a lot of attention and getting banged around an awful lot. He's got bumps and bruises all over the place," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said on Thursday. "We just have to fight it and get better shots for him and he's got to take better shots himself."
"A guy like Kemba, you can only hope to contain him. You aren't going to shut him down," said Holloway. "Last year I think people played off him because I think his shot wasn't as consistent. Now he's making that jump shot, so if you push up he can go by you. It's really tough."
BY THE NUMBERS: UConn is No. 15 in all of Division I in field-goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to just 38.9 percent from the field. Seton Hall is one of the worst shooting teams in the country percentage-wise, ranked No. 284. So the Pirates could really use a big performance from leading scorer Jeremy Hazell (17.7 ppg), who scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting against West Virginia on Wednesday.
Also, UConn is No. 5 nationally in rebounds per game (41.6), and No. 30 in rebounding margin (+5.8 per game), meaning Herb Pope and the rest of Pirates better attack the glass with abandon.