Tuesday, February 15, 2011
W2W4: Seton Hall vs. Villanova
By Kieran Darcy
Here are three things to watch in Tuesday night's game between Seton Hall (11-14, 5-8 in Big East) and No. 14 Villanova (19-6, 7-5) at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET, and the game will air locally on SNY.
MISSING IN ACTION: Villanova will be without second-leading scorer Corey Stokes (14.6 points per game), who is battling a turf toe injury. That's a big loss for the Wildcats. Stokes is the team's best 3-point shooter (41.5 percent), and being without him also means Villanova will dress just eight scholarship players for this game.
This puts more pressure on lead guards Corey Fisher (15.8 ppg) and Maalik Wayns (13.6 ppg) to produce, along with Dominic Cheek (6.2 ppg), who will likely see more minutes in Stokes' absence.
SPEAKING OF SHORTHANDED... Seton Hall will be playing with a very short bench the rest of the season, after backup guards Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson were tossed off the team on Saturday. The Pirates were able to weather the storm on Saturday night, picking up a big win on the road versus in-state rival Rutgers. But six Seton Hall players accounted for 181 of the team's 200 minutes played in that game.
Villanova is No. 46 in the country in scoring, averaging 74.7 points per game. Seton Hall might be wise to work the shot clock on offense, and try to slow down the pace some in this one. The Wildcats are 16-1 when scoring at least 70 points, and 3-5 when they have not reached 70.
MOMENTUM SWING: This is a big game for both teams, so check the teams' intensity early on. Villanova, coming off that stunning last-second loss at Rutgers last week, followed by a three-point loss at home to Pittsburgh, is trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 2008.
Seton Hall would like to build on that important win over Rutgers. The Pirates face just one more ranked team (at No. 7 Notre Dame) in their final four regular-season games -- they also face Marquette twice, and host St. John's. There's still a chance for Seton Hall to have a respectable record in the Big East.
The Pirates have lost eight straight to the Wildcats, by the way -- their last victory came on Feb. 21, 2004.