Seton Hall Won’t Give Up Against Top Seed Villanova
David vs Goliath?
No, it’s the eighth-seeded Seton Hall Pirates (16-16) against the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats (28-3). These two teams have met three times before in the Big East tournament and Villanova won two of those three meetings. Most recently, the Wildcats came away with a victory in the opening round of the 2004 tournament with a final score of 61-60.
In the more recent contests, Villanova won both regular season meetings, the first one coming on a 16-point win in Newark. The return meeting at the Pavilion was threatened by a campus-wide power outage, but the threat of cancellation made no difference as the Wildcats blew out the Pirates by 17.
Seton Hall is coming off of a nail-biting victory over the Butler Bulldogs in their opening round game of the Big East tournament, 51-50. Their big man, Eugene Teague, led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
For the Pirates to stand a chance in this game, their transfer from Texas, Sterling Gibbs will have to show up and play extremely well. Gibbs only played limited minutes in the Pirates opening contest against Butler; he recorded zero points in only 14 minutes of play.
Gibbs has to show that he is very dangerous off the bounce and utilize hesitation dribbles and a quick first step to get in the lane to create shots for his teammates. Villanova guards did a very good job of containing the Pirates floor general in their second meeting this season. Coach Wright will likely place an emphasis on staying in front of and switching on Gibbs again.
The one thing that Gibbs does when he drives the ball is open up the floor for shooters like Brian Oliver, Fuquan Edwin, and Jaren Sina. Oliver is a three-point specialist and is hitting on 40% of his threes this season; he scorched Villanova in their first meeting of the year with six made three pointers. It’ll be a main concern for the Wildcats to keep awareness of where Oliver is at all times. Another supporting player that will have to step up is Patrik Auda. He didn’t play well for the Pirates against Butler as he fouled out with only four points and two rebounds. The Pirates will need secondary options to help keep them in the game.
But that brings me to the primary option and that is Mr. Fuquan Edwin; he had 10 points, three boards, and two steals in the game with Butler. Along with Gibbs, he will have to elevate his game a couple notches to keep the Hall in the game. Edwin did not play in the first matchup against the ‘Cats and had only eight points against them on February 7th. He will have to prove he is worthy of all the praise he has been getting recently and try to lead his squad to victory.
As far as Nova, well what can you say?
They’re the third best team in the country for a reason. Their offense is great, they pressure the ball so well and have multiple guys who can beat you at any given moment.
James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard, Ryan Arcidiacono and Josh Hart were all named to various All-Big East teams, and the Wildcats offense and defense are ranked among the best in the country. Other than a couple of horrid performances against Creighton, it was a dream conference season for the Wildcats. They face their share of doubters who think that they are not a viable option as a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. So, expect Nova to come out angry and fast as they try to prove to the world that they belong with the elite teams in the country.
The Wildcats will look to keep their momentum going when they take on Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden at noon, but don’t think Seton Hall will just lay down. They’ll fight for as long as possible and try to take down the Goliath of the Big East.
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