Marquette Golden Eagles (15-11 overall, 6-7 Big East) vs. Seton Hall Pirates (11-15, 5-9 Big East).
Saturday February 19, 8 p.m. CST
Bradley Center- Milwaukee, WI
Marquette returns to action on Saturday night to host an inconsistent but dangerous Seton Hall club.
Marquette desperately needs a win to remain in contention for an NCAA Tournament spot. Running out of regular season games, Marquette cannot afford to drop any of their three remaining home games.
With four regular season games remaining, Seton Hall is playing for the opportunity to finish the regular season with a .500 record (15-15). The Pirates have been baffling analysts all season with their inconsistency, losing to (13-12, 4-9) Rutgers at home but then rebounding to crush then No. 10 Syracuse 90-68 at the Carrier Dome the following game. Which team will show up at the Bradley Center Saturday night is anyone's guess.
Jordan Theodore takes most of the minutes at point guard for Seton Hall, but has been coming off the bench the past two games after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. The 6'0" junior does a little bit of everything for the Pirates, averaging 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists-per-game this season.
Ole Miss transfer Eniel Polynice has been starting in Theodore's spot. Polynice posted seven points, four rebounds and five assists in a February 12th win over Rutgers. Despite a few other decent performances, his overall contribution to the team has been less than expected this season. After using a medical redshirt at Ole Miss, Polynice didn't have to sit out a year after transferring because Ole Miss didn't offer a graduate program in his field of study. The Florida native averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists-per-game last season for the Rebels, but is averaging only 3.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists-per-game for the Pirates this season.
The play of Polynice will be even more critical in the remaining games following the dismissals of guards Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson. The two senior guards were dismissed by head coach Kevin Willard shortly before the Rutgers game for "a violation of team rules and an ongoing pattern of conduct unbecoming of a representative of Seton Hall athletics."
Jeremy Hazell is the Pirates biggest scoring threat, averaging 18.5 points-per-game this season. Hazell can do some damage from beyond the arc depending on the night. The six-foot-five senior was 5-of-10 from three-point range in the 22-point rout of Syracuse, but missed a combined 13 three-point attempts in games against Providence and West Virginia. Marquette struggled to guard Hazell last season as he scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists when the two teams met in New Jersey last February.
Faquan Edwin has contributed consistently since stepping on campus in South Orange. The six-foot-six freshman from nearby Paterson, N.J. is more of a slasher from the small forward position, using his length and athleticism to get to the rim.
Senior forward Jeff Robinson nets over 12 points-per-game this year, mostly from inside the paint. Robinson is no slouch on the boards either, pulling down almost seven rebounds-a-game. He has the ability to stretch the court, but hasn't been consistent shooting the ball.
Rounding out Seton Hall's frontcourt is Herb Pope. He is a terrific rebounder, using his 6'8", 236-pound frame to be physical in the post. The junior grabs 8.6 rebounds-per-game, including three offensive rebounds every game. Marquette will have to work extremely hard all night to keep Pope and Robinson off the glass.
Defensively, Seton Hall has been much better lately. Over their last four games, the Pirates have allowed just over 60 points-per-game. They've been more active and focused on the defensive end during that stretch. Head coach Kevin Willard has also been going with different looks on defense. The Pirates have played man and several variations of zone to keep opponents out of rhythm.
Preview: Seton Hall
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