Tuesday night, 7 p.m. CST
Bradley Center – Milwaukee
TV: Big East Network, ESPN Full Court
Going into their game Saturday, Seton Hall was riding a five-game winning streak and starting to slowly ascend the ranks of the Big East. Then UConn arrived, and the Huskies did what they have done so many times this season – overwhelmed an under-matched counterpart down the stretch. What proved noteworthy, however, was not Hasheem Thabeet's near triple-double, but the way the Pirates were able to hang with the country's number one team before eventually losing by eight.
The Hall has had a somewhat curious season thus far, especially in conference. The Pirates have played well against some of the Big East's toughest – beating Georgetown and losing a close one in overtime to Villanova – but have also been embarrassed – with 20-plus-point losses to both Syracuse and West Virginia. Some might attribute this fluctuation in performance to their relative youth – the Pirates have only one senior on the roster – or to the team's lack of depth – they sport a seven-man rotation.
None of the Pirate's deficiencies can be attributed to Jeremy Hazell, though. The sophomore guard is having a fantastic year, as he is second in the Big East in scoring while becoming Seton Hall's go-to guy. At 6'5", Hazell has a lanky frame that allows him to contribute both inside and outside from the wing position. He already has six 30-plus-point outings this season and is especially a threat from behind the arc.
Even though John Garcia is but the fourth highest scorer on the team, many believe he is Seton Hall's next most important player. Garcia is a big body who is not afraid to "bang" down low with some of the best. Against the Huskies, Garcia led the charge with a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds despite going up against the 7'3" Thabeet. Garcia is a perennial double-double candidate, and he can prove to be especially troubling to teams with rebounding issues when he's on his game.
The rest of Seton Hall's noteworthy contributors come in the form of guards and undersized forwards. This translates well for them as they are a team, much like Marquette, that likes to get up and down the floor and can score in bunches. Also helping in this cause for the Pirates is the fact that they average 8.3 steals per game, second most in the Big East.
Expect to see a relatively up-tempo, high-scoring game Tuesday night. The two teams match up very well as both are predominately guard-oriented, have thin benches, and boast league-leaders in scoring. The key for Marquette will be containing Hazell and not allowing Garcia to assert himself offensively. Look for Jimmy Butler's role to continue to grow this game as he will undoubtedly be asked to spell Lazar Hayward and Wes Matthews in the probable assignment of guarding those two players.
Probable Pirate Starters
G – Paul Gause (Sr., 5'11" 188 lbs.) --- (7.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G – Eugene Harvey (Jr., 6'0" 185 lbs.) --- (12.7 ppg, 4.8 apg)
G – Jeremy Hazell (Soph., 6'5" 185 lbs.) --- (22.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
F – Robert Mitchell (Jr., 6'6" 180 lbs.) --- (14.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
C – John Garcia (Jr., 6'9" 265 lbs.) --- (8.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
G – Jordan Theodore (Fr., 6'0" 170 lbs.) --- (5.8 ppg, 2.2 apg)
C – Mike Davis (Soph., 6'11" 255 lbs.) --- (3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Head Coach: Bobby Gonzalez (44-41 – 3rd Season, 173-118 – 9th overall)