#2 AP, Villanova is in Newark to take on Seton Hall Saturday afternoon at 12:30 (TV: FOX, Radio: 610 (WTEL AM) or VUSports Live Chat). Villanova (25-2, 12-2 Big East) can clinch an unprecedented, fourth consecutive Big East regular season championship with a win.
Kenpom predicts a 71-64 win for Villanova with a 73% chance of ‘Nova winning the game. Please note these predictions are based on the Wildcats performance and stats to-date and don’t account for the likely absence of key rebounder, Darryl Reynolds.
‘Nova leads the all-time series with the Pirates, 69-40. Interestingly, Seton Hall is the only team to beat Villanova’s Senior Class in each of their Freshman, Soph, and Junior seasons. The Pirates have gone 2-1, 1-1, 2-1 and 0-1 (to date) over the last four seasons against 'Nova. The Villanova Seniors (122-15 overall against all opponents) are 5-3 against the Pirates (20% of the ‘Nova Senior losses are to SHU).
Seton Hall comes in with an overall mark of 16-9 and a Big East conference record of 6-7. The Pirates grabbed key out-of-conference wins over Iowa, California, and South Carolina earlier in the season. In the league, SHU has gone 4-3 in seven games since losing to Villanova, 76-46, at the Pavilion on January 16th.
Keys for Villanova in this game will be 1) trying to keep the rebounding battle even, 2) gaining a significant scoring advantage at the FT line, 3) turnover margin, 4) Villanova’s two-point FG defense, and 5) getting out to a good start and trying to gain a good working lead - to try to keep the Pirate fans out of the game as much as possible.
In the first meeting, the Wildcats won the battle of the boards, 39-33, in large part due to seven offensive rebounds from Reynolds and seven defensive rebounds from Mikal Bridges. Without Reynolds, the Cats will have to gang-rebound the basketball. One other part of the first meeting that the Cats dominated was three-point shooting. Villanova had a +15 advantage from beyond the arc with 12 made threes (46.2% shooting) while Seton Hall shot 25% from deep. Additionally, ‘Nova held Seton Hall to only 33.3% shooting from two-point range.
The Hall got massive performances from Khadeen Carrington (41 points, 7 assists, 4 steals) and Angel Delgado (17 points, 17 rebounds) in a home win earlier this week over Creighton. How the two Pirate stars follow-up those spectacular efforts will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
Taking a look at the Four Factors for each team:
a few things stand out:
• Seton Hall is turnover prone - however, the Cats are not great at turning teams over
• The Hall can really get on the offensive glass - it is vital for ‘Nova to prevent the Pirates from getting a ton of second-chance points
• The Pirates send their opponents to the FT line a bunch - this is an opportunity for VU to capitalize on the strength of their FT shooting
other stats of interest:
• Seton Hall can struggle at times down the stretch because the primary three Pirate scorers are not lights-out free-throw shooters (as a team 62.7% FT)
• The Pirates prefer the two-point shot to the three-ball and Villanova has not defended the two-point shot as well as the three this season
Seton Hall player thumbnails:
Khadeen Carrington (6-4, 195, Jr., 32.9 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.3 TPG, 38.4% 3PFG, 44.3% FG, 68.5% FT, 109.1 ORtg) Carrington can score the ball in bunches both in half-court and in transition. He is very skilled off the dribble and can shoot the deep ball as well. He is the toughest perimeter match-up for the Cats in this game. He has been shooting his free-throws better over the last month.
Angel Delgado (6-10, 240, Jr., 32.6 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.7 TPG, 53.3% FG, 54.0% FT, 105.7 ORtg) One of the elite rebounders in the country. Delgado eats up space in the paint and has the hands to vacuum up rebounds at will. An uncanny offensive rebounder. He does his scoring in the paint. Limiting Delgado will be the toughest match-up for Villanova - Eric Paschall will need to match his physicality without getting on foul trouble - if he does, Dylan Painter will be asked to try his hand at keeping Delgado off the boards. Delgado has trouble at the free-throw line and at times can let his emotions get the best of him.
Desi Rodriquez (6-6, 215, Jr., 30.9 MPG, 15.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 TPG, 38.2% 3PFG, 43.8% FG, 65.3% FT, 103.0 ORtg) Versatile, athletic, rugged. Rodriquez is picking up where he left off last season in terms of shooting and scoring efficiency. He has improved as a passer and ball-handler. He can have problems at the free-throw line and wth turnovers but his effort is always top notch.
Madison Jones (6-2, 160, Sr., 28.5 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 TPG, 1.6 SPG, 30.6% 3PFG, 39.3% FG, 69.2% FT, 94.5 ORtg) The Senior, Wake Forest transfer has done a been logging a good share of minutes for the Hall. Hasn’t been shooting the ball well in league play. Mistake-prone.
Ismael Sanogo (6-8, 215, Jr., 24.3 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 42.9% FG, 48.4% FT, 86.2 ORtg) A very good, defender, rebounder and shot-blocker. Sanogo has limited offensive skills. Expect Villanova to cheat off him to provide dribble-penetration help on players like Carrington, Rodriquez, and Powell. Turns it over with frequency.
Myles Powell (6-2, 205, Fr., 22.8 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 34% 3PFG, 39.2% FG, 83.0% FT, 111.8 ORtg) The Frosh from Trenton is not afraid to let shots fly - even in crunch time of big games. He has a lot of confidence in his shooting and scoring ability. Powell can get hot from deep and also is a good dribble-drive threat. He is still developing as a distributor off the bounce - so he should always be guarded as if he is looking to score it. Not much of a threat to shoot it from mid-range - he will shoot from straight-away, mid-range but otherwise it is “a three or get to the rim” for Powell.
Michael Nzei (6-8, 205, So., 18.0 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 67.7% FG, 58.5% FT, 116.8 ORtg) Nzei is a very good offensive rebounder and can also block shots. He finishes better around the cup and has a more efficient offensive game than Sanogo. He focuses on taking high quality shots and otherwise deferring to the Pirates scorers.
For VUSports subscribers, here are shot charts for all of the Seton Hall top rotation players and additional game notes, Seton Hall breakdown and Stats courtesy of ONIN2TO
Injuries: Phil Booth, Darryl Reynolds and Tim Delaney are all expected to miss the game for Villanova. Reynolds is a game-time decision but doubtful.