Quentin Goodin FR (6-4, 194) vs Madison Jones SR (6-2, 160)
Jones is a small distributor with a high turnover rate. He's averaging 5.6 points (40.6% FG, 31.6% 3PT) and 3.5 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. He played really well in Seton Hall's 72-70 loss to Xavier on Feb. 1, finishing with eight points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3PT), nine assists, five rebounds, five steals and one turnover in 36 minutes. That was the first game after Edmond Sumner had torn his ACL for XU. Goodin scored eight points (2-11 FG, 0-2 3PT), dished out seven assists, blocked two shots, and committed three turnovers in 35 minutes. He's averaging 4.1 points (31.6% FG, 28.6% 3PT), 2.9 assists, and 1.5 turnovers in 19.4 minutes per game. The Musketeers need him to settle in offensively and start making some shots. He's done a great job of making plays for others and taking care of the ball for the most part, but he's 4-for-28 (14.3%) from the field over the last three losses, including an 0-for-7 performance with no points on Saturday.
Slight Edge Seton Hall
JP Macura JR (6-5, 203) vs Khadeen Carrington JR (6-4, 195)
Carrington has taken his game to another level this year. He's the Pirates' leading scorer at 17.8 points per game (44.3% FG, 38.3% 3PT) to go with 3.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 32.9 minutes. He's tough to handle off the bounce, he shoots well off the dribble, and he's been hot recently. He was ice cold in the Pirates' loss at the Cintas Center, finishing 3-of-13 from the field and 0-for-8 from deep with six points, two assists, and two rebounds in 21 minutes. Don't expect that same type of performance this time around. Macura has been asked to pick up his production without any other aggressive scorers surrounding him to take the pressure off over the last two games. Against Providence he had too many turnovers and against Marquette he couldn't finish any shots. In both games, he shot poorly from the perimeter (2-for-13). He's averaging 14.2 points (41.3% FG, 32.4% 3PT), 4.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 32.9 minutes per game. He was 0-for-3 from deep in the first game against Seton Hall but still managed 10 points, seven boards, two assists, and two turnovers in 33 minutes. If he's going to get hot at some point this season, it's either now or never.
Slight Edge Seton Hall
Malcolm Bernard SR (6-6, 202) vs Desi Rodriguez JR (6-6, 215)
Rodriguez is a big, athletic wing that is an excellent spot-up shooter and a strong all-around bucket-getter. Over the last three games, he's 6-for-11 (54.5%) from 3-point range. He's averaging 15.2 points (43.8% FG, 38.3% 3PT) and 5.1 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game. In the game at Cintas Center, he posted 16 points (6-15 FG, 2-7 3PT), three rebounds, three assists, and one turnover in 37 minutes. Bernard failed to score, took just two 3-pointers, and committed four turnovers in 19 minutes against Marquette on Saturday. The Musketeers need more from him on offense, especially when Trevon Bluiett is out. He's averaging 5.7 points (38.5% FG, 37.7% 3PT) and 3.6 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game. In the last game against Seton Hall, he was 0-for-1 from the field with two rebounds and an assist in 23 minutes.
Moderate Edge Seton Hall
Trevon Bluiett JR (6-6, 198) vs Ismael Sanogo JR (6-8, 215)
Sanogo is an athletic rebounder, defender, and screener. His only points come in dump-off situations or on an occasional putback. He's averaging 3.3 points (43.1% FG) and 6.1 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game. He didn't score in the Pirates' loss to the Musketeers at the Cintas Center. Bluiett missed the last two games with a sprained ankle which he originally suffered against Seton Hall and later re-injured against Villanova. He practiced on Tuesday and rumblings indicate that he's more likely to play than not heading into this one, though nothing is set in stone yet. If he's back and close to full strength, it's a huge boost for Xavier. He scored 24 points (8-14 FG, 3-6 3PT)) in the first game against Seton Hall and hit 24-of-41 (58.5%) from 3-point range in the last six games leading up to his injury. He's averaging 17.9 points (44.2% FG, 37.7% 3PT), 5.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 33.8 minutes per game on the year.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Tyrique Jones FR (6-7, 237) vs Angel Delgado JR (6-10, 240)
Delgado is the best big man in the conference. He scores well with multiple moves in the post, dominates on the glass, and his teammates find him in pick-and-rolls and other cuts to the rim. He's averaging 15.3 points (53.5% FG) and 13.2 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game. He has the highest defensive rebounding percentage in conference play and the second highest offensive rebounding percentage. He had 13 points (5-11 FG) and 13 boards in 36 minutes at the Cintas Center earlier this month. Jones played really well in his 23 minutes against Marquette on Saturday. He had 13 points (6-8 FG) and four rebounds in the loss. He's averaging 3.9 points (55% FG) and 3.5 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game. He only played five minutes in the first meeting between these teams. He missed both of his shot attempts and finished with two rebounds.
Moderate Edge Seton Hall
Xavier Bench vs Seton Hall Bench
Freshman Myles Powell (6-2, 195) is a stocky guard that is known for his 3-point shooting, but he's struggled with his shot most of the year. He's averaging 10.7 points (38.7% FG, 32.7% 3PT) and 2.3 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game. He didn't struggle with his shot at all in the first game against Xavier as he hit 6-of-12 from deep and 4-of-4 from inside the arc to finish with 26 points. Michael Nzei is an athletic forward that plays low on the baseline and makes himself available for dump-off opportunities as a finisher. He's averaging 4.6 points (68.8% FG) and 4.0 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game. For Xavier, Kaiser Gates and Sean O'Mara made major contributions off the bench in the first game between these teams. Gates scored 13 points (4-5 FG, 3-4 3PT) and grabbed eight boards in 31 minutes, while O'Mara posted 11 points (5-7 FG) and five boards in 14 minutes. Gates is averaging 5.9 points (37.5% FG, 33.8% 3PT) and 4.6 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game. O'Mara is averaging 5.4 points (58.4% FG) and 2.9 rebounds in 12.3 minutes. RaShid Gaston had six points (3-8 FG) and seven boards in 23 minutes in the first game against the Pirates. He's been on an impressive four-game tear in which he's averaged 17.0 points and 9.8 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game, including Saturday's 12-point, 10-rebound performance in 22 minutes before being ejected against Marquette. If Bluiett doesn't play, expect Gaston to get the start alongside Jones again like he did on Saturday.
Slight Edge Xavier
Seton Hall is currently sitting at 59th overall in the country according to KenPom.com, with the 92nd most efficient offense and the 48th most efficient defense. Xavier ranks 36th overall, 36th in offensive efficiency and 66th in defensive efficiency. The Pirates are poor shooters from the perimeter and the free-throw line. They also turn the ball over too much. Their strength is getting into the lane and playing physical. If they miss the first shot on offense, they rebound 35.5 percent of their misses (23rd in the country). Defensively, they're not great but they're physically tough. The Pirates' inability to force turnovers and their struggles shooting from the outside are two reasons for optimism as a Xavier fan. The Musketeers have fared well against teams that allow them to pack it in defensively, and obviously, turnovers have been an issue at times. Assuming Bluiett plays, this game is a lot more interesting but Seton Hall still gets a slight edge in a game that the Pirates need for their tournament resume and in a building that's been unkind to the Musketeers.
Predicted Score: Seton Hall 70 Xavier 65