Seton Hall @ Marquette Breakdown
The Pirates of Seton Hall visit the Bradley Center to face the Golden Eagles in what will be the 6th meeting between the 2 teams since Marquette moved to the Big East. Marquette is 5-0 and will be favored tonight to move that mark up a game in the win column.
Seton Hall (14-10,5-7) will try to get back to their winning ways as they won 5 in a row before a 62-54 defeat from UConn on Saturday. Despite the loss, you can bet Seton Hall will be coming in feeling confident that they can play with anyone in the country, especially when the Big East’s second leading scorer, Jeremy Hazell, is on the mark. Hazell averages just under 23 points per game with 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
For Marquette (21-4,9-2), tonight’s game will mark the last contest before their brutal 5 game stretch to end the year, and head coach Buzz Williams’ squad would like to go in with some momentum. They regained some of it on Saturday, beating St. John’s 73-59 at home after a 2 game losing streak, with both losses coming on the road to South Florida and Villanova, respectively. In the win over the Red Storm, Jerel McNeal contributed 20 points, giving him 20 or more in the last 9 games and Lazar Hayward added 17. The Golden Eagles forced 24 turnovers in the game and looked more like the team that started 9-0 but still need to build on that if they want to compete the next couple of weeks.
Let’s break this one down tonight. The first thing I will say is look out for Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews tonight. Seton Hall ranks dead last in rebound defense (meaning they give up the most) and are 15th in pulling boards in themselves. Something Marquette has struggled with all year due to the size they give up shouldn’t affect them as much tonight. Seton Hall takes the same approach as Marquette, opting to go with a 3 guard-2 forward lineup, with the Pirates’ forwards standing 6’6″ and 6’9″. I look for Jerel McNeal to shut down Hazell tonight, forcing him to take jumpshots and not get beat off the dribble. Seton Hall will look for John Garcia and Robert Mitchell on the offensive end, but I am confident Marquette’s speed will be to much for the big fella. Don’t be fooled by Garcia’s 22 and 13 performance vs. Connecticut. He got worked on defense and it was just the second time he had scored in double figures during Big East play. Marquette will need to take care of the ball on offense as Seton Hall ranks second in the Big East with 8 steals per game.
Keys to the Game
1. Get Lazar Hayward going, whether that be on the glass or getting to the perimeter for jump shots. Mitchell and Garcia are above average defenders, but Marquette can outrun this team and Hayward will be key all night. He is usually giving up size to power forwards, but tonight he isn’t. I will look for him on the boards all night long.
2. Jerel McNeal shutting down Jeremy Hazell will be key. Hazell is an outstanding player and will get his 20 points, but it will be important for Jerel to make sure he doesn’t control the game. Staying up-tempo on offense will do the trick.
3. Win the boards. Marquette gives teams too many second chance points and Seton Hall has struggled all year getting offensive rebounds. Something has to give and I look for Lazar Hayward to make sure it goes Marquette’s way.
Marquette 84, Seton Hall 71