Coming off a shocking 15-2 start to the season, the Pirates have lost their last 3 games and look to stop the bleeding as they host the 25th ranked team in the nation. The game is close to a pick 'em at your sportsbook
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
This game is a toss up as NCAA basketball odds have Seton Hall as a 2 point favorite and the total is listed at 129.
Both teams schedules' don't get any easier as Seton Hall faces two top 25 Big East teams after Louisville and the Cardinals face Connecticut, West Virginia, and Syracuse in the beginning of February. This game would look nice on someone's resume when the NCAA tournament rolls around. Although underdogs, Louisville has the advantage as the Pirates have completely lost momentum.
Playing down to the competition
This isn't the .500 Seton Hall team of the past, at one point this team was a top level Big East team art 15-2 but things have changed. The Pirates have lost to inferior opponents such as South Florida, Villanova, and Notre Dame. The one that hurts the most is the loss to Villanova as the Wildcats don't nearly resemble the team that they used to be, lacking experience and carrrying a 10-11 record. Seton Hall also showed a major futility of offense in their most recent game, a 55-42 home loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The NCAA Tournament is just over a month away and this club needs to get back on track as the schedule will grow gradually more difficult.
Losing the touch
Forward Herb Pope is the leader of this team averaging 16.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Pope has been stuggling lately. In his last 9 games he's averaged 9.7 points and 8.9 points per game. In his last game, Pope fouled out with just 5 points and 7 rebounds on just 2 of 16 shooting from the field. As the competition got stiffer, Pope's production has plummeted. He'll need to prove that he's a legitimate star by playing the Louisville's of the NCAA and playing well. The opportunity is there for him on Saturday night as the Pirates try to stop their losing streak.
The name Jordan is associated with winning and spectacular play. For the most part, guard Jordan Theodore has given the Pirates major Jordan-like production. Theodore is a very active player, averaging 16 points, 7.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. He's a poor shooter, shooting under 40% this season but has played a key role in the Pirates success all season.
Just like Pope, Theodore has struggled during the losing streak. In these 3 games, he's averaged 13.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game. Theodore has turned the ball over too much and has shot just 11 of 41 from the field. In order for Seton Hall to have a chance to win this game, Jordan Theodore needs to play efficiently and get other players involved. Can he do it? That remains to be seen.
After missing 2 games with a high ankle sprain, Louisville's leading scorer, senior guard Kyle Kuric has found the touch and looked sharp. In his 2 games back, Louisville has been victorious in both and Kuric has shot 8 of 18 from 3 point range and averaged 17.5 points. This is above his seasonal scoring average of 13.5 points per game. Look for Kuric to sustain the momentum by providing offense and rebounding against a slumping Pirates squad.
The Cardinals are an active basketball team as they average 39 rebounds per game (25th in the nation) and just 37.3% from the field (7th). This will prevent a problem for key players on Seton Hall who have been struggling mightily.
The Hall of Pain?
The Prudential Center and "The Hall" might turn into a danger zone if center Gorgui Dieng continues his recent onslaught of double-doubles. In Louisville's last 2 victories, Dieng has come up big, averaging 12.5 point, 13.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks. The combination of Kuric and Dieng will be a major obstacle in Seton Hall's way to avoid a fourth consecutive loss. Look for Dieng to come up big in Newark.
It's a wash where ATS records are concerned as Seton Hall plays well at home ATS with a 6-2 record and Louisville plays well on the road at 4-2 ATS.
Outcome of the game
Although Seton Hall is much improved this season, many of their wins have come against inferior opponents. Recently, they've come upon tough times as they face the heart of the Big East. Louisville presents another difficult game and the Cardinals are the better team, playing with momentum. Take Louisville and the points in your Saturday night NCAA basketball picks.