Seton Hall (15-8) at Rutgers (12-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday February 8th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rutgers Athletic Center (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: SHU 10-2, RU 10-4. Away Record: SHU 3-5, RU 1-6. Neutral Record: SHU 2-1, RU 1-2. Conference Record: SHU 4-7, RU 4-7. Series Record: Seton Hall leads, 34-26.
GAME NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights return from their road trip to the friendly confines of the RAC to take on its Garden State rival Seton Hall Pirates in a Big East Conference battle.
This will be the 61st meeting in the all-time series between Rutgers and the Pirates. Seton Hall holds a 34-26 series lead coming into tonight's bout.
Seton Hall's great start to the season has been marred by its current six-game losing streak. Head coach Kevin Willard's team dropped to 15-8 on Saturday with its 69-46 loss to the Connecticut Huskies. The Pirates shot a season-low 25.9 percent from the field as they were trounced by the Huskies. It was the third instance in four contests in which Seton Hall was held under 30 percent shooting from the field. Seton Hall is averaging 68.4 ppg on the offensive end, while allowing opponents to score 63.5 ppg. The Pirates are effective from three-point range as they knock down 36.1 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
Herb Pope has been the go-to-guy for Seton Hall all season as he leads the team in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (10.2). Pope missed Saturday's contest with a pair of bruised ribs, but is expected to return for the Garden State battle. Fuquan Edwin is a Big East Defensive Player of the Year candidate as he has been locking down opposing stars while ranking among the national leaders in steals. Jordan Theodore is second on the team in scoring (15.4) and is among the league leaders in assists with 6.8 per game.
Rutgers fell for the second-straight game on Saturday as it was bested 78-66 by the Louisville Cardinals. The Scarlet Knights shot 40.0 percent from three- point range, but lost the rebounding battle 40-25 to Louisville in the loss. Second year head coach Mike Rice's Rutgers team is 12-12 and 3-6 in Big East action. The Scarlet Knights have not been overwhelming offensively, averaging just 64.3 ppg, and they have allowed opponents to outscore them with an average of only 66.7 ppg.
The Scarlet Knights are a very young team as no seniors receive significant playing time. Freshman guard Eli Carter leads the charge with a scoring average of 13.8 ppg. Carter has scored in double-figures 18 times this season and ranks third among freshman in scoring in league play. Myles Mack has been a very serviceable sixth man. In his last 14 games, Mack has netted 11.7 ppg in his last 12 games off the bench. With Gilvydas Biruta providing size and scoring from the forward position and Dane Miller's energetic play on the wing, Rutgers has the tools to hang around with nearly anyone.
Seton Hall looked as if it were going to contend for the Big East crown this season, but since has fallen off. While the Scarlet Knights are also struggling as of late, their ups and downs were more expected due to their youth loaded roster. Pope's ability to return and be effective will play a huge role in this one. The Pirates match up pretty well defensively with Rutgers, but they will need to find a way to bounce back from their awful offensive performance on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 67, Seton Hall 63
02/08 10:32:30 ET