South Florida (12-18) vs. Seton Hall (14-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USF 10-8, Seton Hall 10-7. Away Record: USF 2-10, Seton Hall 3-9. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, Seton Hall 1-1. Conference Record: USF 3-15, Seton Hall 3-15. Series Record: Seton Hall leads, 8-2.
GAMES NOTES: In the first round of the 2013 Big East Tournament the 13th-seed South Florida Bulls will take on the 12th-seed Seton Hall Pirates at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
Neither of these teams was particularly impressive this season. The Bulls suffered a major let down from their surprise run in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. When the regular season closed on Saturday they were just 12-18 overall with a 3-15 record in league play, better than only DePaul.
Seton Hall is a founding member of the Big East which will be drastically altered in the coming year. The Pirates are one of the "Catholic 7" that will break off to form a new conference but they certainly didn't send themselves off in style. Seton Hall lost 12 of its final 13 games and ended the campaign at 14-17 overall and 3-15 in league action.
Though these two teams were tied in the league standings, Seton Hall got the higher seeding by virtue of its 55-47 win over the Bulls in the lone regular season meeting. The Pirates have won eight of the 10 all-time matchups.
The winner of this contest will move on to face No. 5 seed Syracuse in the second round.
South Florida nearly pulled off an upset in its last game of the regular season but fell in overtime to Cincinnati, 61-53. After taking a 28-23 lead into halftime the Bulls were only able to collect nine field goals in the second period and fell in overtime. A 35-24 deficit on the boards didn't help. Victor Rudd was the only offensive player of note for USF, finishing with 22 points in the loss.
The Bulls' demise came because of their inability to get a rhythm on offense all season. South Florida was the worst offensive squad in the Big East, ranking dead last in points (59.3 pg), assists (11.3 pg) and field-goal percentage (.395). Rudd (!2.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (!0.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are the only double-figure scorers on the roster but each is shooting below the 40 percent mark from the floor. Anthony Collins (88 ppg, 6.4 apg) doesn't shoot that much better but has been solid as the team's primary facilitator.
Seton Hall went up against instate rival Rutgers in its regular-season finale and came up short in a 56-51 decision. The difference in the game was in ball control as the Pirates had 19 turnovers, while being outscored 25-9 in points off those miscues.
Although Seton Hall is a better offensive team than South Florida it isn't an overly successful team on that end. The Pirates rank in the bottom half of the Big East in points (68.9 pg), assists (13.9 pg) and field-goal percentage (.435). Despite their losing record and less than stellar offensive numbers the Pirates have still managed to own a positive scoring margin (+3.3). Fuquan Edwin (16.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg) is a long and athletic swingman who also makes contributions on the defensive end as he is second in the Big East in steals. Aaron Cosby (12.4 ppg) provides addition scoring in the backcourt, while Eugene Teague (11.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) anchors the team in paint.
This is not a home game for Seton Hall, but the short trip for the Pirates will be much more advantageous than the Bulls; trek. Led by Edwin, the Pirates should be able to get themselves into the second round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seton Hall 64, South Florida 59
03/12 10:32:57 ET