Seton Hall (20-11) vs. Louisville (22-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) -- New York, New York.. Television: ESPN. Home Record: SHU 13-3, UofL 16-4. Away Record: SHU 4-7, UofL 6-5. Neutral Record: SHU 3-1, UofL 0-0. Conference Record: SHU 8-10, UofL 10-8. Series Record: Louisville leads, 10-5.
GAME NOTES: The 10th-seeded Seton Hall Pirates will look to repeat their dominating performance from the first round tonight when they square off with the 7th-seeded Louisville Cardinals in the second round of the 2012 Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
This will be the 16th meeting in the all-time series. Louisville holds a 10-5 edge in the rivalry after winning this season's only encounter, 60-51 at the Prudential Center on Jan. 28. The Pirates had a frustrating evening against Louisville, as they managed to make just 27.6 percent of their field goal attempts and only 3-of-18 from beyond the arc in the contest. However, the Cardinals were not able to put the game out of reach due to their committal of 24 turnovers.
Seton Hall (20-11) looked nothing like a team capable of shooting 27.6 percent from the floor on Tuesday as they completely dismantled the Providence Friars to earn a 79-47 victory in their first round game. The Pirates knocked down 56 percent of their field goals while converting 14-of-17 at the charity stripe to handle the Friars. Seton Hall's success was powered by its exceptional ball movement, as 20 of its 28 made field goals were assisted. Coach Kevin Willard's team is going to be a dangerous opponent for Louisville as it led the league in three-point shooting with a 36.6 percent connection rate from distance. The Pirates are one of a handful of teams sitting on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. A win tonight would go along way in bolstering their resume.
The Pirates had five different players score in double-figures on Tuesday. Herb Pope and Brandon Mobley each had 16 points to lead the way. Seton Hall's success this season has been powered by its star point guard Jordan Theodore. The senior floor general was elected to the All-Big East Second Team due to his consistently superb performance running the show. Theodore backed up his recently awarded accolades in the first round by scoring 13 points and handing out 13 assists.
Coach Rick Pitino's squad limped into the Big East Tournament with losses in three of its last four games. Louisville (22-9) was held under 60 points in all four of its final regular season games. The Cardinals' recent troubles on the offensive end are understandable as they faced three of the top four defenses (Syracuse, South Florida, Cincinnati) during that span. Louisville has had more turnovers than assists in five of its last six games, which is a partial factor in their recent scoring woes. The Cardinals were very good throughout the season as they outscored their opponents by an average of 7.4 ppg.
Kyle Kuric, Russ Smith, and Chris Smith all possess the ability to get hot and light up the scoreboard for the Cardinals. All three carry in scoring averages in double-figures, but the trio was terrible its last time out as it went a combined 1-of-18 from beyond the arc in the regular season finale versus Syracuse. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng have received criticism and will need to improve their play in the post season for Louisville. Siva ended the season tied for first in the Big East with 3.5 turnovers per game. Dieng has been the team's best rebounder with 9.1 boards per game, but his defensive toughness has been questioned as he has let smaller players outplay him inside on multiple occasions this season.
Dieng and Siva will be under the microscope in this one as they have the duty of matching Pope and Theodore. Seton Hall's hot shooting should cool off against a tougher defense, but the Cardinals will have to find a way to score to keep the Pirates on the bubble.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seton Hall 74, Louisville 70
03/07 10:34:15 ET