Rutgers (13-15) at Seton Hall (14-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Prudential Center (18,711) -- Newark, New Jersey. Television: SNY, Big East Network, MASN. Home Record: Rutgers 9-7, Seton Hall 10-6. Away Record: Rutgers 3-8, Seton Hall 3-9. Neutral Record: Rutgers 1-0, Seton Hall 1-1. Conference Record: Rutgers 4-13, Seton Hall 3-14. Series Record: Seton Hall leads, 35-28.
GAMES NOTES: The Seton Hall Pirates will try to lock into position for the upcoming Big East Tournament when they clash with the intrastate rival Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Friday night at the Prudential Center.
Seton Hall is guaranteed a slot in the Big East Tournament but with a loss and a South Florida win on Saturday the Pirates would drop to the 13th-seed. The Pirates have lost 10 of their last 11 games and have fallen to 14-16 overall, and a paltry 3-14 against conference foes.
Rutgers' positioning in the Big East Tournament isn't much better as it is sitting as the 11th-seed currently for next week's event. The Scarlet Knights have had just about the same amount of luck as the Pirates overall (13-15) while holding a slim edge in conference play (4-13). Rutgers has also lost 11 of its last 12 games as it closes in on the regular-season finale.
Rutgers already posted a win against Seton Hall earlier this season, with a tough 57-55 win in Piscataway. With a win on Friday the Scarlet Knights would secure the 11th seed while also grabbing their third straight win in the all-time series which they trail, 35-28.
On its home floor last time out Rutgers really gave No. 15 Marquette a run for its money. The Scarlet Knights led by 10 points at halftime and led for the majority of the second period before the Golden Eagles finally took a lead at the 3:04 mark. That was part of a 17-4 run the Golden Eagles used to end the game and grab the 60-54 decision.
Rutgers is still reeling and trying to find its footing after lead scorer Eli Carter (14.9 ppg) was lost for the season in mid-February with a fractured right ankle. Without Carter, Myles Mack (13.2 ppg) is not only the best offensive option but the only other player scoring in double figures. However, Mack has seen his impressive field-goal percentage (.481) drop over the last few weeks when he has hit just 10-of-33 from the field, failing to score in double figures in two of the last three games. Dane Miller (7.0 ppg) is the next best scorer on the roster for a team that is scoring more than only two other teams in the Big East (65.5 ppg).
Seton Hall took a trip to Rhode Island last time out but lost in a 76-66 decision to Providence. The Pirates were on the short end of a 15-6 difference in points off turnovers, while also being outscored from the free-throw line (17-10). Five different players scored in double figures for the Pirates in the loss, led by 15 from Fuquan Edwin.
Edwin (16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.4 spg) has been one of few bright spots for the Pirates this season. The 6-foot-6 swingman has the size to get into the paint and create his own shot while he also uses that length to disrupt opposing backcourts by collecting the second most steals in the conference (2.4 pg). Aaron Cosby (12.4 ppg, 3.0 apg) is another double figure scorer out of the backcourt that along with Edwin is the only player seeing more than 30 minutes of court time per game. Eugene Teague (11.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is a nice commodity in the paint as he shoots at a 55.3 percent rate and ranks among the top 10 players in the conference on the boards.
With Carter out, Rutgers just isn't the same team. Edwin should be able to have his way against the Scarlet Knights and get Seton Hall a win to close out the regular season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seton Hall 67, Rutgers 60
03/08 10:35:40 ET