WHO: The 5-4 USF Bulls, now on an ugly three-game losing streak, will host the 8-1 Seton Hall Pirates in an old Big East rematch. This year's edition of the Pirates has gotten out to a stellar start, with their one loss coming on the road against Wichita State. Hey, remember the last time these teams played? No. No, you don't.
WHEN & WHERE: 7 p.m. ET tonight at the Sun Dome. If you can't make it to the game, you can watch it on CBS Sports Network.
LINE: Seton Hall is listed as just a 4.5 point favorite.
|Team||RPI||KenPom - Overall||KenPom - Offense||KenPom - Defense||KenPom-Tempo|
|Sterling Gibbs||G||Jr.||6'2", 185||16.9||1.7||3.0|
|Jaren Sina||G||So.||6'2", 185||7.0||2.4||2.2|
|Isaiah Whitehead||G||Fr.||6'4", 210||12.9||4.1||3.4|
|Angel Delgado||F||Fr.||6'9", 225||8.3||10.0||0.8|
|Brandon Mobley||F||Sr.||6'9", 225||10.9||5.2||0.9|
|Khadeen Carrington||G||Fr.||6'3", 180||6.2||1.9||1.8|
|Desi Rodriguez||F||Fr.||6'6", 215||5.2||3.4||0.6|
|Anthony Collins||G||Jr.||6'2", 185||8.3||2.7||6.2|
|Corey Allen Jr.||G||Sr.||6'2", 185||16.1||4.1||3.1|
|Nehemias Morillo||G||Jr.||6'4", 210||11.6||6.6||1.2|
|Chris Perry||F||So.||6'9", 225||13.0||7.0||0.2|
|Ruben Guerrero||C||Fr.||6'9", 225||4.2||3.4||0.2|
|Troy Holston Jr.||G||Fr.||6'3", 180||4.5||1.5||0.7|
|Bo Zeigler||F||Fr.||6'6", 215||5.4||5.1||0.3
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Our last memory of Seton Hall involved a pretty horrendous Pirates squad, but this team is actually... pretty stacked? Don't get me wrong-- that RPI is probably way too high, but the Pirates, thanks to an influx of talented freshmen and a stellar transfer, have looked the part of a serious Big East contender and NCAA Tournament team thus far.
Seton Hall boasts as solid as a starting five as the Bulls are likely to see this season. It all starts with guard Sterling Gibbs, who has built off a fine debut season last year and become a deadly marksman from like, anywhere on the court. He's shooting over 50 percent from the field this season, including a someone-forgot-to-turn-off-the-stove hot 56 percent from three-point range. And this is all while taking double digits shots per game! Case in point: earlier this season Gibbs dropped 40 points on 14 shots (!!) against Illinois State. He's been scary efficient.
The Pirates' attack starts with Gibbs, but it doesn't end there. Freshman Isaiah Whitehead is a star in the making-- a lanky, do-it-all wing who likes to shoot perhaps a bit too much, but is just as capable as Gibbs of catching fire. In his last two games he's gone for 23 points... and 5 points, but Whitehead is an impressive player who can find ways to impact the game even when he's not finding the net.
And there's more. Unlike the last few teams USF has played, the Pirates are nasty down low. Brandon Mobley is the lone senior in the rotation, and he's a good one-- a big body equally capable of crashing the glass (5.2 rebounds per game) and shooting from the outside (41 percent from three-point range). Freshman Angel Delgado is his perfect complement, and perhaps Seton Hall's scariest player-- he's a bruiser who rarely leaves the paint, averages double-digit rebounds per game, and possesses the ability to tear a hole in the Bulls' iffy frontcourt.
So why try to fight it? We've repeatedly mentioned the struggles the Bulls have had at the 5 spot in these previews, so why send Ruben Guerrero or Jaleel Cousins out to lock horns with the deadly Mobely/Delgado tandem? USF had the most success against Georgia Southern when they went small, putting out a heady four-guard lineup that was aggressive in driving to the basket and stifling the Eagles in a full-court press. Troy Holston and Dinero Mercurius have shown that they can contribute solid minutes off the bench, and if the Bulls can get hot from the field, their best chance to pull the upset might be to try to push the tempo and match the Pirates point-for-point. The team loves to talk about how much they love to run; let's see it tonight.