#6 Villanova Wildcats (20-2) vs. Seton Hall Pirates (13-9)
When: Friday, February 7, 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Seton Hall’s Previous Season Record: 15-18, Lost to Syracuse in Big East Tournament
Key Players for Seton Hall: #23 Fuquan Edwin (6-6, 215) Sr., G/F; #21 Eugene Teague (6-9, 270) Sr., C; #4 Sterling Gibbs (6-2, 185) So., G
Scouting Report: The last time the Wildcats played Seton Hall, they won 83-67. Despite being down a few men, Seton Hall still able to keep it relatively close. At least the game was a little closer than the score suggests. The Pirates played without their second highest scorer, Fuquan Edwin (14.3 points per game), and their leading rebounder, Eugene Teague (8.1 rebounds per game). Edwin has started since his freshman season and has gotten better over the years. He has been a valuable piece of the Pirate squad. Edwin is excellent on both sides of the ball, offense and defense. Since Edwin has returned from a knee injury that caused him to miss the previous Villanova-Seton Hall game, his numbers have spiked. Over the course of the last six games, Edwin has averaged 18.5 points per game. He scored 20+ points on three separate occasions out of the last six games. Offensively, he is good in transition and in catch-and-shoot plays. After immediately receiving the pass in the perimeter, he will more often then not, take the shot right away. He had the last second game winning shot last year against the Wildcats. He received the kick out pass and popped the three from the corner. Where Edwin shines most is defense, he excels at getting steals. He averages a whopping 3.1 steals per game. He has the third highest steals per game average in all of Division-I. His quickness and length pose problems for opposing offenses who will have to take good care of the ball when he is on the floor. Teague missed four games due to a concussion. Prior to his injury, he was playing very well. In the eight games he played before his injury, he had six double-doubles. He has not played as well since returning, but he is definitely a big boost for the Pirates. He adds size and strength that simply cannot be ignored. He is still a great rebounder, teams will have to keep an eye out for the 270 pound center when he is in the paint. Another name to know is Sterling Gibbs, he sat out last year after transferring from Texas and now is a big part of Seton Hall. He is their leading scorer with 14.4 points per game. He also is good at setting things up for the other guys, but also scoring on his own. He is as good at scoring as he is at dishing the ball. Defensively, Gibbs is pretty good at defending the perimeter, not Edwin-status but he does his job just fine. Other players to watch for are Brian Oliver, forwards Patrik Auda, and Brandon Mobley. Oliver is the Pirates best three-point shooter. He is shooting 43.4% from beyond the arc so far this season. Last time he played Villanova, he was the top scorer of the game with 20 points, including six three pointers. Auda is a second year starter that is a solid contributor. He quietly can add points and does a decent job inside the paint offensively and defensively. Lastly, Mobley was a starter last year for the Pirates until he had a season-ending surgery. He is no longer a starter, but now the sixth man. Despite the change, he is relishing in his new role off of the bench as the sixth man. He provides solid minutes and can do a little bit of everything.
Outlook: Seton Hall is a dangerous team when they go on the road. They’ve played a lot better as the visiting team. They went into Xavier and ended their streak of winning games at home. They beat Providence in double overtime when they headed over to the Dunkin Donuts Center. The Pirates lost at Marquette and at St. John’s by one point in both games. Everyone knows Marquette had that crazy streak at home going until the Wildcats broke it, and St. John’s is a completely different team when they play at home. Seton Hall will play tough at the Pavilion, it won’t be an easy one. Now that they have Edwin and Teague back, the score will be a lot closer than what it was the last time the two teams met. Villanova will have to be wary and hopefully the power outage won’t throw them off their game. When the Wildcats won the first time they played this season, they shot 52.3% from beyond the arc. The Pirates will most likely look to close down on the perimeter, opening it up inside for the Wildcats.