#1 Villanova Wildcats (28-3) vs. #8 Seton Hall Pirates (16-16)
When: Thursday, March 13, 12 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Results of Previous Meetings:
Villanova won 83-67 at Seton Hall on January 8
Villanova won 70-53 at home on February 7
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 Pirates were finally able to take down the Bulldogs this season. Butler had beaten Seton Hall in both meetings this season, but not this time. Eugene Teague played very well, powering his way inside to a double-double performance. Teague stepped it up, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He has played well for the Pirates this season and he picked up his ninth double-double of the year against Butler. Teague averages 10.8 points per game and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game. As his numbers indicates, he is a great rebounding force in the paint and gives his team a number of second chances. He possesses great strength and size. Even though he may be a few inches shorter than most centers, he will fight and play like he is 7 feet tall. At 270 pounds, teams need to keep an eye on him when he is in the paint. However, the leader of this team has always been Fuquan Edwin. The Second Team All-Big East player and Big East Defensive Player of the Year has given his team great opportunities by the way he plays. Offensively, Edwin plays very well in transition, or off of catch-and-shoot plays. He can knock down threes from the corner off of a catch-and-shoot and it is something they like to do. He is not that good at creating his own shot, but he is able to score from anywhere. He is not solely going to wait around in the perimeter or only drive the ball to attack the rim. He is the top scorer on the team, averaging 14.7 points per game. Where he really shines is on defense, he is always active and looking to shut down the perimeter. Edwin is averaging just under three steals per game, and is a defensive specialist. He has great quickness and length which he uses to his advantage to wreak havoc on defense. Another player to watch for is Sterling Gibbs. Gibbs sat out last year after transferring from Texas, now he is enjoying a solid season as a Pirate. He is the Pirates’ second highest scorer with 13.7 points per game. He likes to attack the rim, but he can also occasionally take and make the three. Gibbs is also good at setting up his teammates and giving them good looks. He leads the team in assists, averaging 4.2 assists per game. Defensively, he is a decent defender at the perimeter, not Edwin-good, but he gets the job done. Other players to watch for are Brian Oliver and Patrik Auda. Oliver is enjoying the best season of his career. He is Seton Hall’s top shooting from long range, sinking 42.1% of his three point shots. He is a streaky shooter, if he can get himself going, he will stay hot and knock down his shots in volumes. Auda is a reliable forward who can contribute offensively and defensively in the paint. He was pretty quiet in the opening game against Butler, but he has had some big games over the course of this season.
Outlook: Overall, Villanova has been able to take down Seton Hall comfortably in both of their wins. The result should be just about the same once again. Villanova has to do what they did last time, control the paint. Teague and Auda are pretty good inside, but JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu were much better in the last meeting. Together, they outscored and outrebounded the starting big men for the Pirates. They need to do the same once again, they need to outplay Seton Hall inside offensively and defensively. Seton Hall was closing down on the perimeter early in the game, as a result Villanova began to drive and take it inside. They were able to finish around the basket and also knock down foul shots if necessary. Seton Hall was not ready for it. As a result, the Pirates had to also pay attention to the interior, opening it up once again at the perimeter for the Wildcats. It all starts in the paint, and then from there Villanova was able to do what they wanted; they could take it inside or outside. Seton Hall had to account for every Wildcat on the floor. They could not solely focus on shutting down the perimeter. There are simply too many weapons for the Pirates to keep up with and that is what makes Villanova so great.