Seton Hall Pirates (10-5 SU, 3-6 ATS) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (12-2 SU, 5-5 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, January 14, 2009, Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Seton Hall +7/Georgetown -7
Seton Hall has lost five of its last seven games, its only five losses of the season. But all of those losses have come by single digits. The Pirates were so close to winning all of those games, but instead of being a top 25 team looking like a shoe-in for an NCAA tournament bid at this point, the Pirates are in desperate need of a quality win. They have their opportunity on the road at Georgetown in a Big East battle.
The losses for Seton Hall started at home against Temple when the Pirates blew a double-digit lead in the second half and lost by six. After an easy win over Navy, the Pirates hung tough at home with undefeated West Virginia. Down by 10 points with 47 seconds left in the game, they made a miraculous comeback capped by two clutch Jeremy Hazell 3-pointers to send the game into overtime, but WVU won by six in the extra frame. After that, it was undefeated Syracuse at home. The Pirates held a lead for much of the game before losing it down the stretch by seven. On January 2 in Cancun, Seton Hall fell in overtime by nine to Virginia Tech in a tight battle throughout. Then, it was a tough battle at UConn in which the Pirates lost by eight.
Finally, the Pirates picked up their first Big East at home over Cincinnati on Saturday, 83-76. Maybe that win can give Seton Hall some confidence and momentum going into the game at Georgetown. Hazell, who has been carrying the Pirates offensively in all of their big games, had 33 points on 10-for-22 shooting overall and 5-for-10 on 3-pointers. His shooting efficiency was especially key as compared to his 4-for-19 3-point shooting against West Virginia. He also only had one turnover. Herb Pope, who had 14 points and seven boards, was the only other Seton Hall player to score in double figures. The Pirates shot 50 percent from the field, 21-for-24 from the free throw line, and 6-for-16 from 3-point range, and they only committed seven turnovers.
Georgetown had a quick start to its season with wins over Temple, Butler and Georgetown. But after the consecutive wins over Butler and Georgetown, the Hoyas were upset at home by Old Dominion. After bouncing back with wins over Harvard, St. John’s and DePaul, they fell in a tight battle on the road to Marquette, 62-59.
In their last game, on Saturday the Hoyas got a huge win at home over UConn, 72-69. Austin Freeman had a career game with 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting and 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. He also added seven rebounds. Greg Monroe had a solid effort with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Hoyas had a solid all-around effort that they won with key plays down the stretch. Most importantly, they only had 10 turnovers.
Georgetown’s biggest strength is its 3-point shooting and defense. The Hoyas are making 37.1 percent of their 3-point attempts and are holding opponents to 37.9 percent from the field. Seton Hall is shooting 44.3 percent from the field and allowing opponents to shoot 34 percent from beyond the arc. The Pirates are holding opponents to 39.7 percent from the field and are only turning the ball over 11.5 times per game. Georgetown is committing 15.5 turnovers and forcing 14.2 per game, while the Pirates are forcing 15.5 per game. The Hoyas are shooting very well from the field at 49.5 percent. The real strengths for these teams are Monroe for Georgetown (14.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Hazell for Seton Hall (23.3 ppg). The supporting cast for both teams include Freeman (15.4 ppg) and Chris Wright (14.4 ppg) for the Hoyas and Pope (12.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg) for the Pirates.
Seton Hall is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games as a road underdog. Georgetown is 6-13 ATS in its last 19 games as a favorite and 2-10 in its last 12 games at home. The under is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these teams, including 4-1 in the last five at Georgetown.
Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams are coming off very big wins. Seton Hall got its first conference win over Cincinnati, while Georgetown defeated UConn in a tough battle at home. The Hoyas have gotten some big wins this season but they are probably a bit overrated as a top 15 team. When they got a big win a few weeks ago over Washington, they didn’t react well in a loss at home to Old Dominion. This could be a similar situation. Seton Hall hasn’t been able to win many games lately, but they Pirates have been in every game they’ve played this season and they have a lot more wins if they could have executed better down the stretch. Coming off a nice win, the Pirates may have some extra confidence to pull off this upset. But they haven’t lost any game this season by double digits, so there is solid value here. Take Seton Hall +7.