Seton Hall Pirates (16-11 SU, 6-15 ATS) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (15-14 SU, 11-12-1 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, March 4, 2010, Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, N.J. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Seton Hall -4/Rutgers +4
For the most part, the Seton Hall Pirates have looked like an NCAA tournament team this season. The Pirates have been competitive in almost every game they have played this season, but they just haven’t been able to win a lot of those games. Now, the Pirates are 16-11 overall and 7-9 in the Big East and are in a must-win situation for their last two games. If they can win those two games, they may be able to get back into the bubble discussion with a couple of wins in the Big East tournament. But first, they must take care of business on the road at rival Rutgers on Thursday night.
After a three-game losing streak, Seton Hall was headed in the right direction when it bounced back with a three-game winning streak. The Pirates defeated Notre Dame and DePaul at home and St. John’s on the road. But since then, they have lost two of their last three games to West Virginia and Marquette with a home win over Rutgers sandwiched in between. After they face Rutgers, the Pirates will have to play at Providence to end the regular season.
In their last game, the Pirates lost 84-83 in overtime at home to Marquette. In a rare occasion, Jeremy Hazell was not the leading scorer for Seton Hall. Instead, it was Jeff Robinson, who scored 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting off the bench. Robinson has scored in double figures in each of his last six games. Hazell scored 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting. He also came off the bench after getting a sore back during warm-ups. Hazell scored all 19 points in the second half and overtime. Jordan Theodore scored 18 points, and Eugene Harvey had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. The Pirates shot 50 percent from the field and 8-for-20 from 3-point range. They out-rebounded Marquette by 13. But Seton Hall committed 16 turnovers and allowed Marquette to shoot 48 percent from the field and 9-for-25 on 3-pointers.
Rutgers started off 0-8 in the Big East and had lost nine games in a row overall, but the Scarlet Knights have rallied to five of their last eight Big East games and six of their last nine games overall. Their only losses during that span are to Louisville, UConn and Seton Hall, two of which were on the road.
After losing two games in a row, the Scarlet Knights got back on the winning track in their last game with a 71-62 home win over DePaul on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights played awful in the first half and trailed 37-26 at the half, but they battled back in the second half to outscore DePaul 45-25 in the latter frame and win the game by nine points. Mike Rosario scored 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 from 3-point range to lead the Scarlet Knights. Rosario has scored in double figures in 11 straight games, he has made at least one 3-pointer in 14 straight games, and he has made at least two 3-pointers in six straight games. Jonathan Mitchell had 18 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Dane Miller chipped in with 10 points. The Scarlet Knights shot 52 percent from the field and 7-for-20 from 3-point range. DePaul shot 43 percent from the field and 5-for-13 on 3-pointers, and Rutgers committed 19 turnovers.
When Rutgers and Seton Hall met just over a week ago, Seton Hall won the game at home, 76-70. The Pirates led by 15 at halftime but the Scarlet Knights battled back to make it close in the second half. Hazell scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-22 shooting from the field and 5-for-14 on 3-pointers. Harvey, Robinson and Theodore all scored in double figures, and Herb Pope had six points and 12 rebounds. For Rutgers, Rosario led the team with 17 points, Miller scored 16, Hamady Ndiaye had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Mitchell had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Rosario, Miller and Mitchell combined to shoot 17-for-48 from the field and 3-for-19 on 3-pointers. As a team, Rutgers shot 38 percent from the field and 5-for-22 on 3-pointers, while Seton Hall shot 43 percent from the field and 8-for-23 on 3-pointers. Rutgers won the rebounding battle by 10, but Seton Hall forced 16 turnovers and only committed six turnovers.
The total has gone under in each of the last four meetings between these teams. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams and the road team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams. Seton Hall is 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams, but the Pirates are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings at Rutgers.
Ryno’s Pick: I like Rutgers to win straight up here and cover the spread.