The 22nd-ranked Seton Hall Pirates, who are coming off a 10-point victory over the Monmouth Hawks, will be taking on the Indiana Hoosiers at the Prudential Center Wednesday night as part of the 2017 Gavitt Games. The Hall, who will be entering the contest with a 2-0 record, have been led by their senior core of Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez.
Indiana enters the contest with a record of 1-1. The Hoosiers, under first year head coach Archie Miller, have certainly experienced growing pains over the first two games. On opening night, Miller’s squad was blown out on their home court by fellow in-state opponent Indiana State Sycamores. Then, in game two, the Hoosiers struggled with a lesser opponent in Howard Bison before finally defeating them, 86-77. De'Ron Davis has been the bright spot for the Hoosiers over the first two games, averaging 15 points per contest.
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports 1
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go
Commentators: Gus Johnson and Bill Rafferty
Spread: Seton Hall by 16.5
These two programs have met three times in their history. Indiana holds a 2-1 advantage after Seton Hall took the first game in the 1989 NCAA Tournament. IU responded with a win in November 1992 in the Preseason NIT. Then, the Hoosiers defeated the Pirates in November 1998 in the NABC Classic.
What to Watch For
Seton Hall has pulled away to win both of their first two games. However, in both games, it took the Pirates 10-12 minutes to finally get going. Simply put, Seton Hall cannot let that happen against more capable teams as the season goes on.
Similarly, Indiana has been experiencing slow starts as well. In their first game against Indiana State, the Hoosiers essentially got blown out from the opening tipoff. They trailed by 14 points as early as 10 minutes into the game. Then, in their second game against Howard (a rather weak opponent), it took Indiana 18 minutes into the first half to build somewhat of a comfortable win.
Simply put if Indiana gets off to a slow start at the Prudential Center Wednesday night it will not bode well at all. They will get their doors blown off by an experienced Pirates team.
When I was sitting in my seat at the Prudential Center Sunday as Seton Hall took on Monmouth, I noticed that The Hall was shooting 50% from the line. I thought to myself, “Is there any team in this country shooting worse from the charity stripe?”
Enter Indiana, who shot 41 percent from the free throw line against Howard Sunday night. If this game ends up being close down the wire, whichever team decides to shoot worse from the free throw line will lose the game.
The battle down low
Right now, Seton Hall has the deepest frontcourt in the Big East if not the entire country. Angel Delgado has registered two double-doubles in his first two games. Michael Nzei has developed into a threat on the boards and scoring-wise down low, and Ismael Sanogo is also a threat down low along with developing freshman Sandro Mamukelashvili. Indiana, on the other hand, has not been particularly dominant under the boards. So, this is an area where things can get ugly if The Hall imposes their will down low.
There will finally be a good crowd on hand at the Prudential Center, which Seton Hall has struggled to receive over the first two games. But there will also be a good Indiana fan turnout, considering the NYC area alumni base.
This game will possibly be close for the first half, but ultimately I expect the veteran-led Pirates to impose their will on the fairly young inexperienced Hoosiers and come close to covering the spread and win by about 15-20. Don’t forget, Indiana has struggled against two weaker opponents at home, and this is a true road game against a nationally ranked team. So that already will add to an uphill battle.