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Pirates square off with Manhattan in final nonconference tune up

The Pirates will look to move into Big East play with two losses for the fourth consecutive season

NCAA Basketball: Wagner at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Manhattan Jaspers (5-6) vs. No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates (10-2)

WHEN: 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

TV: FSN Regional Networks (Brian Custer and Sarah Kustok)


SERIES: Believe it or not, Manhattan leads the all-time series 27-20

Surprised was I to see Manhattan led this series 27-20, so I did some digging.

These two teams met for the first time way back in 1912, a game won by Manhattan by a whopping score of 35-20. However, this success did not last long for the Jaspers, as Seton Hall was able to win 10 of the first 13 matchups between these two teams from 1912-1923.

Manhattan’s true dominance of this series would begin in 1924. Manhattan Head Coach Arthur T. Carroll had enough of losing to the Pirates, and lit a spark underneath his Jaspers. Carroll left following the 1924 season, but that win over Seton Hall began a stretch that lasted all the way until 1975, in which the teams met 20 times with the Jaspers winning 18 of them. Saturday’s game will be just the third time these two local foes have met since 1985, with this being their first meeting since 2005.

Alright, enough of that. On to the game.

The 23rd ranked Pirates will hit the floor Saturday afternoon in their final non-conference matchup before their Big East slate kicks off next Thursday against Creighton.

Seton Hall will have to do their work without senior defensive anchor Ismael Sanogo, who was suspended Friday for a violation of team rules and will not play in the game.

Michael Nzei will slide into Sanogo’s spot in the starting five, a familiar role to the junior forward from Nigeria. Nzei has started seven games this season, including each of the first five. The Pirates are 7-1 all-time, and 3-0 this season when Nzei scores in double figures.

Manhattan has a problem shared by many mid-major foes Seton Hall has faced this season: the inability to matchup size-wise.

This was a problem for Wagner on Wednesday when dealing with Nzei, as well as Angel Delgado, who collected his 58th career double-double in the win. Delgado now has double-digit rebounds in nine of the team’s 12 games this season, including each of the last five.

It will be interesting to see if Jordan Walker gets any run in this afternoon’s game. The freshman did not play Wednesday against Wagner after he was reported to be leaving the program before changing his mind.

The player to watch for Manhattan is their leading scorer Rich Williams. The senior forward scored in double-digits in each of his first seven games this year, but has just four and eight points in his last two games.

Overall, Manhattan’s offense (67.3 PPG) will be swallowed up by the stingy Pirate defense (allows 67.6 PPG) and Seton Hall should be able to coast to an easy win.

PREDICTION: Seton Hall 88 Manhattan 63