Seton Hall Pirates (6-1) vs. #17 Louisville Cardinals (4-1)
Where: KFC Yum! Center
When: 4 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Crispino, Seth Greenberg)
Line: Louisville -2.5
All-time: Louisville leads 13-5
The Seton Hall Pirates played perhaps their best game of the season on Thursday night when they took down #22 Texas Tech 89-79.
Now, it doesn’t get any easier, as the Pirates are now on the road in ACC* (former Big East) country to take on the 17th ranked Louisville Cardinals.
Louisville hasn’t played since Monday night when they suffered their first loss of the season on the road to a solid Purdue team. However, they have been solid at home in nonconference is recent years, winning 22 straight and 58 of their last 59.
The Pirates tend to play better against superior opponents, so there’s no question they’ll be up and ready to play when they step on the court. A win today will erase any doubt of whether the Pirates will be ranked tomorrow.
We all know that Seton Hall has a strong rebounding presence, with Angel Delgado pounding the boards and even Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nzei showing strong efforts there as well.
However, Louisville has size to match the Pirates. They have 6-foot-10-inch Ray Spalding, who is averaging just under 10 rebounds per game. They also have 7-foot senior Anas Mahmoud, who is averaging 8.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG.
One thing Louisville doesn’t do to a very high volume is shoot from deep. Only Quentin Snider has more than 20 attempts from downtown.
Speaking of three-point shooting, the Pirates will look to continue to ride the hot hand of Myles Powell. The sharp-shooting sophomore had 17 second half points and four three pointers in the win on Thursday.
The team’s leading scorer, Desi Rodriguez, has found consistency this season. He is the team’s leading scorer at 18.7 PPG, and followed up his 27-point performance against Vanderbilt with 24 more points on Thursday.
The matchup to watch will be how the Pirates defende Louisville leading scorer Deng Adel. The 6-foot-7-inch junior is averaging 16.6 PPG, and given his size, Sanogo is likely the man that Head Coach Kevin Willard will assign to Adel.
These two teams have similar philosophies. They score the basketball and play solid defense. It will certainly be a tough game for the Pirates, but they proved on Thursday night that they are up to the task. This is their chance to further solidify that notion.