Seton Hall Pirates (1-0, 0-0) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0, 0-0)
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, NE
When: 7:30 pm ET
TV: Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler, Shon Morris)
Line: NEB -7.5
All-Time: First meeting
Two years ago, a young Seton Hall team, fresh off the departure of their star player Isaiah Whitehead, traveled to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes in their Gavitt Tipoff Games debut.
That night, the Pirates seemed unphased by a loud Big 10 crowd, winning 91-83 for their first of multiple signature wins on the season en route to an NCAA Tourney berth.
This time, they look to do the same task again, coming off losing four key seniors and entering a hostile road environment. They will take on Nebraska, a team that was picked to finish fourth in the Big 10 this season after finishing in that spot last year, narrowly missing an NCAA Tournament trip.
The Pirates opened the season last Tuesday in a 40-point thrashing of Wagner. Myles Powell dropped 30 points and hit five 3-pointers as Seton Hall made an early season statement against a weaker opponent.
As for Nebraska, they have won 13 consecutive home games, good enough for sixth-best in the nation. They return three double-digit scorers from last season, including 1,000 point scorer Glynn Watson Jr., who is averaging 17.5 PPG and 3 APG through two games so far this season. Isaac Copeland occupies the paint down low for Nebraska, totaling 12.9 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 33 games last season. This year, however, the rebounding presence hasn’t quite been there for Copeland, and that could be an area which the Pirates could exploit.
For the Pirates to win tonight, they need to play like grown men. Their non-conference schedule this season in loaded, and this matchup tonight is just the beginning. Powell has shown remarkable growths in his game, and will need to perform tonight for the Pirates to have a chance. However, Myles Cale has looked much improved through two games (including an exhibition) so far this year.
Cale dropped 20 points in Friday’s exhibition against New Haven to go along with eight rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting. Cale showed flashes last season, but this year he is one of the most important cogs in the machine for the Pirates in 2018-2019.
Against a team that sits three spots out of the AP Top-25, this is the Pirates’ first chance of many this season to build an NCAA Tournament resume. In a season with not much expectations for the team picked eighth in the Big East, the Pirates are playing with house money. Time will tell if that will pay off for this young Pirate core this year.