No. 8 Seton Hall Pirates (21-11, 10-8) vs. No. 9 North Carolina State Wolfpack (21-11, 11-7)
WHEN: 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: INTRUST Arena, Wichita, KS
TV: TBS (Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin)
ALL-TIME: NC State leads 3-2
LINE: SHU -2.5
Oh March Madness, we’ve missed you.
Seton Hall and NC State hit the floor in Wichita Thursday afternoon in the 8/9 matchup in the Midwest Region. The winner will likely move on to take on Kansas.
The best piece of news is that Desi Rodriguez will play after participating in a full week of practice in which he is feeling minimal pain in his injured ankle. His offensive firepower is going to be needed in this one.
For Seton Hall, this is the core group of senior’s final chance to deliver the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2004, a goal they set out to accomplish before the season began.
For NC State, they return to the tournament for the first time since 2015, but we aren’t going to get into their run to the Sweet 16 too much.
NC State is a team that packs a punch on the offensive end of the floor, but does the exact opposite defensively. They rank 24th in KenPom in offensive efficiency, however the come in at 100th in terms of defensive efficiency. They also come in dead last in the entire field of 68 in terms of allowing two-point field goals.
NC State will dial up a full court press throughout the game, as Kevin Keatts knows his defense’s best chance at making stops is to create a high volume of turnovers. Once their opposition crosses halfcourt, this is when NC State’s issues begin to arise.
For Seton Hall, they have to value the basketball to win this game. At times this season, they have struggled with high amounts of turnovers, and with an offense that boasts three-point threats throughout their rotation, they can’t afford to give NC State free possessions.
The matchup to watch in this game is down low, with Angel Delgado matched up with seven-foot big man Omer Yurtseven. The sophomore from NC State averaged 13.8 PPG and 6.9 RPG, and also has the ability to step outside and knock down outside shots. Yurtseven has only taken 43 threes this season, but he has knocked those down at a 51 percent clip.
Remember last year’s matchup for Delgado in the NCAA Tournament? Moses Kingsley ate Delgado alive because of his ability to step away from the paint and hit shots and Delgado’s inability to defend them. Kevin Willard will need to keep an eye on this matchup, and if Yurtseven is focusing his game on outside shots, expect a switch on defense with Ismael Sanogo guarding the big man.
For Seton Hall, Khadeen Carrington has to continue his recent scoring surge while Desi Rodriguez has been out. After having just four 20+ point games all season prior to the Rodriguez injury, Carrington topped that mark in each of the four games the Pirates were without their leading scorer. Carrington had 17 points in the Big East Quarterfinal loss to Butler, in which he had a red hot first half but a quiet second half.
When Carrington has been a score-first guard this season, the Pirates have benefited tremendously. Having two lethal scoring options in Carrington and Rodriguez can make a defense’s head spin, which is especially useful against a defense that struggles like NC State.
If Seton Hall can take care of the basketball and get solid production from the usual suspects, the Pirates should be able to notch their first NCAA Tournament win in 14 years and set themselves up for a potential matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.