When: Thursday, December 19th @ 7PM (EST)
Where: The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ
Records: Seton Hall 6-4 (21 KenPom, 56 NET) #7 Maryland 10-1 (7 KenPom, 11 NET)
Stream: FOX Sports GO
What was supposed to be a dream season has hit a snag as Kevin Willard’s Pirates find themselves 10 games into a tough non-conference schedule yet still lacking a signature win. Fortunately, they have a big opportunity in front of them in #7 Maryland. Unfortunately, they won’t be anywhere near full strength. Both schools come in licking their wounds: Maryland from suffering their first loss of the season and Seton Hall from Rutgers essentially giving them a wedgie and then forcing them to drink out of the toilet in front of everybody (translation: they were humiliated in a heavily anticipated rivalry game.)
Here’s What’s Been Going On
It’s been a rocky 10 days for Seton Hall fans. They suffered two significant losses and I’m not talking about being defeated by Iowa State and Rutgers. 6’11 starting forward Sandro Mamukelashvili as well as preseason All-American Myles Powell were both lost to injuries. Mamukelashvili suffered a broken wrist that will keep him out 6-10 weeks and Powell was the victim of a serious concussion during the Rutgers debacle. While Powell is a massive loss (for reasons obvious to anyone interested enough in college hoops to be reading this preview) the loss of Mamukelashvili shouldn’t be overlooked. He was another scoring option and if anyone had been the Robin to Powell’s Batman, it was him.
Meanwhile the Maryland Terrapins came into the season ranked #7 in the preseason AP poll and that’s exactly where they are now. While they’ve yet to meet a ranked opponent themselves, Maryland does have a number of respectable wins including a 21 point thrashing of Marquette. Senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. leads the Terps and the offense will run through him. Cowen Jr. averages 16.5 ppg while facilitating the offense and the ball will be in his hands in any big spots. Another player of note is rugged 6’10 sophomore Jalen Smith who averages a double-double. If there’s any good news for Seton Hall it’s that they’re catching the Terps during a rough patch. Maryland just lost to a smothering Penn State team that held them to 33% shooting and turned the Terps over 20 times. The game before that was a 1-point squeaker over Illinois in another shooting performance that was…not good.
Can Seton Hall Really Win This Game Without Myles Powell?
Let’s be honest with each other here Pirate fans…this is going to be tough. It’s not impossible but very, very tough. Here are my 3 keys to the game and to be blunt, I think they all need to occur for the Pirates to pull this off:
-Make it ugly. This needs to be Seton Hall’s identity until they get their star back. They need to force turnovers, play physical, draw fouls, basically anything that can break up the flow of the game to keep opponents with more fire power from going on extended scoring runs against them.
-Hope Maryland is still in a funk. The Terps have shot 33% from the field in each of their last two games. Hopefully they’ll be a little tight traveling to an unfamiliar arena after putting up 2 stinkers in a row.
-We need a hero. Obviously nobody can replace Myles Powell however someone on this roster needs to step into the offensive void that now exists. Is there someone left who is capable of scoring 20 points in a big game? The Pirates are desperately low on dependable contributors on offense. It would seem the leading candidate here is Quincy McKnight but Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden are two guys who came into this season expecting to take leaps that just haven’t happened yet. This is an opportunity for them.
The Pirates play tough but can’t scrape together enough buckets to seriously threaten Maryland. 68- 52 Terps.