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Short-handed DePaul travels to Seton Hall

The depleted Blue Demons take on a Pirates’ team struggling to gain favorable seeding in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

TV, Times, and Lines:

TV: FS1

Date: Saturday, February 19th

Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Spread: Seton Hall -8.5

Total: O/U 139.0


Preview:

Capping a big day of college basketball, Seton Hall (15-9, 6-8 Big East) will host DePaul (12-13, 3-12 Big East) on Saturday night. Both teams enter tonight on 2+ game losing streaks, and Seton Hall will look to get back on track against a banged-up DePaul.

Seton Hall has had a moderately successful year, enjoying a good bit of the season as an AP-ranked ream, but Big East play hasn’t been kind to them; they are only 7th out of the conference's 10 teams. Still, Seton Hall has a favorable remaining schedule, still to play the three bottom teams in the Big East (Georgetown, Butler, and DePaul). The Pirates have a great chance of working their way back to .500 in the conference and improving their seed in March Madness.

The Pirates have had injury struggles of their own to deal with. Guard Bryce Aiken has been in and out of the lineup with various injuries (mostly out), most recently a concussion that has kept him sidelined for the last 8 games. Seton Hall has gone 4-4 in this stretch, but to anyone following the Pirates, the impact of Aiken’s loss is clear.

DePaul comes into Newark on a 3-game skid, most recently suffering a home loss to Creighton in a game that I was all too happy to see end; it was an ugly affair. In fairness to the Blue Demons, their star forward David Jones left early in the game with an ankle injury, and DePaul was up at that point. The severity of Jones’ injury is unknown, but he seems likely to miss at least this game.

DePaul’s offense was something of a nightmare without Jones on the floor. They become far too reliant on Javon Freeman-Liberty, who still seems rusty coming back from an injury of his own. And without their other top scorer Javan Johnson—who has been out for weeks—it’s all too easy for opponents to scheme a defense to stop them. Freeman-Liberty played poorly against Creighton, starting a dreadful 1-16 from the field. But I’ll tip my cap to the Demons’ leading scorer; he showed a lot of fight and managed to play better down the stretch, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Prediction:

It’s difficult for me to imagine a world in which DePaul wins this game. David Jones is too important a player to be missing in an already depleted lineup. Points will be hard to come by for the Blue Demons, and frankly, I think a solid Seton Hall team will have no trouble putting them away.

Seton Hall wins, 73-57