Tonight's match-up takes on mammoth importance for a number reasons. First, both Rutgers and Seton Hall are coming in to the game playing their best basketball of the year. Rutgers is looking to sustain the momentum it gained with big victories against Nova and Pitt, while Seton Hall is looking to gain their 5th straight Big East win. If Rutgers wins, they're one win closer to a spot in the Big East tournament. If the Hall wins, they further solidify their position among the elite teams in the conference.
But while the game has huge implications for this season, its realimpact might be felt more on the seasons to come. With a number of NewYork metropolitan recruits still undecided, this game becomes ineffect an all-out slugfest for the best talent in the state. You can be sure that all the big names (Cheek, Evans, Kilpatrick, etc) will be tuning in for this one.
Some factors to watch for:
- Rumor has it that Seton Hall junior captain Paul Gause may be suiting up tonight after missing about a month with a broken knuckle on his hand. If so, it should bolster Seton Hall's press, thus forcing turnovers against this young RU backcourt.
- How will Hazell rebound? After a sub-par scoring effort against Cincinnati this past weekend, and the initial sting of receiving a jersey with his name misspelled, will Hazell be able to stroke the three with confidence? While no doubt a sharpshooter, Hazell's game ranges beyond just the outside shot -- look for him to pump fake and drive against the Rutgers defense.
- Can Garcia walk? During the Cincinnati game, center John Garcia was frequently wincing in pain, and struggling even to take the floor. He's not exactly the most mobile big man to begin with, but his post moves on the offensive end give the Hall a great look inside. If Garcia struggles as he did this past weekend, look for Mike Davis to step up against N'diaye.
- As the starting point guard, "Nunu" Harvey is the leader of this squad, and he needs to start better exerting that leadership. You can bet the RAC is going to be pretty rowdy-- it's important that Harvey settle his team down, and set a good example by making his freethrows.
Seton Hall 79