|TV:||FOX Sports 1|
|Radio feed:||700 WLW|
When these two teams first met, Seton Hall was ascendant. The Pirates were 12-2 and had just come off of an overtime win against Villanova to announce themselves as contenders for the top spot in the Big East. Xavier was still mired in a vexing home/away pattern of play and coming off a loss to presumed bottom feeder DePaul. The game was played at Cintas though, so Xavier won handily.
Fast forward to the end of the month and now it's Xavier looking to build momentum. A narrow road loss to Providence fueled by a big second half for Xavier rolled right into 13-point wins against DePaul and @Georgetown. Meanwhile Seton Hall is 1-3 in their last four, having just beaten Marquette to arrest a slide that pushed them below .500 in conference play. Now they host a Xavier team suddenly brimming with road confidence after comprehensively outplaying Georgetown on their own court.
DePaul's offense has literally and figuratively slowed down in conference play. Their 45.7% EFG% is last in the Big East and down 4 points from their season mark, and their tempo has slowed by three possessions a game. They can't shoot from inside (45.7% 2P%) or outside the arc (30.5% 3P%), but they are fanatical about extra possessions. They are third in the league in avoiding turnovers and second in offensive rebounding; those free possessions are the only thing keeping the offense afloat right now.
Their defensive style is neither impetuous nor impregnible. They're first in 3P% defense in conference but ninth in 2P% defense and DReb%. They are also dead last in forcing turnovers. On the plus side, they are first in both 3P% defense and FT% defense. How much of either of those marks is a credit to them is up for debate.
|Jaren Sina||POINT GUARD||Dee Davis|
|6'2", 185||Measurements||6'0", 160|
|Sina is nominally the point guard, but Gibbs dominates the ball. Sina loves the corner three but is otherwise a fairly unremarkable player. He does give the Pirates a lot of minutes and plays solid defense without getting into foul trouble.|
|Sterling Gibbs||SHOOTING GUARD||Myles Davis|
|6'2", 185||Measurements||6'2", 195|
|Gibbs is the main cog in the Seton Hall offensive machine. He can put the ball on the floor, but he's most comfortable shooting from beyond the arc from high on both wings or straight on. He shoots almost a third of his threes off the dribble; he's more than comfortable creating his own shot. He also basically never turns the ball over and is third in the conference in assist rate. Remy Abell will guard him.|
|Khadeen Carrington||WING||Remy Abell|
|6'3", 180||Measurements||6'4", 195|
|Carrington has been a pleasant surprise in terms of immediate production for Seton Hall. His minutes have grown as the season wears on, and he even got a couple of starts. He's an opportunistic scorer around the rim and in short mid-range, and he's very adept at getting to the line. The matchup of Myles on him concerns me; Myles is going to need to be aware of Carrington's movements off the ball to avoid giving up easy baskets.|
|Angel Delgado||FORWARD||James Farr|
|6'9", 230||Measurements||6'10", 247|
|Delgado is a bull in the lane. He can score off of post ups or offensive rebounds and is difficult to stop if he gets good position. He scored a dozen on 5-7/0-0/2-2 shooting @Xavier and gave fits to whoever drew the assignment. If he gets some favorable officiating on his own home court, he could be a real problem. Also, he's a relentless and gifted rebounder on both ends.|
|Brandon Mobley||CENTER||Matt Stainbrook|
|6'9", 225||Measurements||6'10", 263|
|Mobley is the antithesis of Delgado on offense. He splits his shot attempts almost evenly between threes, mid-range jumpers, and attempts at the rim. He really favors the left side of the floor, especially moving away from the dribbler on pick-and-pop action. With a block% of 6.9%, he's the closest thing Seton Hall has to an eraser in the middle.|
Isaiah Whitehead, probably. All sings point to him getting some action against Xavier; he's a 6'4" guard who was averaging 11.9/4.3/3.4 on .393/.381/.719 shooting when he broke his foot in December. Desi Rodriguez is a 6'6" hard-rebounding forward who gets 5.4 and 4.3 in 16 minutes per game. Harilds Karlis is a wing who mostly stays outside and shoots .361/.310/.615, and Stephane Manga is a 6'6" forward who has been in and out of the rotation all year.
-How much Isaiah Whitehead will we see? Whitehead was scoring in bunches before he went down injured, but he took a lot of possessions and did it fairly inefficiently. When he went down, Seton Hall ripped of four of five to get into conference contention. With the team reeling, Whitehead is close to being fit again. He'll be a game time decision against Xavier, but his return might snap the Pirates out of their slump.
-How much time does Xavier go small? Coach Mack has pushed Trevon Bluiett out of the starting lineup to run three guards but has been giving the freshman wing more time at the four in part of a small lineup. Seton Hall has a true lane big in Angel Delgado and a 6'9" rover in Brandon Mobley. Will Coach Mack try to match up, or will he try to dictate matchups to Seton Hall?
-Does Xavier need to score from deep? The Musketeers' shooting from behind the arc has not been good in conference and Seton Hall's 3P% defense has. With Xavier having Matt Stainbrook roving the middle and scorers cutting around him, there's a chance X doesn't even try to establish the arc on Saturday.
-Control the glass. Seton Hall hasn't been shooting very well, but they are incredible at getting their own rebounds and recycling possession. If you want to know how Xavier's defense did in this game, check the rebounding percentages before the shooting percentage.
-Force the pace. Seton Hall is not deep and loves to play at a pedestrian speed. Xavier can get easy baskets and put stress on the Pirates' mediocre bench by getting the ball out and going after makes and misses. Of course, this is in part predicated on killing possessions with defensive rebounding (see above).
-Defend the high screen. Screening action on the ball gives Seton Hall options for Gibbs to get his shots, Mobley to pick and pop, Delgado to pin the block, and Sina to find himself unmarked in the corners. Abell fighting his way through screens and big men making sure they don't get hung out on hedging action is going to be vital on Saturday.