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Big East Tournament semifinal: Xavier v. Seton Hall preview

Don't make Sad Coach Mack come back.
Don't make Sad Coach Mack come back.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Every team left in the Big East Tournament will hear its name called on Selection Sunday. Despite that certainty of inclusion, each of the teams has something left to play for. Villanova has a chance to move high enough as a one seed to play in the East region, giving themselves practical home tournament games. Xavier could, with the right combination of unlikely results, sneak onto the one line.

Further down, Providence and Seton Hall are playing for favorable matchups, trying to distance themselves from the 8-9 games. The Pirates battled through a game Creighton team last night, giving up a nine-point halftime advantage before fighting back and taking the win behind Isaiah Whitehead's 24/12/6 and 27 from Khadeen Carrington.

Xavier made light work of Marquette in the early game. Tre Bluiett dropped 24 on Henry Ellenson as Xavier put 5 players into double figures. Ed Sumner kicked in 7 assists for fun, and the team gang rebounded to glide past the Golden Eagles.

Now X and Seton Hall come head to head for the rubber match on the year. Whoever wins the game will face the winner of Nova and Providence, which will likely be Nova.

Top performers

You basically have to start with Isaiah Whitehead here. He has averaged 19.5 against X this year, but he has needed to do an awful lot of shooting to get there. He doesn't mind that. Of more note, has has 13 turnovers in the first two meetings between these teams.

Desi Rodriguez, on the other hand, has feasted against Xavier. He has dropped 48 points on 19-30 shooting, gotten to the line, and basically done whatever he has wanted. He must be gleeful at an opportunity to bust thay out in MSG with everybody and his mum watching.

Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado has averaged 12 and 7.5 against Xavier this year. He's a monster on the glass who has a motor than doesn't quit. Khadeen Carrington is a strwak-shooting guard who could decide the game either way when he lifts, and former UMass guard Derrick Gordon is a noted defensive ace.

Three Keys

-Own the glass. Seton Hall has done well in offensive rebounding in both games, but they really excelled early in their win over X. The Muskies have to complete stops with defensive rebounds; the Pirates have too many solid offensive players for X to hand them free possessions.

-Pound the post. James Farr as 41 points against Seton Hall this year. They don't have an answer for him. He has also shot 18 free throws in those two games. The implications of that fact should be fairly obvious to you; I'm not here to spoon feed.

-Share the ball. The more rotations Xavier can go through, the more trouble Seton Hall is going to have with them. The Muskies did a much better job of keeping the ball moving in the win than they did in the loss. If yesterday's demolition of Marquette showed us anything, it's that Xavier can't be stopped when they remember the first lesson you learn in kindergarten.