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Xavier v. Seton Hall: preview, matchups, keys to the game

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These are the games for which Xavier joined the Big East.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Butler
He looks so happy.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Seton Hall is kind of where Xavier was a week ago. Like the Muskies then, they’ve dropped their last two road games, though they did have a home win against Georgetown sandwiched between the two Ls. Those losses - at Marquette and Creighton - dropped them from 19th to 33rd in the KenPom and set them at 4-2, a stride behind the Big East’s leaders.

Like Xavier, Seton Hall has been bulletproof at home this year. The Pirates are 11-0 at home, though their win over Creighton is their best by a long stretch. Xavier will come in riding the confidence borne of a couple of good home wins and looking to pick up a monstrous roadkill.

Team fingerprint

Seton Hall has actually been sort of mediocre during Big East play, ranking 7th in the conference in adjusted efficiency at each end.

On the whole, their defense has been very solid. They excel at keeping opponents off the line and have done a really above average job in EFG% defense and forcing turnovers. Weirdly for a team with Angel Delgado, their defensive rebounding has been incredibly mediocre. Teams also shoot really well from the line against them, for whatever that’s worth.

Speaking of the line, Seton Hall sucks from it. They’re 301st in the nation at 66.7% on the year. They also turn the ball over a lot, making two fairly controllable things they’re not controlling at the offensive end. On the other hand, they’re an incredible offensive rebounding team that shoots the three ball well. One thing to keep an eye on is their two-point shooting; they’re 88th in the nation at 52.4% on the year, but they’re only shooting 48.7% from inside the arc in Big East play.

They get a lot of their shots blocked. I don’t know why.

Personnel

  • Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell are good at free throws. The rest of the team isn’t.
  • Other than Madison Jones, Seton Hall brought back basically everyone who sniffed the court last year. If they’re going to make a run, this is probably the team to do it.

Starters

Starting matchups
Khadeen Carrington Point Guard Quentin Goodin
Senior Class Sophomore
6'4", 195 Measurements 6'4", 190
13.7/2.9/4.2 Game line 7.5/3/5.6
0.395/0.361/0.829 Shooting line 0.394/0.115/0.843
Carrington is excellent at the line and distributes the ball well. What he doesn't do well is shoot inside the arc, finishing at the rim at just barely over 50%. Still, his ability to get to the line and finish there makes him an efficient offensive player.
Myles Powell Shooting Guard J.P. Macura
Sophomore Class Senior
6'2", 195 Measurements 6'5", 203
14.5/2.2/2.6 Game line 12.6/4.2/3.3
0.477/0.419/0.824 Shooting line 0.468/0.366/0.844
Powell can flat out shoot it from basically anywhere on the floor and at the line. If Powell is set or can step into his shot, he will make you pay.
Desi Rodriguez Small Forward Trevon Bluiett
Senior Class Senior
6'6", 220 Measurements 6'6", 202
17.5/5.1/2.1 Game line 19.4/5.6/2.7
0.498/0.368/0.704 Shooting line 0.459/0.429/0.822
Rodriguez is a decent outside shooter, but he's far better inside the arc and he gets fully a third of his shots at the rim. If Powell is a shooter, Rodriguez is a pure scorer. Assuming, of course, he doesn't spend the game pouting on the bench.
Ismael Sanogo Power Forward Kaiser Gates
Junior Class Junior
6'8", 215 Measurements 6'8", 228
4.8/4.7/0.9 Game line 9/5.1/0.9
0.556/0.25/0.5 Shooting line 0.451/0.451/0.824
Sanogo is theoretically present on the offensive end of the floor, but where he excels is on defense. Sanogo rejects shots at a 5.3% rate and gathers steals at a 2.7% rate to go along with his 17.4% defensive rebounding rate.
Angel Delgado Center Kerem Kanter
Junior Class Senior
6'10", 245 Measurements 6'10", 240
13.7/11.3/3.1 Game line 10.4/6/0.7
0.493/0/0.602 Shooting line 0.573/0.355/0.793
Delgado is a monster on the glass. He's seventh in the nation on the offensive end, 28th on the defensive. While Delgado is tough inside, he's not as great a finisher as you might think. His 62.8% field goal percentage at the rim is essentially the same as JP Macura's.

Reserves

Michael Nzei plays almost as much as Sanogo and is nearly as effective. Both stand 6-8, but Nzei uses that more to his advantage offensively, especially on the glass. Next comes 6-5 swingman Myles Cale. Cale is a mediocre shooter outside but is excellent at the rim and pulling up for a two point jumper, on which he shoots 45%. Sandro Mamukelashvill (sounds just like it is spelled), is a 6-10 big who, for reasons known only to him has gone 4-21 behind the arc this year. He is, at best, a decent interior weapon. Eron Gordon will get time spelling the guards, but he rarely makes himself a threat offensively and turns the ball over 27% of the time he touches it.

Three questions

-What’s up with Desi Rodriguez? The Seton Hall senior got just six minutes against Creighton, and Kevin Willard later said it was because he looked like he didn’t want to be there. Rodriguez then fired back on Twitter. I don’t necessarily cheer for a coach and player to squabble like little children, but it wouldn’t break my heart if Desi pouted his way through this one.

-Can X get back to ball security? Let’s hope the St. John’s game was just a one-off, because the Muskies - and especially my best friend Quentin Goodin - looked for parts of the game like they didn’t understand that you need to have the ball to score. Seton Hall does okay at forcing turnovers; Xavier needs to make sure they don’t look any better than that.

-Can Xavier get to the line? Seton Hall is the best in the conference in defending without sending opponents to the line, and that figures to be even more prominent at home. Meanwhile, Xavier gets 22% of their points from the line, second in the Big East. If the Pirates and/or the officials aren’t letting Xavier shoot FTs, X is going to have to amend the ol’ game plan accordingly.

Three keys

-Home cooking. Seton Hall is just really good at home. They’re actually pretty good everywhere, really, but KenPom gives them the fourth best home-court advantage in the Big East, behind X, Marquette (wouldn’t have guessed that one), and Creighton. This is a win Seton Hall could really use, and I would suspect Xavier will be battling a fairly hostile crowd.

-Neutralize Delgado. Of Delgado’s five worst games by ORtg, Seton Hall has lost four, including a 4/4/0 showing with 5 TO against Creighton last time out. Delgado’s averaging 14 and 11, but he’s only shooting .493/.000/.602. Xavier can play him straight up and, with 15 fouls worth of big man to run at him, make him earn his points at the line.

-Win on the glass. Xavier’s defensive rebounding has hit another level in conference play, but Seton Hall flies to the offensive glass as a team. On the other end, Xavier has the clear statistical advantage on the glass. Second-chance points can be huge on the road, and if Xavier’s getting them - assuming X doesn’t just go ahead and drop another 14-26 from deep - they’ll be in good shape.