Marquette Golden Eagles (15-7, 4-5) at Seton Hall Pirates (15-6, 5-4)
Marquette Stat Leaders
Points: Henry Ellenson, 16.3 ppg
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson, 10.0 rpg
Assists: Traci Carter, 4.4 apg
Seton Hall Stat Leaders
Points: Isaiah Whitehead, 16.0 ppg
Rebounds: Angel Delgado, 9.9 rpg
Assists: Isaiah Whitehead, 4.5 apg
Current KenPom Rankings
Seton Hall: #32
KenPom Prediction: Seton Hall has an 85% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 77-66.
Tempo Free Fun: We have an interesting battle brewing on Seton Hall's offensive end. The Pirates have a top 75 offense, while Marquette has a top 50 defense. However, the reason why Seton Hall is so good is Marquette's biggest defensive weakness. SHU is a lousy shooting team, a bad ball control team, and a mediocre crew at getting to the line. They are, however, an elite offensive rebounding team, ranking #29 in the country in Offensive Rebounding Rate and tops in the Big East in league games. Marquette is openly bad at defensive rebounding, ranking #247 in the country at the defensive side of OR%, and ninth in the league. The Golden Eagles will need to use their advantage at forcing turnovers against a bad ball control team like SHU to just flat out prevent them from shooting in the first place.
Meanwhile, Marquette desperately needs to hold on to the ball once they get it. Since the end of the Butler game, things have shifted around MU to drop the Golden Eagles down to #300 in the country at Offensive Turnover Rate. A reminder: there are only 351 teams in Division 1. Seton Hall's actually better at forcing turnovers than Marquette is, albeit by one-tenth of one percentage point, but that's a scary situation for Marquette. If they are entertaining any kind of postseason hope, Steve Wojciechowski and crew have to stack up wins and they have to do it now. They can not cost themselves wins by turning the ball over at the rate that they've been going in league play: nearly 22% of Big East offensive possessions for Marquette have ended in a turnover, the second worst mark in the conference.
Since Last We Met: Seton Hall has gone 4-4 in Big East action since these two teams opened up league play against each other on December 30th. It's kind of not their fault, as the vagaries of the schedule had the Pirates tangling with Villanova twice in 14 days. They were two fairly competitive games against the Wildcats, especially in the game at the Prudential Center where SHU had a 69-67 lead as the game approached just three minutes remaining. On the flipside, the Pirates got clonked by Creighton at home, too, but part of that 15 point loss was Kevin Willard benching Isaiah Whitehead, Angel Delgado, and Desi Rodriguez in the second half. Seton Hall did get revenge against Creighton on their trip to Omaha back on Saturday, coming away with a 10 point win.
Their other loss was on a road trip to Xavier, and there's nothing wrong with that. They went to Providence and took home a win, which is becoming a weird trend for the Friars. Their other wins came against DePaul and St. John's, both in home game situations, which we can file in the "taking care of business" category.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with wins in their last three games.
Seton Hall Last 10 Games: 6-4, with wins in their last two games.
All Time Series: Marquette has a 15-4 advantage.
Current Streak: Seton Hall won the game earlier this season to snap a two game winning streak by Marquette.
Henry Ellenson Watch: Ellenson will need 20 points against Seton Hall to catch Bo Ellis for the fifth most points by a Marquette freshman. He already has the seventh most field goals made and the eighth most field goals attempted. With his 14th and final made free throw against Butler, Ellenson broke Duane Wilson's record for free throws made by a freshman, giving him 90 on the season. He's sitting at 120 free throw attempts on the year, which is the third most by a Marquette freshman, and five behind Wilson's second best total from last year. He continues to inch closer to Bo Ellis' freshman record for rebounds, now sitting at 219, 45 caroms behind Ellis. Ellenson's six blocks against Butler moved him to 38 on the season and solidly in second place amongst Marquette rookies, but still nowhere near Jim McIlvaine's freshman record of 92.
Traci Carter Watch: After his four assist performance against Butler, Carter is up to 97 assists on the season. That boosts him out of a tie for fourth place with Cordell Henry. He's still a long way from catching Doc Rivers for third place, but he's easily on pace to surpass Doc's 112 total from 1980-81.
Follow Along On Twitter
@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@SetonHallMBB - Official Seton Hall account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that's us!
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@DalyDoseOfHoops - Everyone's favorite independent NYC area hoops blog
@Matt_Velazquez - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat reporter