Marquette is up next for No. 13 Seton Hall as the Pirates look to close out a successful trip to the Midwest and improve to 4-0 in Big East play for the first time since 1992-93.
The last time the Hall (14-2, 3-0) started a conference season 4-0, league play began in early December, P.J. Carlesimo was on the sideline, and Miami, UConn, Providence, and Syracuse were the opponents.
That year, Seton Hall was 13-1 and seventh in the country before finally faltering against Pittsburgh.
Now with their highest ranking since January of 2001 after a substantial spike in another scrambled up poll, high-powered Marquette (11-5, 2-2) is next on the docket.
(Fun fact: An eight-spot jump from No. 21 to No. 13 matches the highest in-season jump from one week to the next in program history. The Pirates were also +8 (21 to 13) after winning the 1991 BIG EAST Championship.)
A Golden Eagle offense top-15 in efficiency will test Seton Hall’s defensive strength, especially from the perimeter where they are tenth nationally in percentage of points coming from behind the arc.
Backcourt duo Markus Howard (23.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 65-162 3pt) and Andrew Rowsey (21 ppg, 4 apg, 57-132 3pt) can and will rain threes while stretch-four Sam Hauser (14 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 45-93 3pt) will pull his defender far from the paint.
Howard has turned heads nationally, most recently with a 52-point bomb at Providence that included 11 of 19 made threes. Still just a young sophomore, Howard has surely played himself onto NBA radars; he has made all 51 free throws he has attempted this year and is 11th in percentage of team shots taken.
A young team (315th in exp.), Marquette has reached 90+ points seven times but have also allowed 80+ in nine of their 16 games, which will likely make for an entertaining affair at the Bradley Center.
For Seton Hall, Angel Delgado’s (14.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg) rampage continues as he is now third nationally in OReb% after reeling in six against Butler as he dominated the paint throughout; Delgado is averaging 13.6 rpg in Big East play and pulled down 47 boards against Marquette in three games last year including 13 offensive rebounds on the road.
Not far behind him as far as recent form goes, Khadeen Carrington (15.1 ppg, 3.9 apg) has scored 20+ in three of his last five all while averaging 3.2 apg — the senior guard has rebounded nicely from a humbling performance in the loss at Rutgers. Carrington will have his hands full again as he goes up against two of the league’s best in Rowsey and Howard.
Kevin Willard will hope his team has recovered from a recent flu bug that has affected multiple players including relegating Myles Powell (14.3 ppg, 2.7 apg) to the bench for Butler. Powell did manage to play a meaningful 21 minutes that included a late three from the exact same spot he hit the clincher last season at Hinkle.
Keys to victory: Crowding the perimeter and making Marquette beat you inside; speed up the tempo slightly, drawing fouls and using athletic strength; feed Angel to get inside-out going
Worth reading: Full Willard quotebook from post-Butler
KenPom says: No. 18 Seton Hall 83, No. 45 Marquette 82
Series history: 7-16 SH
Projected Marquette starters
G – Andrew Rowsey
G – Markus Howard
G/F – Sacar Anim
F – Sam Hauser
C – Matt Heldt
Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Mike Nzei
F – Angel Delgado
TV: 9et, CBS Sports Network
Opening line: Even