Prior to playing three road games in six days, Seton Hall (11-3, 1-1) will try to build upon a win over Marquette when they play host to bottom-feeding DePaul in a Saturday afternoon matinee.
Rejuvenated after six days of rest following a tough win against the Golden Eagles last weekend with half of Seton Hall’s team battling the flu, Kevin Willard’s team gets their easiest game on paper prior to one of their toughest stretches.
The Blue Demons (7-8, 0-2) are in the midst of a four-game losing skid that started with non-conference losses to Wyoming and Missouri State and has been perpetuated with a surprising three-point loss to Villanova at the Pavilion and a six-point defeat to St. John’s at home.
Dave Leitao’s team will probably surpass their nine-win count from last year, but the team remarkably has only moved up one spot in KenPom (181st) from where they finished at the end of 2015-16.
DePaul is still powered by lengthy senior point guard Billy Garrett Jr. (14.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) with impressive local wing Eli Cain (17.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) helping out, but quite a few new supporting cast members have emerged in the place of three departed starters.
The Blue Demons have solid average height across the board but really lack a towering center down low aside from 6-10 freshman Levi Cook (2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg), who partially replaces since-transferred Tommy Hamilton; no other player above 6-7 saw more than five minutes against Villanova or St. John’s.
6-7 junior college transfer Tre’Darius McCallum (10 ppg, 7.4 rpg) has soaked up a lot of minutes up front alongside junior Joe Hanel (3.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg), who saw little action over his first two years on the team.
DePaul’s lack of a towering center will probably leave Angel Delgado licking his chops at the chance of his ninth double-double in a row.
Outside of the paint, Garrett Jr. and Cain will be aided by freshman wing Brandon Cyrus (5.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and Western Kentucky transfer Chris Harrison-Docks (5.1 ppg), who will primarily launch from deep. The pair of newcomers have recently usurped senior mainstays Darrick Wood and RJ Curington due to man management from Dave Leitao.
If Kevin Willard can get his guys to continually feed Delgado and also key heavily on Garrett Jr. and Cain (30-79 3pt) defensively, there’s no reason why Seton Hall can’t win this game. Delgado eats up teams when he doesn’t have a size disadvantage while the Hall’s main challenge will be matching DePaul’s slightly superior backcourt length.
KenPom says: No. 54 Seton Hall 79, No. 181 DePaul 65 (89%)
Last 10 meetings (Seton Hall 6-4; 12-6 all-time)
March 5, 2016, SETON HALL 80, DePaul 66, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 2, 2016, SETON HALL 78, DePaul 74, Newark, N.J.
Feb. 3, 2015, DePaul 75, SETON HALL 62, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 22, 2015, DePaul 64, SETON HALL 60, Newark, N.J.
Feb. 25, 2014, DePaul 65, SETON HALL 60, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 25, 2014, SETON HALL 86, DePaul 69, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 2, 2013, SETON HALL 73, DePaul 72, Rosemont, Ill.
Mar. 3., 2012, DePaul 86, SETON HALL 58, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 10, 2012, SETON HALL 94, DePaul 73, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 12, 2011, SETON HALL 78, DePaul 67, Rosemont, Ill.
Projected DePaul starters
PG – Billy Garrett Jr
G – Eli Cain
G/F – Brandon Cyrus
F – Joe Hanel
F – Tre’Darius McCallum
Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Madison Jones
G – Khadeen Carrington
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Ish Sanogo
F – Angel Delgado
When: Saturday, noon
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM570 (Gary Cohen & Dave Popkin) / Sirius 108 / XM 201
Opening line: Seton Hall -14