Seton Hall sophomores looking to notch first win against Butler

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Again taking on Butler following four consecutive victories, Seton Hall will try once more to win five straight in Big East play for the first time since 2009.

Around a 10- or 11-seed, the Bulldogs (19-9, 9-8) are fighting for their bubble lives and are surely aiming to finish league play with two home wins against the Hall (21-7, 11-5) and Marquette to improve their NCAA chances heading into the Big East Tournament.

Now locked into a tournament bid, Seton Hall is looking to boost their current 7- or 8-seed status even further with an impressive road scalp; Butler is 58th in RPI but has only lost to Xavier, Villanova and Providence (a December 31st Friar team) at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year.

The Hall have an opportunity to do the unprecedented and set a new program record of six away wins in the Big East. They have previously won five on the road four different times (1988-89, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1999-00).

In what was and still may be a career night, Isaiah Whitehead scored 26 points via a flawless 7-7 from three in the first half of the first meeting while also dishing 10 assists. But his team was ultimately torched on the defensive end to the tune of 1.17 PPP by the Bulldogs in an effort that Whitehead called “probably the worst defensive game all year.”

Derrick Gordon hounded Kellen Dunham well in the first half but ultimately had an off night in Newark against Butler and will undoubtedly try to take his game to another level on Wednesday night; Seton Hall was really missing that fifth player production between Ish Sanogo, Gordon and Mike Nzei in game one.

The Pirates are playing better than they were when the two schools met 3 weeks ago but the game still signifies this team kicking it into a higher gear. While a common thought is that this could be a “hangover” game after taking out No. 5 Xavier, don’t forget about the motivation that will be present for being left out of the top-25 and this group of sophomores having an 0-3 record against Butler on their minds.

For Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard, he left media with a short but simple “I need to figure out Butler” after his win over Xavier on Sunday. While his tone was a little joking in nature, it also couldn’t be more true: Willard is 1-5 against the Bulldogs since 2014 and has never won in Indianapolis.

Riding the biggest wave of momentum this program has seen in over a decade, there’s no better chance to do so than tonight.

KenPom says: No. 39 Butler 75, No. 30 Seton Hall 73 (39%)

Series history (Butler 5-1):

Feb. 10, 2016, Butler 81, SETON HALL 75, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 25, 2015, Butler 77, SETON HALL 57, Indianapolis, IN
Jan. 13, 2015, Butler 79, SETON HALL 75 (ot), Newark, N.J.
March 12, 2014, SETON HALL 51, Butler 50, New York, N.Y.
March 8, 2014, Butler 71, SETON HALL 54, Indianapolis, IN
Jan. 29, 2014, Butler 64, SETON HALL 57, Newark, N.J.

Projected Butler starters:

Roosevelt Jones (14.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.6 apg)
Kellen Dunham (16.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Andrew Chrabascz (10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
Kelan Martin (16.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
Tyler Wideman (8.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg)

Projected Seton Hall starters:

Isaiah Whitehead (17.1 ppg, 5 apg)
Khadeen Carrington (13.6 ppg, 2.5 apg)
Desi Rodriguez (12.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Ismael Sanogo (4.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Angel Delgado (10.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg)

Time: 8:30et, FS1
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: 970AM
Opening line: Seton Hall +5

  • PadrePirate

    Going to be a super tough game. BU clearly has the edge in motivation as a bubble team before their home crowd in Indy. To win this one would be even bigger than vs X in a lot of ways. I kind of expect our guys to come out flat and play catch up most of the game.

    Still, I hope that Chris is right on what might motivate our boys–lack of media respect, slump against BU, needing to boost our seed, etc.

    If we can pull off this road W, there’s nothing this team can’t do.

  • jfp1992

    We’ll find out tonight if they can stay focused on the task at hand. Every game is important this time of year, regardless of the opponent.
    If they can win tonight and Sunday, they’re looking at a top 25 ranking and a chance for better than a 7-8 seed in the NCAA.
    Lose tonight, Sunday and at MSG and they’re back on the bubble.
    I hope they see that, because when they’re locked in, they’re tough to beat.

  • Matt

    Tough game to play. Butler is fighting for a postseason. Not overly optimistic on this one.

  • hallstorm

    Even before the Providence game I thought this would be their toughest test yet. Butler plays methodically and with precision. It’s a good test for our patience. I actually like this game going into post season play. It’s the perfect antithesis to Villanova.

    • VinBick

      When evaluating the Hall’s chances down the road near the end of the season, I thought 3-3 was the realistic finish. Always expected that this game, Providence, and Xavier would be the three losses. Still do not expect a “W” tonight because they are well-balanced, at home, and seem to be in our coach and team members’ heads.

      With that said, these kids and our coaching staff have been performing like an elite team down this stretch. They are on a mission, and still are not getting the respect they deserve. Nothing should surprise us tonight! Go Pirates!

  • Andrew Herbst

    This will be a great test tonight. Butler is a really tough place to play. They’re also fighting for a tourney spot. We have to stay focused and not have a letdown like in previous years after a huge win.

  • Matty P

    This will be a very tough test. I’m sure there is going to be a crowd that will be making noise similar to how the rock was against Xavier. One thing I’m glad about is that we’re not there for senior night because that would make it that much more difficult. If this team can come out and take the first couple blows and keep it close in the first couple mins they should be in good shape. If they come out similar to how Xavier came out against them then it’s going to be tough to claw back into the game.

  • Fishjam

    Very tough challenge and I hope there is no hangover because every game is important for seeding and until they get another Win they still are not a lock for the Tourney as their RPI would take a big hit if they lose to Butler and DePaul even though both are on the road.

    If the Pirates bring their defense and just play solid offensively they can pull this out. Last time Butler out-hustled us to every loose ball and rebound and our defensive effort was lackluster yet we still were in it at the end. If the red had called Chabarz crack-back block a foul on Roosevelta floater we could have tied it up.

    Butlers a tough matchup bc they have 3 offensive weapons on the perimeter who all have good size. And since they usually play them with 2 Power Forwards in Wideman and Chabarz, it’s hard for us to put Ish on Martin. If we do, Desi has to play as a PF vs one of the bigs. He’s certainly capable but will have to use a lot of energy boxing out, playing D and rebounding. Also when DG is on the bench one of Dino or Z has to guard Dunham which exerts a lot of energy chasing him through screens.

    Play our style D, bring the energy and look to get Angel and Desi involved offensively and we can win. Oh and shut down Roosevelt in crunch time as that guy always seems to hit the big shot against us!

    • LBP

      I think Roosevelt Jones is a 12th year senior

  • ThePirateFan

    This’ll be a tough one. Those kenpom predictions are no joke. They actually gave SHU a slight edge against Xavier the other night, so they’re definitely doing some work from behind tonight. Add in the possibility of the post-big-win emotional letdown and it’s a bad recipe.

    The ‘special’ teams find ways to pull out these kinds of games, so let’s see what kind of metal our guys are made of.

  • LBP

    Hall running in mud– long Game and Hall has better athletes but Refs own this Game

  • PadrePirate

    Looking pretty bad. Didn’t expect a win, but not expecting a blow out either. Can’t seem to stop KD on the perimeter and not enough offense from the paint.

    • LBP

      Let’s at least play D and Rebound –Refs will not help Hall –I do not want to see head-hanging

  • LBP

    Love the fight in our Team

    • WilponsStinkLessNow

      Wow, incredible defense on this run. 3 or 4 TOs in a row and forced a timeout on an in-bound.

  • LBP

    Refs really too much

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    Nice job, refs. Now go back to Foot Locker.

  • Matty P

    I think I’m with Willard that I can’t wait for Jones to graduate. The kid makes so many strange shots that it’s almost impossible to defend. The team fought back, but if they would have brought some of that defensive intensity in the first half they could have won. Also the one missed layup on a breakaway per game from Gordon really hurt in this one. Time to put it behind us and look towards DePaul to close the season out with a win and avoid any bad losses.

  • Louie Dee

    I’ve said it several times, Willard needs to stop putting Butler on a pedestal and beat them already.

    He glorifies Butler whenever he’s asked a question about them. If your coach is pessimistic about playing a team how do you expect the players to be, better yet perform.