The last time the UConn Huskies and the Seton Hall Pirates faced off, the unranked Huskies fell at the hands of the No. 24 Pirates away in an overtime thriller. Now the tables have turned, as unranked Seton Hall travels to face No. 24 Huskies in what is sure to be another intense matchup.
No. 24 Connecticut (17-7, 8-5 Big East) has hit a bit of a rough patch, which is easy to come across in a tough conference like the Big East. The team has dropped three of their last five games to quality opponents Creighton, Villanova and Xavier, but are hoping to channel some momentum from their last game, a win over St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.
The Huskies are led by guard R.J. Cole, who tops the team’s charts in points per game and assists per game with 16.2 and 4.5, respectively. While having an off shooting night against St. John’s, the senior still made a big impact for UConn, passing out five dimes and scoring 14 points. Cole is the clear-cut leader of this team, and you can expect him to have another consistent game on Wednesday night.
One player for Connecticut who has seen a lot of success recently has been Tyrese Martin. The veteran guard comes in at third on the team in points per game, using his craftiness at the rim along with a dangerous three-point shot. After failing to reach double digit points in consecutive games, Martin is currently on a four-game streak of scoring 14 points or more. In Sunday’s game, his four three-pointers in the second half helped put the Huskies in a better position to win, and he’ll look to have the same kind of impact in this upcoming contest.
Seton Hall University (SHU), 15-8, 6-7 for the Big East, has had an up-and-down season thus far. The Pirates came out of the gate scorching hot with wins over then-No. 4 Michigan and then-No. 7 Texas, getting two top 10 wins on their resume by early December. Then, a brutal conference schedule hit, which saw SHU lose six of their first nine Big East matchups. The team is trending in the right direction, however, winning three of their last four, only falling to powerhouse Villanova on the road. The KenPom ratings currently have Seton Hall as the 34th ranked team in the country, so by no means will this be an easy battle for UConn.
The Pirates are captained by Preseason All-Big East First Teamer Jared Rhoden, who leads Seton Hall in points per game with 15.4 and is second on the team in rebounds per game with 6.8. SHU also boasts the conference’s premier shot-blocker in Ike Obiagu, who tops the charts with 3.4 blocks per game, running for fifth in the entire nation. He will certainly try to give guys like Adama Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley a tough time down low on Wednesday.
In the last matchup between these two teams, it was the Kadary Richmond show, as the Seton Hall sophomore dropped a game-high 27 points in as many minutes of game time. Fellow guard, Bryce Aiken, also found success, earning 22 points and passing out seven assists. While Aiken will be out on Wednesday, the Huskies’ guards need to limit the impact of driving guards in the lane and keep them away from the charity stripe.
The key player to watch for Connecticut is Adama Sanogo, who has turned into a “Seton Hall killer” of sorts. While the big man has gotten into early foul trouble recently and only put up eight points in the team’s last contest, historically, Sanogo has performed well against the Pirates. In three games against the team that strongly recruited him, he has dropped 46 points on 20-for-35 shooting alongside 27 rebounds. The only problem with that stat line is that it comes with just a 1-2 record.
Now, it is the Huskies who control home-court advantage in a late-night contest between two top 40 teams in the nation. This isn’t necessarily a “must-win” for UConn, but could be another big addition to an already impressive tournament resume. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on CBSSN.