Villanova Wildcats at Seton Hall Pirates, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN3
Opening Line: Villanova -3
Current Line: Villanova -3
Opening Total: 135
Money Line: Villanova -155 / Seton Hall +135
The 15th-ranked Villanova Wildcats (19-6, 7-5 Big East) will try to avoid a season-high three-game losing streak when they visit the Seton Hall Pirates (11-14, 5-8) on Tuesday. The Wildcats (-3) played their first game of the season without guard Corey Stokes due to a toe injury and dropped their second in a row for the second time this season at home to Pittsburgh on Saturday, 57-54.
Villanova totaled a season low in points against the Panthers without Stokes, shooting just 36 percent from the field (18 of 50). The Wildcats outrebounded Pitt by a 33-21 margin and held the opposition to 1 of 10 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc but could not pull off the victory. Mouphtaou Yarou totaled a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss while Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns combined for 24 points on 8 of 19 shooting in the backcourt.
This will be the second trip to New Jersey for Villanova over the past week, as Rutgers stunned the Wildcats 77-76 last Wednesday behind a 4-point play with one second remaining. Stokes played 26 minutes in that game and would have played more had the injury not started to bother him. He is averaging 14.6 points per game this season and simply chose to rest against the Panthers. If he misses any more time, Fisher and Wayns must to find a way to score more.
Seton Hall did something Villanova could not on Saturday, earning a 69-64 road win against the Scarlet Knights. The Pirates snapped a two-game skid by jumping out to a 34-27 halftime lead and held on despite a game-high 24 points from Rutgers forward Jonathan Mitchell. Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell scored a team-high 19 points to become the fourth Pirate to reach 2,000 for his career.
The Wildcats have won the last eight meetings with Seton Hall, but the Pirates have gone 4-1 against the spread in the past five games between the teams. Hazell scored a game-high 32 points in an 81-71 loss to Villanova last season and 26 the year before in an 89-85 setback in overtime. He may need to have another monster game here after the team dismissed senior guards Keon Lawrence (4.5 points per game) and Jamel Jackson (4.6 ppg) after Saturday’s game for violating team rules.
The UNDER is 3-0-1 in Seton Hall’s last four games overall and 5-1 in the past six games for the Wildcats, who have gone 1-5 ATS during that stretch. The Pirates are 4-1 ATS in their past five games overall after failed to cover their previous three during a three-game losing streak.
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