Big East Basketball Picks: Providence Friars at Seton Hall Pirates

Providence Friars at Seton Hall Pirate
Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
Friday, February 28, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Network
Opening Line: Seton Hall -2 1/2
Current Line: Seton Hall -3 1/2
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 136 1/2
Opening Money Line: Seton Hall -140 / Providence +120
Current money Line: Seton Hall -170 / Providence +145 

Providence is on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and faces a must win at Seton Hall Friday night.
Providence is on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and faces a must win at Seton Hall Friday night.

The 18-10 Providence Friars are projected to be the last team to make the NCAA tournament, according to Joe Lunardi of The Friars don’t have a large margin of error as they travel to the 14-14 Seton Hall Pirates Friday night in a Big East game. Providence is fifth in the Big East at 8-7, 5 games behind conference co-leaders Creighton and Villanova. Seton Hall is 8th in conference at 5-10.

Providence leads the series 47-46 against Seton Hall, but the Pirates are 26-19 in Newark against the Friars. seton Hall won the season’s first meeting 81-80 in a double overtime thriller in Providence December 31. It was the Big East opener for both teams.

Providence is coached by Ed Cooley. The Friars have losses to Maryland in a tournament in the Virgin Islands, Kentucky in Brooklyn, at Massachusetts, Seton Hall, Villanova twice, at Marquette, St. John’s, at Xavier, and at Georgetown. Providence has key wins over Boston College, Brown, Marist, Vermont, Vanderbilt and LaSalle in the Virgin Islands, Fairfield, at Rhode island, Yale, Georgetown, at St. John’s, Creighton, Butler twice (including 87-81 in Indianapolis Sunday), Xavier and DePaul twice. The Friars are 14-13 ATS and the total is 14-13 this season.

Providence is outscoring teams 73-69 this season. The Friars are shooting 42.4% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Providence leads the nation in free throw shooting at 79% from the line. Friar opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 32.9% from 3 point range. Providence averages 36.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.1 per game. The Friars average 13.9 points, 12.1 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.6 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.

Guard Bryce Cotton averages 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. Forward LaDontae Henton averages 13.2 points, 7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Forward Kadeem Batts averages 12.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Forward Tyler Harris averages 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Josh Fortune and Carson Desrosiers will also get significant minutes. Desrosiers leads the team in blocks with 2.6 per game. Guard Kriss Dunn is out for the season with a shoulder injury, but played in only 4 games before the injury.

Seton Hall is coached by Kevin Willard. The Pirates have losses at Mercer, Oklahoma in a tournament in Brooklyn, Farleigh Dickinson, St. Peter’s, Creighton twice, Villanova twice, Marquette twice, St. John’s twice,  Butler and at DePaul 65-60 Tuesday. Seton Hall has key wins over Niagara, Kent State, Virginia Tech in Brooklyn, at Rutgers, Lafayette, at Providence, Georgetown twice, DePaul, and at Xavier. The Pirates have lost 5 of their last 6 games, including 2 straight games. Seton Hall is 14-13 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season.

Seton Hall is outscoring teams 74-71 this season. The Pirates are shooting 46.1% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. Seton Hall makes 72.6% of their free throws. Pirate opponents are shooting 44.5% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. Seton Hall averages 32.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.8 per game. The Pirates average 13.6 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.3 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

Guard/forward Fuquan Edwin averages 15.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.9 steals per game. Guard Sterling Gibbs averages 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.  Guard/forward Brian Oliver averages 11 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Center Gene Teague averages 10.3 points, and 7.5 rebounds per game. Forward Patrik Auda averages 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Forward Brandon Mobley averages 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1 block per game. Guard Jaren Sina averages 6.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Stephane Manga, Tom Maayan, Aaron Geramipoor, and Haralds Karlis will also get significant time in the rotation.

Providence is 4-1 ATS overall, and in Big East games, 6-2 after a win and a cover, and 4-9 against teams with winning home records. The road team has covered 12 of the last 17 games in this series.

Seton Hall is 6-2 ATS after failing to cover, 5-2 after a straight up loss, 7-3 against teams with winning records, and 8-18-1 at home. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 games in Newark in this series.

Neither of these teams have been that great recently, but Providence needs this win to keep their tournament hopes alive. Bryce Cotton’s numbers would normally be in serious consideration for Big East player of the year, but he plays in the same conference as likely national player of the year Doug McDermott from Creighton. I think this will be a close game, but Providence wins late.

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