Big East Basketball: Seton Hall-Cincinnati Preview

Seton Hall Pirates at Cincinnati Bearcats, Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, OH
Friday, December 31, 2010, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Cincinnati -7 1/2
Current Line: Cincinnati -9
Opening Total: 132 1/2
Current Total: 135 1/2
Money Line: Cincinnati -450 / Seton Hall +375

Yancy Gates and the Cincinanti Bearcats take on the Seton hall Pirates in Big East action. The Bearcats are 9 point favorites at home.

The 7-6 Seton Hall Pirates travel to Cincinnati to take on the 13-0 Bearcats. Both teams won their Big East Conference openers earlier in the week. Seton Hall won at home versus South Florida 64-55 on Tuesday night. Cincinnati beat DePaul at home 76-60. Seton Hall has played a pretty difficult schedule so far and has losses to Temple, Xavier, Clemson, Arkansas, Dayton, and Richmond. They have wins over Cornell, Alabama, and Massachusetts. Cincinnati is undefeated but has played a very soft schedule. Victories over Dayton and a rebuilding Oklahoma team are the best victories on the resume for the Bearcats. The schedule is so soft that Cincinnati is in the best conference in the country and undefeated and are not ranked in the top 25. Seton Hall has won 6 out the last 10 meetings between the two schools including the last 2. Last year Seton Hall won 83-76 in Newark. The Pirates covered the spread in the last two meetings. The Pirates are 13-24 ATS in all games the last two seasons, including 6-15 ATS after a conference game. Seton Hall is 9-20 ATS against teams with winning records the last two seasons. The Bearcats are 4-12 ATS in home games the last two years. Cincinnati is 6-15 ATS versus conference foes the last two years.

Seton Hall is outscoring opponents 70-63 on the year. The Pirates are shooting 41.8% from the field and 32.6% from 3 point range. The Pirates are holding opponents to 38.8% shooting from the field. Seton Hall makes 67.7 percent of their free throws. Senior guard Jeremy Hazell  was the teams leading scorer with 24 a game, but he is out indefinitely with a broken wrist. He only played in 3 games before his injury. Senior forward Jeff Robinson is scoring 12.6 ppg and is averaging  6.2 rebounds a game. Point guard Jordan Theodore scores 12.4 ppg and leads the team in assists with 5 a game. He is also averaging 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game. Fuquan Edwin leads the team in steals with 1.6 a game. He is also averaging 9.2 points and 4 rebounds a game. Herb Pope is averaging 8.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game. He is the team leader in both rebounds and blocks. Seton Hall averages 38.2  rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +1.1. They are averaging 14.1 assists and 12.3 turnovers a game. They force 14.9 turnovers a game on defense. Seeton Hall averages 6.7 steals and 4.0 blocks a game.

Cincinnati is outscoring opponents 76-55 on the season. The Bearcats are shooting 45.2% from the field and 36.6% from 3 point range. Bearcat opponents are shooting 37.7% from the field. The Bearcats shoot 64.4% from the free throw line. Junior guard Dion Dixon is the leading scorer with 13.0 ppg. Forward Yancy Gates leads the team in blocks with 1.7 a game. He also averages 11.7 ppg, and 6.6 rebounds. Point guard Cashmere Wright leads the team in assists with 3.8 a game and steals with 1.9 a game. He is also scoring 9.5 ppg. Ibrahima Thomas leads the team in rebounds with 6.8 a game. The Bearcats average 39.2 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +8.2. The Bearcats average 15.8 assists and 11 turnovers a game. Cincinnati forces 16.4 turnovers a game. They force 9.2 steals and 4.1 blocks a game.

Cincinnati is off to their best start since 2003-04. It is mostly due to  the tissue soft schedule they have played. It will come back to haunt them once they get into the meat of the rugged Big East schedule. Seton Hall’s offense just isn’t as dynamic without Hazell in the line-up. Cincinnati will probably have enough to beat a mediocre Seton Hall team at home, but their luck will run out when they have to play Pitt, UConn, Syracuse , or any of the other elite teams in the Big East.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot this season as conference play begins. Don’t miss out on any more winners this year or next!

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