Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#713 Seton Hall vs.
#714 Rutgers
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 4:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#713 Seton Hall University
#714 Rutgers University
6-3
6-3
17-17
16-14-1
15-19
15-15-1
73
67
71
68

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The No.22-ranked Seton Hall Pirates will head to the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday afternoon as they prepare for a Tier-A non-conference showdown against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Fresh off its biggest win of the season, Rutgers will get a chance for its second straight quality victory against a nationally-ranked Pirates’ team. At 6-3, Seton Hall enters the weekend ranked No. 22 in the AP Top-25 Poll with all three of their losses coming in Tier-A contests. Can the Pirates get back on the winning track on the road against a rapidly-improving Rutgers’ basketball program?

Powell leading Pirates during 6-3 start

Playing in its second straight game against Iowa State, the Pirates came up short on the road 77-66 versus the Cyclones on Sunday. Myles Powell was the lone Pirates’ player to finish in double-figures with 19 points and eight rebounds while Myles Cale and Quincy McKnight added nine points apiece in a losing effort. Seton Hall shot just 8-for-30 from beyond the arc and committed 20 turnovers in a sloppy offensive performance.

Kevin Willard has guided Seton Hall to a 6-3 record through their first nine games and the Pirates come in ranked No. 18 in the latest KenPom rankings and No. 22 in the AP Top-25 Poll. Led by dynamic senior guard Myles Powell (22.9 points per game), the Pirates enter Saturday’s matchup scoring 110.2 points per 100 possessions (20th in the NCAA) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 53.6 percent (53rd in the NCAA). Seton Hall also does a good job of taking care of the basketball (113th in the NCAA) and they do most of their damage from beyond the arc, where they have shot 37.8 percent (40th in the NCAA) for the season.

On defense, the Pirates have given up just 90.5 points per 100 possessions while forcing their opponents to turn the ball over 21.1 percent of the time (100th in the NCAA). Opposing teams sport an effective field goal percentage of just 44.7 percent (45th in the NCAA) versus the Pirates’ defense, which has also limited teams to only 43.7 percent shooting from 2-point range (48th in the NCAA).

Win over Wisconsin proves Rutgers basketball is on the rise

Rutgers earned its first signature win of the season on Wednesday, knocking off Big Ten rival Wisconsin at home 72-65 behind 22 points from junior guard Geo Baker. Myles Johnson added 12 points and seven boards for the Scarlet Knights, who shot 15 more field goal attempts as a result of outrebounding the Badgers 14 to 3 on the offensive glass.

The Scarlet Knights are starting to flash signs of a turnaround in Steve Pikiell’s fourth season at Rutgers. Pikiell’s squad comes into the weekend with a 7-3 record through their first 10 games and they enter the weekend ranked No. 69 in the latest KenPom rankings. Rutgers has scored 104.2 points per 100 possessions (90th in the NCAA) for the season despite ranking as one of the top 2-point shooting teams in the nation. The Scarlet Knights have made 55.1 percent of their attempts from inside the arc (32nd in the NCAA) but turnovers, poor 3-point shooting, and missed opportunities at the free-throw line have held them back on offense. They have coughed up the basketball on 19.4 percent of their offensive possessions (163rd in the NCAA) while shooting just 28.1 percent from deep (310th in the NCAA) and 66.0 percent from the charity stripe (273rd in the NCAA) as a team. Instead, they’ve been forced to make up points on the offensive glass (40thin the NCAA) or by getting to the free-throw line at a high rate (105th in the NCAA).

They’ve also managed to make up for their inefficiency on offense by playing teams tough on the other end of the floor. Rutgers has held its opponents to just 93.3 points per 100 possessions (58th in the NCAA) while forcing them to turn the ball over 21.4 percent of the time (90th in the NCAA) on defense. Through 10 games, opposing teams have shot just 44.3 percent from inside the arc (57th in the NCAA) while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of only 24.7 percent (61st in the NCAA) versus the Scarlet Knights’ defense.

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Rutgers hasn’t lost a home game yet this season and their win against Wisconsin proved that they can hang with major conference opponents this season. Seton Hall will provide a litmus test of sorts for the Scarlet Knights, who have one of the most underrated guards in the Big Ten in Geo Baker. The Pirates will also be playing without power forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, who is up for up to two months with a wrist injury.  Mamukelashvili helped spread the floor and his absence was felt in their loss to Iowa State. With Seton Hall shorthanded, I’ll take my chances with the Scarlet Knights at home in this spot on Saturday. 

Prediction: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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Seton Hall tries to push the pace on offense and they aren’t shy about hoisting up shots from beyond the arc. The Pirates rank 75th in the country in adjusted tempo and they get their shots up in an average of 16.4 seconds on offense, which ranks 90th in the country. They also try to speed up their opponents on the defensive end of the floor, which should help make this a fast-paced game. Rutgers ranks 85th in average possession length on offense at 16.3 seconds per possession and they do a good job of forcing turnovers on the defensive end. That should help them find a few extra easy buckets in transition and help push this game over the projected total on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.