It's Rivalry Week in College Basketball. If you haven't been following, it's a great time to check in on one of the most exciting sports in the world. The Super Bowl is over (Go Giants!), pitchers and catchers haven't reported yet (Go Yankees!), and-honestly-does anyone care about the NBA this year (Go..... Nets?)?
Wednesday night, the fun continues. In what is always a tense, loud, drag 'em out game, the Seton Hall Pirates travel to the RAC for the first of two match-ups this season. Both Rutgers and Seton Hall are reeling and each need a win to start to feel right.
Last year Rutgers went 2-1 against the Pirates, winning in Newark and in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Meanwhile, SHU have won 4 straight at the RAC.
Match-ups after the jump...Point Guard: Jordan Theodore vs. Jerome Seagears: Theodore has been the engine that makes the Pirates go this year. He's second on the team in scoring, leads the team in assists, and leads them on the floor. He has a tendency, though, to try and do it all when things go bad. He can shoot the team out of the game.
Jerome Seagears struggled as the point guard early in the year. In trying to learn the position, he wasn't sure when to shoot and when to pass and looked tentative with the ball. That's all started to change recently. He's been the calming factor on the team and has really started to embrace the role of distributor. He doesn't turn the ball over much anymore, and when he gets hot from outside, he really gives the team a lift.
Edge: Theodore. Tough to go against the senior.
Shooting Guard: Aaron Cosby vs. Eli Carter. With the Hall's recent struggles, the shooting guard position has been kind of revolving door here. Cosby's started, Harold Karlis has started and recently Freddie Wilson has gotten the nod. We'll go with Cosby, though, as he's started the most this season. Cosby has potential to be the next Jeremy Hazell. He has a sweet 3 point shot, can his from deep, and when the offense is rolling, he can be the one who makes the dagger shot.
Carter has grown into his role as starting SG. He is now Rutgers' go to player, though it may be a year too soon for him to really embrace the role. He's had some standout performances, notably scoring 31 points against Florida. He can create his own shot, has a fantastic shot fake, and gets into the lane. At times, he's a bit too selfish and doesn't give up the ball, but that's a minor complaint for a potential All Freshman Team player.
Edge: Carter. He can flat out score the ball. SHU's SG position has been too much of a revolving door recently.
Small Forward: Fuquan Edwin vs. Dane Miller. Fuquan Edwin is having a stellar season offensively. He is third on the team in scoring, can slash to the basket and can shoot the three. He really looks great in the open court. He is part of the Pirates' scoring trinity.
Dane Miller is an enigma. He plays great defense, and when he's on, he's often the best player on the court. Miller's struggles, however, have been well documented. A fan can tell when Miller is on, early in the game. If he's shooting the ball and making smart passes to open teammates. Either way, his defense is always there.
Edge: Even. This one is too tough to call. Edwin has been that good, and you never know what Miller you're going to get.
Center/Power Forward: Herb Pope vs. Gilvydas Biruta: Pope is the final part of SHU's big 3. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding. He's a load underneath the basket, and for quite some time he was making his name as an All Big East player. Lately, he's been nursing injured ribs and missed the last game against UConn. He's questionable for the RU game, but I'd expect him to play.
Biruta has been adjusting to his new role as a power forward. He's shown a better shot, but at times he's looked a bit lost on the court. He plays too hard (if that's possible) and gets himself into foul trouble a lot. Rutgers' offense is much smoother when he's on the court.
Edge: Pope. Again, if healthy, you gotta go with the senior.
Center/Power Forward: Patrik Auda vs. Derrick Randall. Auda is a sophomore who can step out and hit the 3. He's been trying to take it to the basket more, recently, but the shot hasn't wanted to go down. Auda is dangerous when left open beyond the arc, and matches up well with Biruta.
Derrick Randall has been a banger down low. He's developed much more quickly than expected. He plays smart defense and can clean up the glass for offensive putbacks. Miller likes to find him for open dunks.
Edge: Randall. It's close, so I'll give it to the RU guy.
Bench: Seton Hall boasts very little depth on the bench. They have two combo guards, the aforementioned Wilson and Karlis can make shots, but they don't give Theodore much rest. Aaron Geramipoor has played well this season and does give Pope and opportunity to get some rest. Brandon Mobley is a power forward who seems to hit a bunch of three pointers every time I see him play. Watch out for him.
Rutgers brings Myles Mack off the bench for some scoring punch as a guard. He can get to the hoop and hit the deep three. Coach Mike Rice is never scared to bring him in the game. Austin Johnson is a junior forward, who plays solid defense and has been playing better since losing his starting role. Kadeem Jack has been getting more time in games, but still looks a bit lost. He had one of his better games against Providence. Mike Poole is developing into a leader and gives Miller some much needed rest. Malick Kone showed promise early this year, but hasn't seen much time since his injury. Austin Carroll can hit the three, but has been sidelined for a few months now. Greg Lewis is still developing his game.
Edge: Rutgers. This isn't even close. If Rutgers plays smart and well, their depth can wear down the Pirates.
Coaches: Kevin Willard vs. Mike Rice. Willard loves to have his players shooting the three and playing zone. Think a less talented Louisville. For a while, he was getting a ton out of this team, but now they can hit a shot. Are they worn down?
Mike Rice plays a switching man-to-man defense, but look for more zone if SHU has shooting trouble.
Edge: Rice. Gotta go with RU here. He's just dealing with a younger team.