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Penn State Basketball Preview: Seton Hall

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The Nittany Lions face their stiffest challenge yet

NCAA Basketball: Iona at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After knocking off VCU with a buzzer-beater, Penn State will seek to remain undefeated when they play host to Seton Hall. Although the Pirates are off to a rough 1-3 start, it should be noted that two of those three losses have come to the likes of Louisville (20th in KenPom) and Oregon (22). Their lone win thus far has been against Rick Pitino’s Iona (244) squad.

Scouting The Opposition

Big man Sandro Mamukelashvili leads the way for the Pirates, averaging nearly 19 points and over eight rebounds per game. He also boasts a decent 38 percent from three-point range, having made 8 of his 21 attempts thus far. He will certainly be a handful for John Harrar or whoever is assigned to take on him.

Jared Rhoden leads the backcourt attack with his average of 14 points and six boards per game, while Shavar Reynolds is the team’s top dime-dropper, averaging 5.5 assists to go with his nearly ten points per game. When PSU mans up defensively, look for Jamari Wheeler to go up against Reynolds and try to pick his pocket a few times as Jamari is apt to do in games.

Averaging 71.4 possessions per game, Seton Hall is a bit on the slower side of tempo, ranking 203rd in the KenPom adjusted tempo rating. This sharply contrasts with PSU’s 73.6 adjusted tempo rating, which is good for 61st in KenPom. Look for Jim Ferry’s crew to try and speed this game up in order to try and get the Pirates out of their comfort zone.

What To Watch For

Can Penn State ride the wave of emotion and momentum from Myles Dread’s incredible buzzer-beater the other night against VCU? Don’t let Seton Hall’s record fool you, they have played a difficult schedule thus far, and should very well be the Lions’ stiffest challenge yet in this young season. It’s all going to depend on factors such as how well PSU is able to control the pace of the game to their liking and whether Sandro is allowed to do whatever he wants down low.

Prediction

Penn State seems to have its swagger and confidence intact after that dramatic win over VCU. Look for them to carry that winning momentum towards yet another victory, as PSU is able to quicken the pace enough to make Seton Hall uncomfortable, forcing numerous turnovers, which lead to PSU points.

Penn State 75, Seton Hall 69