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Kentucky vs. Seton Hall Roundtable and Predictions

Breaking down the Wildcats’ clash with the Pirates in the Big Apple.

Jamie Boggs - A Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats are 7-1 and coming off of their most impressive win of the season against UNC-Greensboro. They will see their first action outside of Rupp Arena in over a month on Saturday when they take on the Seton Hall University Pirates in Madison Square Garden.

Some believe the Wildcats have turned a corner and are finally headed in the right direction. Others think there are still some big questions to be answered.

Will we get answers to any of those questions this weekend? Here are the predictions from the staff at A Sea of Blue.

Jamie Boggs

On Saturday, we will find out if this Kentucky team has truly turned a corner. Is Seton Hall good? Not really. They have a win over the University of Miami and played Louisville close. But they also lose to Saint Louis and got their doors blown off by Nebraska.

However, the last time the Wildcats were on a big stage in a neutral site game they were embarrassed in the worst way. Will the lights of Madison Square Garden be to bright? Will someone step up to join Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and Reid Travis in the club of guys willing to fight for a win?

It is my opinion that there is still work to do, but the Cats are moving in the right direction and will make light work of Seton Hall on Saturday.

Prediction: Kentucky 87, Seton Hall 69

Aaron Gershon

There are no more easy ones for Kentucky. Seton Hall is a talented basketball team as their 5-3 record includes just a five-point loss to Louisville and a two-point loss to a sneaky-good St. Louis squad. Their wins include taking down a Miami.

It will almost be a home game for the Pirates, as they are from nearby New Jersey, while Kentucky will need to travel and play in one of the most famous arenas in the world in Madison Square Garden.

Expect some jitters from some of the freshman similar to what was seen in the loss to Duke. Seton Hall is a capable team that will keep the ball game interesting.

However, I think Kentucky will flex its muscles and be a little too much for the Pirates to handle. Expect PJ Washington, who played at MSG last season, to play a big role in a Kentucky win.

Prediction: Kentucky 80, Seton Hall 67

Sam Gillenwater

With a game against the Pirates coming on Saturday, Kentucky is going to have an opportunity to continue their statement from last weekend. In the second half against UNCG, the Wildcats came out explosive in every aspect of their game.

Seton Hall has had a slow start to the year at 5-3 through 8 games, with the only good looking one being a 2-point win at home against Miami. Although they’re not a Power-5 school either, Big East teams are just as dangerous, especially when they get the opportunity to play in the Garden.

With both teams shooting over 45% from the field, where this game will be won is on the glass. Kentucky is averaging 10 more rebounds than Seton Hall on the year and they’re going to need that kind of a lead on the backboard to slow down the Pirate offense and give themselves extra opportunities on their end.

Even with it being a home game leaning towards Seton Hall, Big Blue Nation will still be heard in Madison Square Garden as their young Cats win their 8th straight.

Prediction: Kentucky 78, Seton Hall 71

Drew Koch

The Cats travel to New York and this year, and they get a bigger challenge than they did last year against Monmouth in Madison Square Garden. UK was led by Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and PJ Washington in the Cats’ trip to the Big Apple last season. This year, the Wildcats get to tangle with the Seton Hall Pirates who enter the game 5-3 and lost against Louisville over the weekend.

We saw, perhaps, Kentucky’s best performance of the season last week against UNC-Greensboro. The Spartans pushed the Cats early, but UK pulled away late and got their seventh straight win. Seton Hall, away from Rupp Arena, under the bright lights of New York City will be a bit of a tall task, but one that I feel the Cats are up to.

Kentucky has not slowed down since their opening game loss to Duke, and quite frankly they’re gotten better in almost each game they’ve played. Coach Cal seems to have settled in on a shorter bench, even though he has several players on the team that could easily log 20-plus minutes per night. It’ll be interesting to see how the playing time among all the young Cats is divided on Saturday.

Look for Ashton Hagans to draw the matchup on Seton Hall’s leading scorer, Myles Powell. I won’t be shy about my love for Hagans and I’ve loved what I’ve seen from the young man this season. I love his toughness, tenacity, and his on-the-ball defense. What he lacks offensively, he more than makes up for on the defensive end. If Hagans keeps Powell in check, the Cats should be able to handle the Pirates. PJ Washington, Reid Travis, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro should provide more than enough offensive firepower for the Wildcats to take a win back to the Bluegrass.

Prediction: Kentucky 81, Seton Hall 68

Nick Wheatley

The Kentucky Wildcats will face off against the Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday in Madison Square Garden. The Cats are 1-1 all time against the Pirates.

Seton Hall lost a lot of talent off last year’s team, including their best player Angel Delgado. Of course, UK did, too, but the Cats are used to reloading each year. Seton Hall isn’t.

The Pirates are just 5-3 with wins over Wagner, Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Miami, and New Hampshire. They also won an exhibition game against Boston College. Their three losses are to Nebraska, St. Louis, and Louisville. If you were thinking none of those games really stand out, besides maybe Louisville, then you’re right. They did lead for the majority of the game last weekend against UofL, but couldn’t close it out as the Cards pulled out a five-point win.

Myles Powell is a game-changer for the Pirates. The junior guard is averaging 24.1 points per game, but he’s taking a lot of shots and he’s not very efficient. However, whenever a team has a player that can score like Powell, you have to be prepared. Just take a look at what Francis Alonso did to Kentucky in the first half last Saturday.

Sandro Mamukelashvili and Michael Nzei have been effective rebounding and scoring in the post. However, the Pirates are inexperienced and they have a lot of uncertainty at the point guard position. Sound familiar?

The Pirates also don’t shoot the ball very well...from anywhere on the court. That includes the three-point line, where Kentucky has struggled to slow opponents down all season. Hopefully, the second half of the UNCG game will continue into this one. Seton Hall does not score the ball well, so Kentucky should be able to limit them offensively. But they will rebound the ball and they will play defense.

This could be an ugly game. Seton Hall will slow the game down and they won’t score much. I expect it to be close but never in doubt.

Prediction: Kentucky 74, Seton Hall 64

Drew Brown

Seton Hall is a one man show with Myles Powell scoring the bulk of their points. This will be another opportunity for Ashton Hagans to flex his defensive stopper mentality. Powell has had a 30 and 40 point game this year, so they must keep him under control. The Pirates are an awful rebounding team on the season which is the one reason why UK should roll. PJ Washington should dominate on Saturday.

Prediction: Kentucky 83, Seton Hall 69

Adam Haste

The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off their best 20 minutes of the season with the second half performance against UNCG. Some people are hoping that was the moment that the Cats flipped the switch and will get rolling.

I believe that is the case.

Saturday the Cats will face a not so stellar Seton Hall team sitting at 5-3 on the year. However, the Pirates did have Louisville on the ropes before the Cards were able to get it together and pull out the win.

I think the Cats are a much more talented team than the Pirates and since I think the Cats have flipped the switch, I see Kentucky putting on a dominating performance during their trip to New York.

Prediction: Kentucky 83, Seton Hall 68