Kentucky Wildcats (7-1) vs. Seton Hall Pirates (5-3)
- Game Time: Noon EST on December 8, 2018
- TV Channel: FOX
- Announcers: Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson will be on the call
- Location: Madison Square Garden
- All-Time record: The series is tied 1-1
- Seton Hall head coach: Kevin Willard
- Record last season: 22-12
- Returning players: 1 starter, 4 reserves, 2 transfer players that sat out last season
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington. You can listen to an online radio stream via UK Athletics.
- Online Stream: You can watch it online using FOX Sports GO, the Fox Sports GO app and fuboTV. You can listen to an online radio stream via UK Athletics.
- Replay: Fox Sports GO
- Live Stats
- Rosters: Kentucky | Seton Hall
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 6-point favorite. KenPom projected Kentucky to be an 7-point favorite, the smallest margin Kentucky has been favored by since the Duke game.
- Predictions: ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky a 72.1% chance to win. KenPom gives the Wildcats a 74% chance of winning and projects an 79-72 win for Cats. TeamRankings projects a 77-77 win for Kentucky, while numberfire is going with a 76-73 win for the Wildcats. Check out our own roundtable and predictions.
Saturday at noon will provide a second-consecutive test for the Wildcats.
After prevailing in a 78-61 win over the UNC Greensboro Spartans last weekend, the Wildcats will take their talents to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with Seton Hall in the Citi Hoops Classic.
The Wildcats and Pirates don’t have much history, as they’ve only faced each other twice all-time. The first meeting came in 1981, when Kentucky took the UKIT Championship in a 98-74 win. The most recent matchup wasn’t much later, coming via a 63-60 Pirates victory in 1988 during the Great Alaska Shootout.
Last season was a success for the Pirates, winning 26 regular season games as well as a game over North Carolina State in the NCAA tournament before losing to the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the following round.
This season is a big question mark, though, as the Pirates attempt to efficiently replace four starters from last year.
Myles Powell is the lone returning starter, who was also voted the Big East’s Most Improved Player last season. Powell is averaging 22.4 points, 2.3 assists this season while shooting 45% from the field. He’s also a threat from outside, finishing sixth in the Big East last season in three-point shots made (94) while shooting 37% from behind the arc.
Michael Nzei is the lone senior for the Pirates. He appeared in all 34 games last year, starting 17 of them. However, Nzei averaged only four points & as many rebounds in just 16 minutes per game last season. However, this year he is averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds on 71% shooting.
Myles Cale, returning for his sophomore season with the Pirates, also played in all 34 games last season. He started five games and averaged 4.3 points with 1.6 rebounds in 17.2 minutes for the season. This season that average is 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 26 minutes a game.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, a fellow returning sophomore, also appeared in as many games but never earned a start. In 9.6 minutes per contest, he accounted for an average of 2.6 points & two rebounds. However, he hasn’t played since the first game of the season.
Quincy McKnight transferred in from Sacred Heart after a breakout sophomore season in 2016-17. He averaged 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds & three assists that year while shooting 43% from the field. After sitting out last year, McKnight has two years of eligibility remaining. So far this season he’s averaging 8.8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.
Taurean Thompson transferred in form Syracuse following his freshman year. In his lone stint with the Orange, he averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds & a block in 17.9 minutes per game. Thompson sat out last season, leaving him three years of eligibility remaining. So far this season he averages 5.7 points, 2 rebounds and is shooting 38%.
Seton Hall seems to consistently put talented, well-coached teams on the floor. Kentucky should, however, win with their superior talent and depth.