#8 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. #9 Seton Hall Pirates
South Region 1st Round
Friday 1:30 p.m. ET, TNT
25-9 (12-6 SEC)
Player to Watch: Dusty Hannahs (14.6 PPG, 1.2 APG)
When you look at this Arkansas team, you see a very balanced team and contributions across the board. The one player that does stand out is senior guard Dusty Hannahs. The Little Rock native leads the team with his 14.6 points per game and it is a very efficient 14.6 points per game. Hannahs is shooting 44% from the field, 38% from beyond the arc and 90% from the free throw line. He is easily Arkansas’ best shooter and if he gets going he can be difficult for Seton Hall to slow down.
X Factor: Rebounding
Arkansas has only one player averaging over five rebounds a game and Seton Hall is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country led by Angel Delgado, so the Razorbacks will have to keep the double-double machine off the offensive glass if they want to have any shot at winning this one.
Seton Hall Pirates
21-11 (10-8 Big East)
Player to Watch: Angel Delgado (15.3 PPG 13.1 RPG)
The last time we saw Angel Delgado on a basketball court, he was being consoled by Villanova’s Josh Hart after missing an easy shot that would have sent Seton Hall to overtime against the Wildcats in the Big East Semifinals. Delgado may still be reeling from the miss, but Seton Hall will need him to bounce back in a hurry if they want to advance to the Round of 32. Delgado is a walking double-double and against an Arkansas team that doesn’t have a standout big man to slow him down, he could be in for a big day.
X Factor: Free Throw Shooting
The Pirates have been one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country all season long, but things have started to change as of late. Since head coach Kevin Willard took over the free throw shooting in practice, the team has been noticeably better from the line. This trend will have to continue if Seton Hall wants to make any kind of run in this tournament.
Match-up to watch: Angel Delgado vs. the Arkansas big men
Again, this game is going to come down to how Arkansas deals with Delgado. He gets most of his points on offensive rebounds, but he can get it done in the post and has no problem passing out of double teams when teams inevitably double him down low. If Arkansas can’t contain Delgado, they will be in for a long day. If they can, Seton Hall’s offense could become stagnant and the Razorbacks’ shooting can help them to pull away for the victory.
Prediction: Seton Hall 74 Arkansas 63
I don’t see Arkansas keeping Delgado quiet in this game and with him doing his thing, there is really no way that Arkansas can survive his prowess on the offensive glass. Arkansas’ shooters will keep them around, but Seton Hall will eventually pull away with some timely buckets.