West Virginia, Seton Hall Kicking off Big East Play Tops Weekend Preview

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IDecember 24, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Jeremy Hazell #21 of the Seton Hall Pirates drives to the hoop against the Syracuse Orange during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Game You Need to Watch

(No. 6) West Virginia at Seton Hall, 3:30 PM Saturday on CBS

The most grueling conference play in the nation tips off in North New Jersey with one of the nation's last remaining unbeatens playing one of the Big East's best surprises.

This game should come down to rebounding. West Virginia is one of the five best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Against 21st-ranked Ole Miss Wednesday night, the Mountaineers stayed undefeated because of their tenacity on the o-boards.

The 22 offensive rebounds helped make up for WVU's 18 turnovers and poor first-half shooting.

Seton Hall has struggled at times defensively rebounding the ball with its undersized lineup. The Pirates have been efficient at forcing poor shots, especially inside the arc, which will be key to stop the many second-chance opportunities the Mountaineers will inevitably get.

Upset You Shouldn't Be Surprised Over (if it happens)

Connecticut losing to Iona, 2:00 PM Sunday on ESPNU

The Huskies haven't exactly done anything to deserve that No. 11 ranking Jim Calhoun's club has received. UConn has struggled with teams similar to Iona, who has been a pleasant surprise in the MAAC.

After being picked ninth in the preseason poll, Kevin Williard's team has proven MAAC pundits wrong with solid results in the non-conference slate. Williard, the son of former Holy Cross coach and current Louisville assistant, Ralph Williard, has turned Iona's program around in his three seasons at the school.

Already this season, the Gaels have taken down Creighton at the Old Spice Classic and Providence. Iona also played Florida State down to the last minute and forced Baylor to beat the Gaels in overtime.

Iona isn't going to try to score in the paint so if Connecticut doesn't defend the perimeter well, the Gaels could upset the Huskies.

Artsiom Parakhouski Watch

Radford doesn't play on national television too often so when the Highlanders do, make sure you tune in. Why? Center Artsiom Parakhouski dominates the paint with 22 points and 15 rebounds per game.

He's one of the more entertaining players in the country to watch as he'll remind you of Shaquille O'Neal. Parakhouski's Highlanders will take on Louisville at 1:00 PM Sunday on ESPN360.

I Find This Slightly Intriguing

The showdown of Sacramento State and Loyola Marymount at 4:05 PM Sunday. These two teams combined for a grand total of five wins last season. That being said, the Hornets and Lions have two wins over Pac-10 teams in addition to LMU's victory against Notre Dame.

Even with those three victories, the two schools are somehow both just 6-7 on the season.

That's It for the Weekend

There's only one game all Saturday (West Virginia at Seton Hall) and 11 more on Sunday. It's an extremely light weekend because of the holidays.

For more updates on college basketball, follow @JamesonFleming and the Bleacher Report College Hoops page (@BR_CollegeBBall) on twitter.


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