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Oregon Basketball Preview: Seton Hall Pirates

aka the LJ Figureoa debut!

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Oregon at Seton Hall Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We have ourselves a rematch from last year’s Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals as Seton Hall meets the Ducks in Omaha, aka Dana Altman’s former stomping grounds. These two teams met last year and had a thrilling matchup, one that Oregon came away victorious 71-69 over Myles Powell and a talented Pirates team.

This time around, things look very different as both teams are fresh off a loss, Oregon fell to Mizzou Wednesday night while Seton Hall suffered defeat to Rhode Island the same day.

Seton Hall Pirates

Head Coach: Kevin Willard

2019-20 Record: 21-9 (13-5 in Big East, tied for 1st)

Key Players: Sandro Mamukelashvili, Jared Rhoden, Bryce Aiken

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

Both of these teams come together in somewhat similar spots. Both fresh off a loss, looking to make an early statement win on the season. Oregon is trying to replace Payton Pritchard, the reigning Pac-12 player of the year, Seton Hall is trying to do the same for Myles Powell, who was the Big East player of the year, both of whom have moved on to the NBA.

Each team is still full of talent, as Sandro Mamukelashvili currently leads the Big East in scoring, while newbie Eugene Omoruyi dropped 31 points in the loss to Mizzou Wednesday night. While an early season non-conference game played in a neutral location may not seem like a big deal, a win for either side could serve as a springboard for the rest of the season. With few non-conference games at a premium this year, teams could be very eager to prove they can hang with tough opponents they aren’t used to seeing multiple times a year.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Missouri Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

While Oregon fans were dismayed to find out that Will Richardson would miss several weeks after undergoing thumb surgery Wednesday, we are elated to find that St. Johns transfer LJ Figueroa is now eligible to play immediately, coincidentally one day after Dana Altman ripped the NCAA for dragging their collective feet on the matter. LJ should make an immediate impact for Oregon, who against Mizzou had only 8 eligible players on the team.

Despite this good news, I think Oregon loses a close one against the Pirates. Seton Hall have a few more games under their belt, while Oregon is still working to find their rhythm. I’m predicting a 70-66 Seton Hall win.