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Seton Hall Vs. Pitt: Can Panthers Avoid Trap Game Before Monday's Showdown With Syracuse?

When Pitt plays at home on Saturday, it will need to keep its focus on Seton Hall rather than Monday's huge matchup with the Syracuse Orange.

Seton Hall travels to Pitt in the definition of a trap game. The Pirates enter the game with an uninspiring 8-9 record (2-3 in the Big East), but gave Pitt trouble as recently as last season when they split a two-game series, winning at home against the Panthers.

Seton Hall has struggled this season, but it got a boost this week when star guard Jeremy Hazell returned to the lineup after being shot in a robbery attempt. Hazell appeared to not miss a beat as he had 23 points in his first game back on Wednesday in a road win at DePaul. Pitt has had trouble containing other star players this season (Kemba Walker and Marshon Brooks), and Hazell could have a big game.

The Pirates are more than just Hazell: they have with four other players scoring at least nine points per game. One of those players, Herb Pope, is a local Pittsburgh kid and was once a highly-touted recruit for the Panthers. Pope averages nine points and nine rebounds per game and is a double-double threat every time he suits up.

Another interesting aspect to this game is the fact that the Steelers will be playing the Baltimore Ravens in an NFL playoff game at the same time. It will be interesting to see what kind of crowd comes out to the basketball game.

And if you needed yet another angle, Seton Hall's coach is Kevin Willard, who was a Pitt guard when his father, Ralph Willard, was the head coach here.

Pitt could come out and overlook the Hall, but I don't see it happening. Even with the big game looming against Syracuse on Monday, Jamie Dixon usually does a good job of keeping his players focused.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.