As was the case last season, the Seton Hall Pirates have been unable to avoid the injury bug for much of the 2013-14 season. Patrik Auda, Fuquan Edwin and Aaron Geramipoor all missed time due to injury, and the same went for senior center Eugene Teague after he suffered a terrifying fall in the Pirates’ win over Lafayette on December 27.
Averaging 10.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, Teague is a key figure in Kevin Willard’s attack with the Pirates lacking depth in the post. With Teague sidelined with a concussion the Pirates lost three of four games to open Big East play, with the lone victory being a double-overtime thriller at Providence in the conference opener for both.
The wait for Teague’s return may be coming to an end however, as according to Mike Vorkunov the Newark Star-Ledger the senior is expected to make his return to the lineup on Saturday when the Pirates visit Georgetown. However, even with the hurdle being cleared it will take Teague some time to get back in the condition that allowed him to play nearly 26 minutes per game before the injury.
There is still the physical nature of his comeback, though. He only began practicing this week and Willard said that Teague is as much as a week-and-a-half away from returning to his previous aerobic form.
Willard will monitor Teague’s minutes against Georgetown, unlikely to play him for more than three minutes at a time. Still, the coach expects there to be some moments where Teague will be affected by his endurance.
With Georgetown being shorthanded itself (eight scholarship players were available for their loss at Xavier on Wednesday), this could be an opportunity for the Pirates to turn things in the right direction after losing games to Creighton, Villanova and Marquette. In those defeats the Pirates averaged just 66.3 points per game, just over ten points off of their average for the season (78.6 ppg).
Now that Teague’s been cleared to return to the court Seton Hall has their best low-post scorer back in the fold, which should help players such as Auda, Edwin and guard Sterling Gibbs offensively as he gets back to game shape.
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.
SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
- Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
- Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
- Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
- No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
- UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.
TOP 25 GAMES
- Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
- Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
- Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
- South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
- Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
- UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics