Big East finale at DePaul provokes old memories for Seton Hall

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Although their post-season life doesn’t hang by a thread this time around, Seton Hall will attempt to vanquish the ghost of Jamee Crockett when they take on ninth-place DePaul on Saturday afternoon in their Big East finale at Allstate Arena

I’m sure you can remember 2012 vividly unless you’ve had a precise lobotomy. Sitting on the bubble at 19-10 (8-9) and in need of a win at a bottom-feeding DePaul team that had lost nine in a row, Seton Hall soiled the bed and then some in a mind-blowing 86-58 rout that saw an unknown role-player named Jamee “[expletive]” Crockett score 21 off the bench.

Caution: Some Seton Hall fans were definitely hurt in the making of this clip

Now I’ll let you pause as your blood simmers down from a boil and your surroundings cease fading to black.

The good news isn’t that Crockett is currently playing for a club named Hopsi Polzela in beautiful Slovenia, but that this Seton Hall team can withstand a loss to DePaul and still be in the tournament field, although they certainly don’t want to test those waters.

Coming off an 85-78 loss at Butler that was a tale of two halves, Seton Hall is still searching for a program-record sixth win on the road in conference play and will want to avoid a repeat of the too-close-for-comfort result in Newark. DePaul had won three games a row against the Hall coming into this season.

Waaay back in early January Seton Hall played the Blue Demons right down to the wire in a sparsely populated Prudential Center as Desi Rodriguez was benched for the final 25 minutes, prompting Kevin Willard to say that “No players talk like that [to me], not in this world” about his small forward post-game. Desi had apparently said something not ideal to his coach after being subbed out around the 5-minute mark in the first half.

Seton Hall missed four straight free throws in the closing minute and then Derrick Gordon fouled Billy Garrett Jr. while shooting a three with DePaul trailing by the same amount but the son of former Pirate assistant Billy Garrett missed the first freebie as the Pirates collectively exhaled.

Despite the uneasy memories, I’m not sure how much we can extract from that first meeting since Seton Hall has evolved as a team since then and DePaul has had to whether another rough Big East season.

One thing I do know is that 6-6 local freshman Eli Cain (10.3 ppg, 3 rpg) has really stepped up over the Blue Demon’s last 10 games and and has joined forward Myke Henry (13.9 ppg, 6.3 ppg) and point guard Billy Garrett Jr. (12.7 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3 rpg) in double figure scoring averages. A match-up problem at the three, Cain is probably the top Big East newcomer flying under the radar and is averaging over 14 ppg since late January.

Outside of Cain’s play, there aren’t too many brightspots for Dave Leitao’s bunch as they’ve lost 6 of their last 7 by an average of 21.5 points since upending Providence a month ago.

Turning the spotlight to Seton Hall, they can afford to lose this game, but obviously won’t want to. It will almost surely lock them into an 8-9 pod or worse yet a play-in game in Dayton if coupled with an early loss at the Big East Tournament.

There are no basketball-related reasons I can think of that would justify Seton Hall losing tomorrow despite the close first affair. The Pirates will want to avoid their second slow start in a row and should look to get Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez going early as the pair tend to be streaky scorers. I have confidence in Khadeen Carrington and Isaiah Whitehead to contribute their fair share of points and see success if they drive against taller guards like Cain and Garrett Jr. to try and get into the lane.

Last but not least, it will be interesting to see if there are any residual effects of Whitehead coming down hard on his left shoulder in the first half against Butler; you never know what some post-game swelling can do despite the floor general putting on a show in the final 15 minutes at Hinkle. A lot were thinking the worst when he went to the locker room with Tony Testa on Wednesday night.

KenPom says: No. 30 Seton Hall 75, No. 193 DePaul 67 (80%)

Last 10 meetings (Seton Hall 6-4; 11-6 all-time)

Jan. 2, 2016, SETON HALL 78, DePaul 74, Newark, N.J.
Feb. 3, 2015, DePaul 75, SETON HALL 62, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 22, 2015, DePaul 64, SETON HALL 60, Newark, N.J.
Feb. 25, 2014, DePaul 65, SETON HALL 60, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 25, 2014, SETON HALL 86, DePaul 69, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 2, 2013, SETON HALL 73, DePaul 72, Rosemont, Ill.
Mar. 3., 2012, DePaul 86, SETON HALL 58, Rosemont, Ill.
Jan. 10, 2012, SETON HALL 94, DePaul 73, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 12, 2011, SETON HALL 78, DePaul 67, Rosemont, Ill.
Feb. 14, 2010, SETON HALL 79, DePaul 71, Newark, N.J.

Projected DePaul starters:

Billy Garrett Jr. (12.7 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3 rpg)
Aaron Simpson (6 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
Eli Cain (10.3 ppg, 3 rpg)
Myke Henry  (13.9 ppg, 6.3 ppg)
Tommy Hamilton IV (9 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Projected Seton Hall starters:

Isaiah Whitehead (17.4 ppg, 4.9 apg, 3.2 rpg)
Khadeen Carrington (13.8 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.5 apg)
Desi Rodriguez (12.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Ismael Sanogo (4.8 ppg, 7 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.2 bpg)
Angel Delgado (10.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg)

When: Noon et, Saturday
TV: FSN
Radio: 570AM
Opening line: TBD

  • Andrew Herbst

    Let’s hope we go out and dominate early. Whitehead has to take control and assert himself. We need Delgado and Carrington to get back on track. I think we will play well and win pretty convincingly.

    • LBP

      Andrew–
      I will add my “Kiss of Death”– I believe Hall will win easily

      • Andrew Herbst

        I think so too. I have good confidence.

  • shufaninva

    I hope the Butler game scared them to death about their tourney lives. Come out and play as if it is BE Tournament game.

    • VinBick

      A strong, dominating game is the order of the day for the Hall, or they will limp into the BE Tournament, and be vulnerable against a bubble team on Thursday night. This is a key test for the coaches and the players.

  • fouline

    My biggest fear about moving forward is that the team looked gassed at the end of the Butler game. Somewhere in the middle of our BE schedule they started playing with a new level of energy, quickness and ferocity. And we started winning. But after so many games, they didn’t get to the end of the Butler game with the same energy on either side of the ball. I wonder, if their style of play has caught up with them. Maybe it’s just a matter of Willard making more substitutions. Or maybe he’s afraid of subbing because the quality of play falls too far. It’s something to consider.

    • Fishjam

      Definitely a factor this late in the season and playing a second game in the midwest in a row. Willard has been going with pretty much a 6-player rotation with Nzei, Veer & Sheed only getting a cameo here and there unless there is foul trouble. Would hope they bring their A game and allow the bench to play some quality minutes in the 2nd half so we go into the BET fresh.

      Pirates have to give a better effort than the 1st matchup and need to stay out of early foul trouble. The officials called several offensive fouls early and Angel & IW had to sit big chunks of the 1st half. Then Desi went out late in the 1st half never to return so we never played full strength.

      We really played poorly the first time settling for a lot of bad 3s early (and missing) and bricking free throws. We also played one of our worst defensive games of the season behind only the Creighton game. We only won because Isaiah played very well and drove in the paint at will finding Angel, Ish, Nzei, etc. for easy buckets while DePaul missed their Free Throws and just wasn’t good enough to fully capitalize on our poor effort. DePaul also turned the ball over a lot, many of them unforced.
      .
      Garrett was excellent, hitting 3’s and driving in the paint at will to either score or dish. He and their 2 bigs kept them in the game. Henry & Stimage each had 15 points and outhustled us grabbing offensive boards. Pirates were outrebounded 37-31, out-offensive rebounded 14-13 and allowed DePaul to shoot 50% from 3 and 47% overall. If we have a repeat effort from the first game in their building on Senior Day, we will lose. Plus Cain is now a weapon who was not fully developed the first time.

      But on the flipside, I believe we are a much better team now also. I certainly hope the team remembers how DePaul has beaten them over the years and how poorly they played back in January and come ready to play! This game is needed to clinch a worry-free Selection Sunday as it has the potential to drop our RPI about 15 points! Let’s close the season with a bang and go into MSG strong!

  • Fishjam

    Chris, have you heard anything about this kid Nojel Eastern or if there is any interest on his part in SH? This is now the 3rd time I’ve seen it reported that our coaches have watched him play. I know he’s a big-time talent and has major interest (Michigan St, Ohio St, etc) so I thought it was a little odd Willard & Co. would be going hard for a kid from the Midwest. I know we got Carter last year but seems like a longshot he would come to South Orange unless there is a connection I don’t know about.

    He’d be a great get as we will need a big guard to team with Myles Powell down the road. I’ve watched videos of Eastern and he kind of has a similar body type and movement to Desi (plus he’s a lefty). Doesn’t hurt to try since we are in Illinois anyway but there is more than enough talent to keep the Pirates stocked within a 20-mile radius of South Orange. Would love to see them sign a big headliner from the 2017 class off the momentum of this season.

  • PadrePirate

    Want to see the Hall close out the season strong, heading into the BET with energy and confidence. A 20 pt blow out with everyone involved would give us an emotional boost and let the starters rest a bit.

    Any news on Zeek’s shoulder?? Shoulder injuries are a bear and can take super long to heal (at least when you’re 40!)

  • PadrePirate

    Nice to see that Lunardi has Butler and Prov in his bracket as 9 and 10 seeds. He still has us at 7 vs. 10 VCU.

    In the BET, looks like we’ll face Gtown (#8) in the first round. Assuming we advance, would that mean Nova? I actually think we match up pretty good against them, given the last game at the Rock, provided, that is, that Angel and Ish stand up to Ochefu.

  • PadrePirate

    Correction, the #3 seed faces #6 (Creighton?) in the second round of BET.

    • Fishjam

      Yes if Creighton loses to Xavier Saturday they are 6 seed and we play Creighton Thursday at 9. If we win that we’d play winner of Xavier vs 7/10 seed. If Creighton beats X tomorrow there are many possibilities of who we play on Thursday. BUT we still have very important game at DePaul first we must concentrate on.

  • LBP

    Hope the Team has fun today– it deserves a chance to get some bench Guys on the floor

  • JJer

    “.TV: FSN”

    Where I am in Monmouth County, it’s on MSG, not FSN.

  • PadrePirate

    So far Stimmage is matching AD in rebs and pts. Get the big guy going!!

  • PadrePirate

    Relying too much on perimeter shooting. Get into the paint. +4 at the half is much too close for comfort.

    • Matty P

      I don’t have cable so I can’t watch the game but they have been taking too many 3s. Carrington is 1-5 and Whitehead is 1-4. Compare this against their within the arc shots of Carrington going 3-4 and Whitehead going 2-3. Keep getting inside the perimeter because the shots are falling.

    • LBP

      Agree 100%

  • Matty P

    Chris based on that video of Willard you posted it looks like he might be getting a fine from the BE. I’m sure Fox wasn’t too happy with the language and I guess they don’t have it on a little bit of a delay or someone didn’t catch it in time.

  • Matty P

    Something pretty impressive that SHU MBB posted on twitter. Whitehead has now had 15 games of at least 15 pts and 5 assists. That’s very impressive.

  • Matty P

    Nice to see that Myles Carter was able to get his first career field goal in his home town. Great win today. Let’s try and carry this momentum into both of the tournaments and hopefully get a good seed in the big one.