Butler Preview: No. 21 Seton Hall eyeing first 3-0 Big East start since ’98-99

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No. 21 Seton Hall hopes to start Big East play 3-0 for the first time since 1998-99 when they clash with Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday.

Rejuvenated by a five-day break amidst a paralyzing freeze across the region, Seton Hall (13-2, 2-0) heads to the Midwest for the first time this Big East season with ambitions to recreate a magical win at Butler (12-4, 2-1) to close out last season’s conference schedule.

Before the Big East tipped off, I wrote how the Bulldogs were playing better than expected (this is probably historically routine for their fan base) and that they were in the mix for an NCAA bid along with an unproven St. John’s and potentially-laden Marquette.

Since then, St. John’s has struggled, albeit with injuries, and Butler has made me look smarter than I am by knocking off top-ranked Villanova just last weekend.

In his first season at the helm since Chris Holtmann bolted for Ohio State, LaVall Jordan has impressed with wins over Holtmann and Utah in non-league play, but has now added a major win that will certainly hold weight if they maintain the same level of play going forward.

For Seton Hall, the smoke has dissipated from an uneasy stretch on and off the court that featured a suspension, a near transfer, and seemingly endless trash talking during games. 

Despite the tremors of negativity, the big picture says a top-25 ranking, a 13-2 record, their best start to league play in nearly two decades is within grasp, and Kevin Willard is adept at preparing his teams after prolonged rest (or is he? See below.).

Three things to watch

Seton Hall’s preparedness coming off a five-day break. Honestly, I’ve touted this claim (without researching it) built upon Kevin Willard’s common preference to like plenty of preparation: Willard is better than the pack at preparing his team when given similar rest to the opponent. Assuming similar rest, I looked into how Seton Hall has done over the past 2.5 seasons when they have had five or more days of rest between games. The result, not including Arkansas or season-openers? 10-2, with both losses (Florida, @Xavier) coming last season away from home.
one

A road test as tough as they come. Aside from the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse allure, Butler’s home venue is simply a fortress: they’ve won 25 of their last 27 games at home against schools not named Seton Hall, including the aforementioned upset of top-ranked Villanova last weekend. That said, the Hall and specifically Myles Powell, have nothing to fear having wrapped up their NCAA bid last season in a thriller last year at Hinkle which featured a 23-7 run to close the game.

The Kamar Baldwin-Kelan Martin one-two punch. I have admittedly not watched Butler as frequently as some other Big East schools, but guard Kamar Baldwin (15.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.9 apg) and familiar forward Kelan Martin (19.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) can hang with any other one-two combo in the league. Freshman Aaron Thompson (5.1 ppg, 3.7 apg) has been able to shoulder some load at lead guard, allowing Baldwin and Martin to combine for 51 ppg, 12 rpg, and 5 apg in conference play.

KenPom says: No. 37 Butler 76, No. 20 Seton Hall 75

Series history: 2-7 SH

Projected Butler starters
PG – Aaron Thompson
G – Kamar Baldwin
G – Paul Jorgensen
F – Kelan Martin
F – Tyler Wideman

Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Mike Nzei
F – Angel Delgado

TV: 2:30ET, FS1
Radio: AM570
Opening line: Seton Hall +2.5

  • cali jack

    Martin is like Roosevelt Jones but with a 3 point shot. Sanogo/Nzei need to be all over him .Looks like he gets tired when under constant defensive pressure but can’t relax..KC/MP must defend 3 point line.Do that we win.Don’t we lose.

  • PadrePirate

    Hinkle is a tough place to play, but, for whatever it’s worth, our guys seem to get riled up for big road games. Haven’t seen much of Thompson, but I was impressed with Baldwin and Jorgensen thus far. KM plays a bit like Desi and is very streaky. Their bigs, Wideman and Fowler are just average and could set up a decent night for Angel and Nzei.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Will be a great test for us today. Always tough playing at Butler. But I think our guys are up for the challenge. Martin and Balwin are a nice duo. I want to see Angel come out and dominate. GO PIRATES!

  • VinBick

    Just feel a big time win in my bitter cold, old bones today! This a 2-0 difficult road trip from the accending Pirates!

    • LBP

      Vin Bick –would like a reading of your bones before I bet 🙂

      • VinBick

        Here’s a winning strategy, LBP, DON’T BET on anything! Work hard and set aside a bit of hard earned money every week in order to play hard when you can. It works everytime….

        • LBP

          Thx Vin Bick — Still would not mind a pre-tip on what Ur bones say. Enjoy this Team my friend–it may be a while before we get to see Four Seniors as good. Lotsa Fun.

          • VinBick

            Bones say a win on Tuesday in the Cheese State.

            Will be at the Georgetown game next Saturday with a group of Vets from the Lyons VA Hospital in Basking Ridge. The Seton HaLL Athletic Department trerats veterans from the East Orange and Lyons Hosptial to games each year. It is a wonderful treat for very deserving patients. The seats are on the floor near the Saphires which makes it extra special for the vets!

  • RonD

    Martin and Baldwin are shooting just 30% from 3. But Jorgensen and McDermott are at 42%.

  • Joe J

    I like the match-ups for the Hall, Carrington should have a big day against the Butler freshman PG and Angel should dominate inside with his match-ups. Defensively need to slow down the 3 point shooting of Butler which has been hot the last few games.

  • z06

    Another big East fight ,fouls shots,refs calling the game,making 3’s,not turning the ball over,all year it will be like this winning on the Road is Big.

  • PadrePirate

    Prov just knocks off Xavier. BE could only get wilder by MU taking down Nova…(and DePaul winning the BET).

  • PadrePirate

    Cannot believe it. I turned down the volume, to get back to work, with SHU down 10 about half way through 2H… I check back a little later and we’re up 4 with :07 sec left. Huge road win vs the team that beat Nova last week. GO HALL!

  • Joe J

    Great win. I thought both Carrington and Angel would have big games. Great match ups for both of them and they dominated

    • PadrePirate

      Good call. KW said that Angel would be scoring 20-25 a night if he would just make his FTs, which he did tonight. Those 6 dimes looking good. Angel is tied with Jalen Brunson in assists. What a win!

    • LBP

      Thought Desi would have a big day too and was kinda wrong on that– Desi owes DelGado for saving him Goat horns–great O rebound

      • VinBick

        Hey, L, Desi played one hell of a game! Not just scoring 19 points, which was clutch, he had some very key rebounds, too. How about that breakaway dunk? D.D. is a stud…..

        • LBP

          VinBick – actually thought Desi did not have a great day ( and he “only” had 19)–so how far has he come this year? Angel had maybe his best Game as a Pirate ( he did bail out Desi with that Rebound when Desi pulled up from 40) We have to really just appreciate this Team.

  • The Other Powell

    What a game! Can’t say enough about the Angel / Deno combo today. Also, Powell was obviously under the weather and didn’t look for his shot much in the first half, playing limited minutes…but he was clutch down the stretch! That fall-away three from the corner with under 5 to go was huge! Really impressive to see him show up in a big moment like that after not really being incorporated into the offense for most of the game. You can’t help but wonder what the finished product will look like in a couple of years. That kid is a stud! I’m getting used to our ability to adjust in the second half. I feel like as long as we stay within striking distance in the first, we’re in good shape to come away with the W. Great win at an almost impossible venue to play in as the visiting team. Let’s keep it rolling…go Hall!

    • LBP

      Nice The Other Powell– Kudos to Coach for drawing up that 3 pointer with 4 secs left–actually thought Willard did a good job and no panic

  • VinBick

    Never felt like we would lose the game except for a few minutes in the second half when it looked like the Bulldogs were in stride up eleven. Our junkyard dogs are just tougher! With the confidence shown today, this is one very dangerous team and should be rolling come March. Butler appeared over-matched down the stretch after playing so well in the confines of their house for most of the contest.

  • Andrew Herbst

    So proud of this team. Seniors were outstanding today. I loved how Angel was setting up Khadeem with so many open looks. Angel was a beast again. Desi was outstanding. and Myles P was clutch down the stretch. This will be a good confidence booster for us. Can’t wait for Tuesday’s game against Marquette. GO PIRATES!

  • cali jack

    Great road win against a very tough opponent.Particularly with Powell not at full strength.The trio of AD/KC/DR are as good as any teams top threesome in the country.On the minus side,we have the weakest offensive PF combo in the BE other team can play 5 versus 4.

  • z06

    Great road win for the Pirates,the only negative that I would say the bench no scoring,and I would say if Myles Powell was not under the weather the Hall could Have won by 10or more

  • Mike Walsh

    We did get some nice minutes from Myles Cale who seems to be gaining confidence and I thought Jordan Walker played under control as well, I still think that Cale, Walker and Mamu will look much better come tournament time.

    • cali jack

      Agree on Cale. He’s solid defensively and can contribute on offense when playing under control.Hope Walker can continue to grow.He’s playing under control but at times I’d like to see him cut it loose because thats really his game. Mamu I have a hard time seeing this year.It seems a lack of confidence results in that deer in the headlights look.Seems a year away to me from making a real contribution which is too bad because theres a lot of minutes available at the PF spot.MN/IS in 37 minutes yesterday produced 0 points(0 for 4 at foul line) and 5 rebounds while their man Martin scored 27 points in about the same number of minutes. Not a good day and we could use help there.

  • Mike Walsh

    Okay, Seton Hall was ranked #6 in RPI before the game today. All five teams ahead of Seton Hall lost(Duke, Xavier, Oklahoma, TCU and UNC), will Seton Hall be NUMBER 1 in RPI tomorrow?

    • VinBick

      Where do you think the AP ranking will land this week with all of the top 25 teams losing? The Hall’s huge win at Butler should move the Pirates up to 17 or 16, maybe even higher.

      • Mike Walsh

        The Hall is listed at #4 in RPI this morning and #18 in KenPom, they should end up 17 or better.

  • PadrePirate
    • VinBick

      I am concerned about Chris, too. The guy is entitled to a life beyond this site that is none of our business, but for those of us who have enjoyed his efforts and insights here, this is a bit out of sorts because of his regular postings during the Pirate basketball seasons.

      • PadrePirate

        His last tweet came out 4h ago when the AP poll hit. So, he’s alive and well. Maybe just needs a break. He usually mentions in advance if he won’t be covering a game. That’s why I was a bit worried.

  • fouline

    Great win. But it seems we’re fighting for our lives.

  • slats33

    Great gutty win yesterday. Would’ve really liked to see more from our bench though. Cale looks like the only promising bench player. I hope they can develop 23 as he looks like a real project. Fantastic W nonetheless.

  • Mike Walsh

    Looks like Villanova will be number 1 in AP tomorrow. Duke went down yesterday and Ohio State crushed Michigan State today. Being number 1 is a jinx. Good to see Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier numbers 4, 5, and 6 in RPI. Three BE teams in top 6 is unbelievable.

  • kjs2009

    Given how tough people were on Carrington after the URI and RU losses, he should be given a lot of credit for leading us to 3-0 BE record. Following are conference-only stats (small sample): 23.7 PPG, 86% FT%, 54% 3PT%. Unlike a traditional PG, we don’t need him to dish as much, we only need him to get the offense started (feed Angel) and score, just like he did yesterday. He has become very trustworthy with the ball, and handles pressure well.

    Angel and Desi’s conference only numbers are also ridiculous so far. All 3 could be All-Big East players.

    http://bigeastconf_ftp.sidearmsports.com/custompages/sports/m-baskbl/2017-2018/confonly.htm

    • cali jack

      KC has been great shooting the ball.He has not been handling the ball as much as other point guards and this is likely helping his shooting.Pleasant surprise we’re leading the league in 3 pt shooting %.

    • Mike Walsh

      I think KW is coaching the point guard duties exceptionally well. Took some pressure off Carrington and he is shooting lights out.

  • VinBick

    Seton Hall is at Number 13 in today’s AP Poll! Pretty neat for a small, Catholic colllege typically over-shadowed by the big, pro sports that dominate the New York area media.

    • Mike Walsh

      Hoping for a road win at Marquette and Georgetown at home. Will be at the Rock on Saturday, the building should be rocking! Go Pirates!!

      • VinBick

        The Rock should be packed to welcome home the # 13 Pirates. This season is living up to the hipe and fan support for the program is key to the team’s success.

  • Thehall

    The HALL #13. Finally getting some respect. Let’s keep it going with a big road win against marq.

  • Jersey Jerry

    Gotta luv what Andy Katz said ’bout ‘da Hall this morning ~ NO LET UP in Beer City, GO HALL!!!
    http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2018-01-08/andy-katzs-power-36-whos-ncaa-tournament-jan-8

  • Andrew Herbst

    So pumped we are 13th. I would love to see us in top 10.