Following an uneasy preseason that included a nail-biting exhibition against D-III Baruch College and a three-point loss to Penn State in a scrimmage, Seton Hall will be looking to come out with a bang on Friday night against Dartmouth.
Picked sixth (out of eight) in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll, Dartmouth appears to be an appropriate opening night test for the Hall.
As examined here as part of my Preview Series, the Big Green (14-15, 7-7) lose their top two scorers from last season in center Gabas Maldunas (11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg), and shooting guard Alex Mitola (12.4 ppg, 2.7 apg). Head coach Paul Cormier will also be without four-year starter John Golden (4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg).
Point guard Malik Gill, wing Miles Wright and forward Connor Boehm are the core three returnees for Dartmouth that will shoulder most of the load early on. At 5-foot-9, Gill was a nuisance last year and registered the 3rd-best steal percentage in the country.
Outside of these three, it looks like 6-foot-8 freshman Evan Boudreaux will get a bunch of minutes after starting in Dartmouth’s exhibition while freshman shooting guard Guilien Smith could see a significant role after scoring 14 points (3-6 3pters) in the same exhibition.
Three things to watch:
Seton Hall’s three-point defense. Giving up 12 three pointers against both D-III Baruch (lot of open looks), and Penn State (albeit in a scrimmage) is not a good look. The Hall’s perimeter defense was once top-5 in the nation last season before slipping slightly to 12th at the end of the season. I wrote a brief analysis on the legitimacy of that statistic here. After losing Alex Mitola, 6-foot-4 guard Taylor Johnson is probably Dartmouth’s best threat from deep.
Dictating the battle in the paint. Kevin Willard noted post-Baruch that their small size from point guard to their five made them hard to guard. I understand the point he’s making, but it can also be said that Seton Hall’s far superior size should have been used more effectively. Angel Delgado sat most of the first half with two fouls, but I only saw one or maybe two true post plays (one was a nice Rashed Anthony basket) and Braeden Anderson didn’t get much time at all. The Hall needs a lot better play in this area and with Ismael Sanogo and Desi Rodriguez listed as projected starters, perhaps there will be a greater focus here.
Creating open looks for teammates. There wasn’t nearly enough of this against Baruch and the ball movement, particularly in the half court, was certainly not at the level that we saw early last season and during portions of the Big East schedule. Isaiah Whitehead certainly needs to score this season, but he also needs to create for his teammates once defenses start to key in on him; there wasn’t a ton of this against Baruch.
Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier: “I understand why we were picked sixth or seventh in the preseason polls by various groups having lost three starters to graduation. The league is as strong as it has ever been with many teams continually raising the bar. But I have a group of very determined guys who expect to keep pushing this program forward, and we have a chance of being more than simply decent. This team has a very high ceiling, and I for one am excited to see how high we can go.”
KenPom says: No. 82 Seton Hall – 74, No. 228 Dartmouth 62 (87%)
Projected Dartmouth starters:
Stats from last season
PG – Malik Gill (6 ppg, 3.2 apg)
G – Taylor Johnson (2.4 ppg)
G – Miles Wright (7.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
F – Evan Boudreaux (freshman)
F – Connor Boehm (9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
Projected Seton Hall starters:
PG – Isaiah Whitehead (12 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.5 apg)
G – Khadeen Carrington (8.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
F – Desi Rodriguez (5.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
F – Ismael Sanogo (.5 ppg, 1 rpg)
F/C – Angel Delgado (9.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg)
Time: 7pm ET
TV: YES Network (locally)
Radio: 970 AM (Gary Cohen & Dave Popkin)
Opening line: Seton Hall -12