Previewing the non-conference opponents: Wagner

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After hosting Dartmouth in their home-opener, Seton Hall will entertain Staten Island-based Wagner of the Northeast Conference in their second game this season and their final tune-up before the Charleston Classic.

Presumably coming on the heels of a win over a Dartmouth squad that lost its top two scorers from last season, the Pirates will battle Wagner in what looks set to be a cozy Sunday matinee matchup in Walsh Gym.

Regardless of the Seahawks’ talent level, Bashir Mason’s team will be battle-tested after they take on St. John’s in their opening game on the Friday night just prior.

Roster subtractions: SG Marcus Burton (17.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg), PF Stedman Allen (6.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

Returnees to watch: PF Mike Aaman (10.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg), G Corey Henson (9.1 ppg), PG JoJo Cooper (6.9 ppg, 4 apg, 3.9 rpg)

Key additions: Dwaun Anderson, PF Henry Brooks (UPenn; 4.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Michael Carey (San Jacinto JuCo)
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Wagner didn’t have much to brag about during their 10-20 (8-10) campaign a year ago. The Seahawks registered just one D-I win outside of their conference and the best KenPom team they beat was No. 221 Mount Saint Mary’s in 2OT, a team which Seton Hall trounced at the Rock.

Further, Wagner loses by far their best scorer in two-guard Marcus Burton. His percentage wasn’t great from three at 31%, but replacing a high volume of outside shots (57 of 180) won’t be easy.

Unlike Dartmouth, it looks like some help may be on the way in the form of three additions. A one-time Michigan State Spartan and a transfer target of Seton Hall’s, 6-4 Dwaun Anderson will return to the fold after playing just six minutes last season due to injury. Wagner will also benefit from UPenn graduate transfer Henry Brooks, a power forward, and incoming junior college wing Michael Carey, a one-time Texas Tech commit.

At this point, it’s pretty hard to respect a Wagner team that was fairly poor across the board last season outside of offensive rebounding. A trio of freshmen guards in JoJo Cooper, Romone Saunders (7.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Corey Henson are now a year older, but the question of who will replace Marcus Burton’s scoring still remains. Big man Mike Aaman, who averaged just shy of a double-double a year ago, is also one to watch.

Seton Hall should be expected to produce a favorable result at Walsh Gym against a team that will be roughly on the same level as Dartmouth.