Following a brief respite after competing in the Charleston Classic, Seton Hall will host Georgia in the return trip of a home-and-home series which saw the Pirates thoroughly beaten in Athens last season.
The Bulldogs (21-12, 11-7) lose two key players but return a ton of talent and could be the Pirates’ third opponent in a row that saw the NCAA tournament in 2014-15; Mark Fox’ team bowed out in the first round against Michigan State.
Roster subtractions: PF Marcus Thornton (12.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), PF Nemanja Djurisic (11 ppg, 5.2 rpg), F Cameron Forte (4 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
Returnees to watch: Kenny Gaines (11.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Charles Mann (11.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.6 apg), JJ Frazier (9.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), Yante Maten (5 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Juwan Parker (4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
Key additions: [None]
Georgia loses their starting forward tandem of center Marcus Thornton and versatile Nemanja Djurisic that out-muscled Seton Hall in Athens last season, but not much else from a team that very nearly took down Kentucky.
A highly-talented guard stable of JJ Frazier, Charles Mann (point guards), Kenny Gaines and Juwan Parker (two-guards) will be one of the deepest and most experienced backcourts in the country. These four Bulldogs, all of whom are juniors or older will truly go toe-to-toe with the Hall’s three physical guards.
Replacing Thornton and Djurisic in the frontcourt will be sophomore Yante Maten and some combination of redshirt junior Houston Kessler, sophomore Osahen Iduwe, or freshmen Mike Edwards and Derek Ogbeide. Georgia is very experienced in their backcourt but relatively young up front, though they do not lack size. I can easily see Mark Fox going with a three-guard lineup for long stretches.
As seen in their dominant 65-47 win over the Hall last season, defense is a strength for the Bulldogs. The SEC team finished 23rd in defensive efficiency and top-35 in three other major statistical categories a season ago. The Pirates were not able to crack Georgia’s shell last time around and scored just 22 points at the half.
Despite being at home this season, this will be just as tough of a game for Seton Hall as it was last year down in Georgia. The Bulldogs won’t be as dominant in the paint but match-up well against the Pirates’ guards and Mark Fox evidently knows how to game plan for the Hall.
A win coming off a strong showing in Charleston could really solidify an early-season surge for Seton Hall while a loss could double down on a poor preseason tournament.
Miss the rest of the Preview Series? See below:
- Seton Hall hosts Ivy League foe Dartmouth on opening night
- Wagner comes to Walsh Gym in final tuneup before Charleston Classic
- Hall faces Long Beach State in all-important first round of Charleston Classic
- A look at the rest of the Charleston Classic field, including top-10 Virginia