A comfortable win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night has positioned No. 23 Seton Hall (1-0) favorably for their quick turnaround before hosting Monmouth on Sunday.
It’s not quite the same as Utah Valley playing at Kentucky and then at Duke in a 24-hour span, but Seton Hall’s Friday-to-Sunday transition is notable.
Graced with a 20-point lead for nearly the entire second half of the Hall’s 90-68 thumping of Fairleigh Dickinson, Kevin Willard was able to cycle his reserves in like NHL lines much like he did during the team’s two exhibition games.
As a result, his starters averaged 21 minutes played and no Pirate saw the court more than Khadeen Carrington’s 23.
“I feel great. I only played 23 minutes, that’s nowhere near what I played last year,” said Carrington after Friday night’s win. “I think Coach is trying different things early to see what we have. I think everybody played tonight, am I right?”
“I think he wants to play over ten guys consistently. It feels like I didn’t even play tonight, to tell you the truth. [I had the most minutes] but it’s only 23. That’s a good thing, you don’t have to wear yourself out.”
Carrington surely isn’t the only Pirate that will be fully charged for Sunday’s matinee at the Rock.
Desi Rodriguez didn’t see the court for the final 15:09.
Angel Delgado played just nine early minutes in the second half.
Ish Sanogo saw five minutes after the break. Mike Nzei nine.
All of this fails to mention the future dividends to be earned by letting freshmen shed their training wheels as early in the season as possible.
Switching gears to the opponent, Monmouth (1-0) knocked off Bucknell on Friday night via a pair of Micah Seaborn free throws in the closing seconds to kick-start the post-Justin Robinson era.
Picked third in the preseason MAAC coaches poll, the Hawks will rely on Seaborn this year as he’s the only one of their top four scorers who returns after an exodus of seniors from last year’s 27-win team leaves this group fairly young.
Three things to watch
A quicker start. Khadeen Carrington said the following about the team’s start against FDU: “I don’t think anybody was really worried, not even coach … [But] It’s not OK for us to come out like that because it’s going to be harder to come back against better teams — I think I need to do a better job of getting guys ready to go.” Enough said.
Effective shooting. Seton Hall was hitting at just under 30-percent from deep until late in the game, would a better zone team than FDU have caused bigger issues? Crisp ball movement was able to open up a lot of open space on the interior which minimized the need for outside shots to fall. On a positive note, Myles Cale (2 of 3) looks more than capable of hitting threes consistently, here is my hierarchy of who I want taking them: Powell, Carrington, Desi, Cale, Sandro/Walker. It’s a good thing to have confidence in a fourth-choice option.
More swarming defense. Monmouth recorded just five assists on 25 made shots while turning it over 13 times against Bucknell. Like FDU, the Hawks appear thin at point guard and should be ripe for another Willard experiment on the defensive end.
KenPom says: No. 26 Seton Hall 85, No. 165 Monmouth 68 (94%)
Projected Seton Hall starters:
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Mike Nzei
C – Angel Delgado
Projected Monmouth starters:
G – Micah Seaborn
G – Ray Salnave
G/F – Louie Pillari
F – Pierre Sarr
F – Diago Quinn
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: AM 970 (Gary Cohen & Dave Popkin)
Opening line: TBA
Series: 12-0 SH