Potentially riding a wave of positive national exposure following the Advocare Invitational, Seton Hall will return home to host Jim Engles’ Columbia on the first of December in the second game at Prudential Center this season.
In his first year at the helm after being poached from NJIT, Engles will inherit a program that won 25 games and the CIT in 2015-16, but not many of the horses who earned those accolades.
Key departures: G Maodo Lo (16.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg), F Alex Rosenberg (13.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg), PG Grant Mullins (13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), G Isaac Cohen (4.5 ppg, 2.9 apg)
Returnees to watch: PF Luke Petrasek (10.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Jeff Coby (5.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
Impact additions: None
Columbia did use the 77th-most bench minutes last season, but the departure of their top three scorers including Grant Mullins’ graduate transfer to California accounts for nearly 60-percent of the Lions’ scoring and most of their experience from a squad ranked 46th in seniority.
Seton Hall holds an 8-4 advantage in this series with just one meeting between the two since 2001-02, a 71-50 snoozer at Prudential Center in 2008 under Bobby Gonzalez.
Ranked 195th by KenPom, Jim Engles’ team project to be somewhere in the bottom half of the Ivy (5th in preseason Coaches Poll) and one of the weaker schools the Hall will meet before the Big East season.
Columbia should prove to be a tune-up of sorts before the Pirates fly out to Hawaii for the Pearl Harbor Invitational, but the nature of this game will be determined by how the Hall does in Orlando: Riding high on a wave of national exposure, looking to rebound off a disappointing showing, or perhaps somewhere in between.