Seton Hall’s introduction to the Gavitt Games features a trip to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes.
A senior-laden Iowa team that was handled by Villanova in the NCAA second round last season will be the first high-major on the Pirates’ non-conference schedule, their first game away from home and Carver-Hawkeye Arena the third venue they’ll hoop at in as many games.
Set to air on the Big Ten Network, Seton Hall will clash with a Fran McCaffrey-lead bunch which loses four senior starters that accounted for 56-percent of their scoring a year ago; Iowa is ranked 55th in KenPom this preseason.
Key departures: PF Jarrod Uthoff (18.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg), G Anthony Clemmons (8.9 ppg, 3.7 apg), PG Mike Gesell (8.1 ppg, 6.2 apg), C Adam Woodbury (7.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg)
Returnees to watch: G/F Peter Jok (16.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg), PF Dom Uhl (6 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Impact additions: PF Tyler Cook (top-100), Jordan Bohannon (PG)
Iowa has a five-deep incoming freshman class that is meant to bolster the ranks, with guard Jordan Bohannon (younger brother of former Wisconsin star Jason) perhaps the most crucial of the bunch despite a national ranking which won’t turn any heads; only Tyler Cook is rated a top-200 recruit.
In the void of Mike Gesell’s 25th-best assist rate, McCaffrey finds himself lacking a returning point guard with any experience; Bohannon and rarely-played sophomore Christian Williams (5.4 mpg) will look to split time at the ‘one’ next season.
The point guard battle against a Seton Hall team that is also in search of an Isaiah Whitehead replacement will be interesting, but the Pirates certainly get the preseason nod in this department with more-senior options like Madison Jones and Khadeen Carrington set to inherit the reins until December.
Leading returning scorer Peter Jok is by far the main Hawkeye threat to watch with Ish Sanogo perhaps primed to do the job here. Point Pleasant Beach (NJ) alum Dom Uhl should also be on the Hall’s scouting report as he can play a stretch four role after knocking down 45-percent of his 60 three-point attempts last year.
Although Iowa’s national prestige and home team status present immediate doubts about this matchup, Seton Hall is the better team on paper here. The Hawkeyes lose too much experience and have too big a question mark at point guard in a game that can potentially set the Hall up for a 3-0 start heading into the Advocare Invitational.
That said, the Hall’s first true road test at a venue that drew nearly 14,000 fans on average last season (13,835; 19th) is far from an easy task with Khadeen Carrington already circling this date on his calendar prior to Big East Media Day.