Seton Hall up for more favorable task in Arkansas

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After traveling out west to Denver to play Gonzaga last season, Seton Hall sounds up to the challenge of taking on Arkansas and perhaps North Carolina on the East Coast this time around.

Drawn with the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (25-9) in Greenville, S.C., the Pirates (22-11) watched themselves tapped as a nine-seed at Kevin Willard’s Westfield, N.j. home after a full-blown celebration at Walsh last year.

“Last year when you win the Big East championship you have to celebrate that. I think last year was more celebrating that,” said Willard of the contrast.

“This year as much of a grind as it’s been, I think these guys wanted a nice night with themselves and their teammates. … When I asked the team I gave them options of doing something small at my house or something on campus. The guys are comfortable here, they come here a lot. I think they just wanted to be somewhere there were comfortable.”

“It was smaller compared to last year when we won the Big East,” added Khadeen Carrington of the Selection Show viewing.

“There wasn’t as many cameras, so it was more relaxed. It was chill.”

Set to play on Friday at 1:30 E.T. instead of late Thursday night in a different time zone like last year, Seton Hall gets an extra day of rest coupled with less travel; Arkansas also doesn’t have to go far but they do get one less day off the court since battling with Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.

“I think playing on Friday is great, it does give us another day of rest, another day of prep,” said Willard.

“Staying on the East Coast is exciting, it gives much more fans to get to it, Greenville isn’t too far away.”

“It’s great to see — we don’t have to go to Colorado again,” added Carrington of this year’s draw.

“We were getting adjusted to the climate over there [in Denver]. [Greenville is] Somewhere close — not too close but close enough, I think it’s a good place to play.”

The extra day of cushion will also help Ish Sanogo‘s sprained ankle heal — he tweaked it again in the second half against Villanova.

“His ankle was actually a little bit swollen today. He re-sprained it late in the second half, but he looked great [in the game],” said Willard of his glue-guy.

“I think he’s starting to get some of his bounce back. I think an extra day of rest will help him. I think he played phenomenal on Friday night and it was good to see that bounce-back.”

All of the talk over the past few days is the contrast between winning the conference last year and exiting early this season going into the big Dance. Either way, the junior-laden team has already displayed signs of maturity according to Willard.

“I can just tell by their attitude. They have a much better sense of what is coming at them from the media, just everything,” he said of his team’s current morale.

“They have a much calmer sense about them, they understand what’s at stake: you’re playing for a chance to win a national championship, and I don’t think that really sunk in for them last year before the tournament.”

Even though the national spotlight and North Carolina are almost surely waiting in the wings for the winner of this game on essentially a home court for the Tar Heels, Seton Hall knows they have to narrow their focus.

“You can’t just look past anybody, that’s how you get in trouble right there,” said Carrington, who literally can’t look past the Razorbacks after taking in their game earlier today.

“I’ve actually watched them play today [against Kentucky], they have some good guard play. They have a good big down low. It’s going to be a great game.”

While the path to the Sweet 16 is certainly harder than last year, perhaps the first NCAA tournament win for Seton Hall since 2004 — when they also played in the 8-9 game with a North Carolina-based ACC pending — is the immediate task at hand.

“It’s just more history being created,” said Carrington of what a mean could win for the program.

“We’ve made a lot of history since our class came here. It will just be adding to all the history we’ve already made. It would just be unbelievable.

“That’s what we’ve got to do, just make history before we leave.”

  • Dave Degenhardt

    What is the head to head record versus North Carolina? Trying to google it and having trouble…saw we played them at least twice via the search but couldn’t get a head to head…think we last played them in 1992?

    • 1-4, won only game in 53-54. Lost 95-65 in 1997, 70-66 in 1993 and 83-54 in 1991

      • ScarletPirate

        The ’91 team list by 30? That’s surprises me. That team had Avent, Dehere, Walker, Oliver Taylor and Bryan Caver and Karnishovas as freshmen. That team beat Arizona in the Sweet 16 and only lost to the Larry Johnson UNLV team by 12

        • hallstorm

          I’m guessing Chris is referencing the 91-92 team. Maybe in November/December?

          I don’t remember the ’91 team having UNC on their schedule. That ’91 team won the Big East tournament with an Ollie Taylor full court drive in the semi’s. I know they lost to UNLV in the elite 8 that season after beating Arizona in the 16 by 4.

          I remember the game in ’93–that was in North Carolina and Seton Hall was leading a bunch of the game. Lost at the very end

          • DougFlynn

            For whatever reason, I think SHU played UNC on Super Bowl Sunday one year at the Meadowlands. This was one of the years with the end of the Dehere team with Luther Wright.

        • The Hobokenite

          That was a preseason game in Dec ’91 during ACC/Big East matchups. And Derrick Phelps ate us up that night.

          • hallstorm

            Caver was a patented thief with those long arms though.

          • The Hobokenite

            Caver ultimately fit in really well. He had a great last 5 second, full court layup win against gtown that year!

          • hallstorm

            Yeah he was one of my personal favorites. I want to say he was from Hudson Catholic, Marist or Bayonne, but I can’t remember. I also remember him having some qualification issues as well. Didn’t he miss some games because of it or something?

          • Rich Ricci

            I’m pretty sure Bran Caver was from Trenton Catholic, or some school in that area that has since closed down, Hallstorm. You’re right about him having some sort of qualification problems because I seem to remember he had a late start to his Freshman season and, although he was very good, never really lived up to his full potential.

            When Caver first committed to The Hall, I thought he and Terry Dehere would become the best backcourt in the country, but it never really materialized that way. I think it took Caver a while to adjust to college life and NCAA Basketball and, by the time he did, Dehere had already graduated.

          • hallstorm


            You know what?–I think you’re absolutely correct about Trenton Catholic. Now that I hear Trenton Catholic, it sounds accurate.

            And yes–he just had the makings of a top 5 point guard with that wing span. He was good, but he could have been great.

          • DougFlynn

            I believe it was McKoristin – I am sure I butchered the spelling. Many of the Catholic schools have consolidated since that time (Paterson Catholic, etc.), so possibly this could have been folded into Trenton Catholic.

            I was a season ticket holder in those years – Caver, in my opinion, was among the most talented players SHU ever had. Unfortunately, PJ had a blind spot for Danny Hurley. Caver was a 6’5″ PG with a good handle, and a terrific defender on the ball. Very quick.

          • Rich Ricci

            You’re one hundred percent correct, Bryan Caver went to McCorristin High School, which is now Trenton Catholic Academy, Doug!! I knew the school no longer existed under that name and somehow had it linked to Trenton Catholic in the back of my mind, but I just couldn’t make the exact connection! ☺

            Yes, Caver was a true “pass first” point guard who was an excellent slasher with great court vision, which enabled to find the open man and quickly pile up assists. He didn’t have much of an outside shot, but his quickness got him to the rim almost at will and also enabled him to be a shut down defender, all of which made him a perfect complement to Terry Dehere.

          • The Hobokenite

            Brian Caver came from Trenton Catholic, just like our boy Myles Powell. I remember there always being issues surrounding Caver, but being a student nobody paid attention to what it really was. I read after I left a couple of years later that Caver had a fear of getting pulled out of games for making mistakes, and getting yelled at by PJ, it held him back mentally at first. It wasn’t until Danny Hurley came along, and the rest of the guys got behind him that it pushed him to convincingly win outright the point guard position as his own, where he really shined.

          • hallstorm

            Yeah, but it was beyond the PJ thing. Danny H had an issue with PJ and that was splashed all over the papers as it happened, but Caver had academic issues. It was kept quiet–similar to the Michael Glover issue years back. The only thing is they cleared Caver and never cleared Glover.

            Of course, Danny had a lot going on and no one really knew about it. Bobby’s accident just amplified the whole incident unfortunately.

          • The Hobokenite

            Yeah, that whole Danny H thing was sad. Unfortunately, and probably unfairly, a lot of high expectations were demanded from him from the beginning, I remember the tough Seton Hall students and fans used to boo him when 15,000 were coming to Seton Hall games at the Meadowlands, and having a tough coach like PJ must have been overwhelming. He had a hard time coping with it. It was good to see that he ended his career with a better mindset and really enjoyed his remaining basketball career under Coach Blaney.

          • hallstorm

            That was exactly it. PJ really raised expectations in a super-competitive Big East and he created a pipeline from St. Anthony’s. I remember the fans really getting on Danny at Brendan Byrne. The thing is–he was really a 2-guard and trying to compete instead as a PG. He was already friends with Terry and Jerry and TD already had the 2 guard position locked up for the next 3 years after Danny arrived on campus.

          • DougFlynn

            But Dehere was the 2G on that team.

          • LBP

            Good memory hallstorm

          • LBP

            loved–loved-Caver–just never got to where I thought his talent would bring him–I see a lot of Caver in Myles Cale ( whom I think is going to be Great).

        • hallstorm

          Karnish-swish. That was the radio call by Warner Fusselle. He was automatic from the line.

  • Seton Hall – Arkansas will air at 1:30PM ET on TNT, Friday.

    Broadcast team: Brian Anderson / Chris Webber / Lewis Johnson

  • Arkansas are 1-point favorites per Vegas + KenPom (74-73)

    • LBP

      Chris –can not wait to get this bet in while in the Bahamas–have a sneaky suspicion that by that time, I will be laying 2 points

      • Best of luck to you this March, Leon 🙂

        • LBP

          Chris– I know I speak for may on this Board–where has your donation box gone?

  • Matty P

    Not a bad first round matchup for the pirates and in a neutral location for both teams. The only common matchups between both teams was Florida and South Carolina. Based on the time of year, locations that each game was played, and who was available for each game you would need to take each with a grain of salt.

    SHU – Florida (L: 81-76); South Carolina (W: 67-64)
    Arkansas – Florida (L: 81-72 & @L: 78-65); South Carolina (@W: 83-76)

    Also looking at the statistics it appears that Arkansas plays with a 9 man rotation with the majority of their points coming from 4 guys (3 guards and 1 center). They are also a very upperclassman heavy with their 9 man rotation being either juniors or seniors.

    • Rich Ricci

      Since Seton Hall had problems with Wednesday night followed by Saturday afternoon games during the season, having to play Friday and Sunday afternoon games against a running team like North Carolina, probably the deepest team in the tournament, isn’t the best match-up for them in the second round, especially since Chapel Hill is only about ninety-five to one hundred miles away from Greenville, which is no more than a ninety minute to two hour drive away. Ironically, they may have been better off in the West this year, where a number nine seed would have sent them to Salt Lake City versus Northwestern, followed by a revenge game against Gonzaga.

      On the other hand, a ten seed in the West would have matched them up against St. Mary’s and then Arizona in Salt Lake City, which wouldn’t have been too bad, either. Similarly, a ten seed in the South would have given them Dayton, followed by Kentucky in Indianapolis, which may be the best first two round match-ups of all for The Hall!

      • HallBall10

        Did not want to go to salt lake.. we got a fair draw.
        Yes unc will have a lot of support but duke will also be playing in Greenville and I’d imagine they will be rooting hard for whomever is playing unc.

        • Hallbuster

          Not afraid of unc. They aren’t better than nova. Bring them on. If ur great u have to beat teams like this at some point

          • Joe Schmoe


          • LBP

            Hallbuster –you are right– besides, ( knowing Hall would not have Nova) would choose N.Carolina over Gonzaga or Kansas– BTW I had a nightmare that we would be facing Wichita State in first round so any seeds excluding WSU was welcome.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Did some scouting on Arkansas. They have a lot of outside shooters. Only one guy who’s 6-10. I like this matchup. I think Angel will be able to handle their big man.

    • Matty P

      One thing to keep an eye on will be that Kingsley (the 6’10” guy you referenced) got ejected with a flagrant 2 for hitting a Kentucky player in the face. I don’t know if the team or SEC will do anything about it outside of his ejection in the game, but if he were to be told to sit out a game it would greatly impact this matchup.

      Also random side note, but it would be a little funny with both Kingsley and Nzei started talking smack to each other in Nigerian. According to where they live they both grew up about 170 miles apart in Nigeria.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Hopefully he has to sit out. That’s an interesting side note. Would be funny

        • LBP

          Andrew–I want Arkansas with no excuses– not being a Namath but I can guarantee we beat them– with or without their hothead Center

          • Andrew Herbst

            I think so too

      • PadrePirate

        Don’t think so. That will be long forgotten. At least the team is not going to put themselves at a disadvantage in the tournament just to make a point. Can’t see SEC stepping in either, but that would be a game changer. He’s big and athletic. Will not be easy for Angel.

      • The Hobokenite

        The Nigerian confrontation is funny. The highlights on Kingsley are impressive. He’s very athletic. But Angel looks stronger. Let’s see if Angel can get under his skin once he begins to eat Kingsley on the boards.

    • Do they? Most of their points come from FT line and inside the arc.

      Going to put up a quick-hitting what to know about Arkansas post tonight/tomorrow morning. I haven’t seen them play but… just some things I gathered.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Kinsley is tallest guy at 6-10. I’ve watched some highlights. They like to score in the paint.

        • Got it. You said they have a lot of outside shooters. I think not more than SH, who I think are below average. powell + desi yes, but KC usually needs an open shot and jones cant be relied upon

          • Andrew Herbst

            That’s true. Need Khadeem and Desi to hit shots. Hopefully Jones as well.

  • Matty P

    Chris – I’m not sure if this was something done in previous seasons, but would there be any interest in a SHU hoops bracket challenge? Obviously doesn’t need to be for any money, but just some bragging rights on the site.

    • shufaninva

      I remember them doing it on South Orange Juice. That was fun.

    • I’ll create one and put up a post by tomorrow to see who is interested. I’m not sure if I did one last year since it was hectic, but I definitely did at least 2 at SOJ.

      • Matty P

        Thank you Chris. Appreciate everything you do for this board! #1 site for all things SHU basketball.

  • shufaninva

    Any worries about travel issues with the weather? Maybe they will have to wait till day before the game to travel??

  • LBP

    Hey Fellow Hall Fans–
    As many of you know, a large contingent of Pirate Fans meet in the Atlantis Sport Betting Bar for the first week-end of March Madness– of course I have to “back” the Pirates but I do appeal for any –shall I call them –“tips”or ‘suggestions” that may be given by the Members of this Board on the other Games. You make no money but get my gratitude. ( BTW –this Board does have the most knowledgable College B-Ball fans I can find)

  • Will be posting a run down of Arkansas info/stats early tomorrow

    I leave for S.C. Wednesday evening. SH open practice noon-1240 on Thursday. Media prior

  • The Hobokenite

    Great analysis of the first round matchup from Arkansas’ point of view:

    • shufaninva

      Considering Seton Hall is a team they didn’t even think about till 48 hours ago or so, I think they did a great job in giving their fans a quick scouting report. One thing that I hope fans are saying after the game is “why didn’t anyone mention this Powell kid?” If Myles gets hot in this tourney, look out!! He could be the X factor, the one piece that gets just a little bit too overlooked in a quick game prep.