Shaky Indiana awaits No. 22 Seton Hall in Gavitt Games

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No. 22 Seton Hall rides a 2-0 start into their first test against a high-major with Indiana coming to town on Wednesday as part of the Gavitt Games.

The Pirates’ start to the season has instilled confidence in fans outside of two slightly slow starts. This is in stark contrast to Indiana losing 90-69 at home to Indiana State on opening night and beating lowly Howard by just nine on Sunday.

Operating under new head coach Archie Miller, the Hoosiers were expected to have some drop-off from an 18-16 NIT campaign with Tom Crean a year ago, but I’m sure a home drubbing to a mid-major wasn’t on the menu for most.

Expect offense in this one as Indiana is ranked 57th in offensive efficiency but have looked porous defensively at times including their opponents shooting a combined 30-of-60 from three along with 34 attempted free throws.

Starting forward Juwan Morgan is a doubt after playing just five minutes against Howard after suffering an ankle/foot injury, leaving sophomore center De’Ron Davis (15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and senior two-guard Robert Johnson (10.5 ppg), to primarily shoulder the load.

While Hoosier fans will probably go on about what their team has done wrong, they have excelled in sharing the basketball, much like their hosts. Indiana has registered 37 assists over their first two games, which is good for 30th in assist-to-FGM ratio.

Double-double machine Angel Delgado (13.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg) will go up against his toughest test yet in 6-10 De’Ron Davis while Myles Powell (14 ppg) will look to replicate his 27-point outing away at Iowa in last year’s 91-83 win in the Gavitt Games; Powell recently impressed with 18 against Monmouth.

Khadeen Carrington (11 ppg, 5 apg) has a solid ten assists to just two turnovers so far as a converted point guard, but he is 0-9 from three, a stat which he smiled about then shrugged off when I mentioned it post-Monmouth.

Kevin Willard on facing Indiana: “Tomorrow we’ll lift, we need to watch a lot of film on us & Indiana. I like being 2-0, but we have a lot of room for improvement.”

I then asked if he had seen they were blown out in their opener: “I have not watched Indiana yet, I have too much respect for King [Rice] & the job he’s done at Monmouth. I’ll watch Indiana tonight [Howard game]”

Gavitt Games Tracker (B10 1-0):

11/13 – No. 14 Minnesota (86) at Providence (74)
11/14 – Marquette at No. 19 Purdue (FS1)
11/15 – Indiana at No. 22 Seton Hall (FS1)
11/15 – Butler at Maryland (FS1)
11/15 – Creighton at No. 20 Northwestern (BTN)
11/16 – St. John’s at Nebraska (FS1)
11/16 – No. 15 Xavier at Wisconsin (FS1)
11/17 – DePaul at Illinois (BTN)

Three things to watch

Seton Hall’s defensive approach against a team that can score. Fairleigh Dickinson was missing by far their best scorer, and Monmouth was basically playing without a point guard. So while the Hall has successfully pounced on two teams that are sloppy at lead guard, Indiana is a different animal; senior Josh Newkirk (8.5 ppg, 4 apg) has plenty of experience between Indiana and Pittsburgh, while the Hoosiers have done well offensively, as mentioned.

More consistent conventional offense. Sure, Seton Hall is sitting 25th in offensive efficiency. Yes, they are scoring over 80 ppg. But, the offense has gone out of sync a bit too many times for comfort. Two slow starts followed by great sequences, which stagnated to varying degrees in the second half, perhaps due to substantial leads (shouldn’t be an excuse; Willard was not pleased about Sunday’s second half). On top of all that, the team is relying heavily on second chance points and scoring off turnovers. Of course that is part of the game and a viable strategy, but I’m just speaking about half court offense. Better opponents will be able to slow the pace and force you to score — think of Butler — this team needs to be more consistent in this area.

Attendance. Please don’t call PETA, because I’m going to keep beating this horse. Why? Because 4,000 actual attendance (tops) is too low in my book for a top-25 team in their home-opener and then their first Saturday game against local opponents. Xavier sold out the Cintas Center (10,224) against Morehead State and Rider. Butler sold out Hinkle Fieldhouse (9,100) for Kennesaw State. Marquette had a paid attendance of 13,324 for Mount Saint Mary’s. I’ve heard all of the excuses under the sun — but I’m prepared for more.

KenPom says: No. 29 Seton Hall 83, No. 84 Indiana 71

Projected Indiana starters:
PG – Josh Newkirk
G – Devonte Green
G – Robert Johnson
F – Juwan Morgan (questionable)
C – De’Ron Davis

Projected Seton Hall starters:
PG – Khadeen Carrington
2G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Mike Nzei
F – Angel Delgado

Radio: AM970
Opening line: Seton Hall -10
Series: 1-2 SH

  • SC

    Get this win and bring on Hurley and his boys

    • URI lost to Nevada late last night and they also lost EC Matthews to a wrist injury for 4-6 weeks.

      • jfp1992

        Not good for our resume.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Numbers… Carrington is due to hit a hot streak of threes… a game where hes 6-8 from beyond the arc is coming soon.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think this is the game where Khadeem gets going. I have a feeling he starts to score more. Angel, Desi and Myles will continues to play well.

  • 1968_bills_fan

    A good thing about SHU is that it plays in the NYC metro area. A bad thing for SHU is that the NYC metro area has multiple pro teams in every sport, a lot of other colleges and a lot of other attractions.

  • VinBick

    Does anyone here miss Anthony? Damn nice to have a second wave coming into games with talent and confidence early on in their college play. Big “M” along with Walker and Cale are performing nicely. Ish is pretty good, too.

  • Drew Guritzky

    I’d argue while the attendance needs to improve, so does Seton Hall’s choice in merchandise. Better hats, actually selling REAL jerseys would be a welcome changed. They legitimately have some of the WORST merchandise selection for fans of any D-1 team.

    • Louie Dee

      Amen. Our apparel sucks! Go check out Rutgers merchandise.

  • jfp1992

    Unfortunately, it’s going to take some sustained success to garner enough attention to fill The Rock. In the late 80s/early 90s, it took a National Chamionship final and 5 years of high caliber play to sell out The Meadowlands, and that was only against a Syracuse or UNC when they came to town. I would like to think that the Newark location is easier to get to (see Penn Station), but maybe not?
    It’s frustrating for a guy like me. I live out of state now so I don’t get to go to games at all. Went to the Rutgers game last year when I was back in NJ for Christmas. I took the train from Trenton. Long ride, but VERY convenient.

  • PirateLacrosse14

    Personally, on those games where I’m 50/50, it kind of comes down to location. I live in Connecticut, so the long drive deters me occasionally, but it’s more the fact that I’m driving to some arena in the middle of Newark, NJ, rather than My Alma Mater’s campus. It may just be me personally, but being able to see both the game and walk around the campus a little bit has just a little more appeal.

    But if we’re just talking about The Rock, the ticket prices to games aren’t unreasonable by any stretch, but there should be tons of packages and deals to these early games for not only Alumni, but local fans. I get a lot of the blame belongs to fans not putting in the effort to show up, but what is the school now doing to help fill those seats? They can’t approach ticket sales like they have for the past 15+ years, and just because they have a better product to sell doesn’t mean people will just start lining up. Deals for kids in Newark Public Schools, or for local basketball teams in the area could be a huge boost to help fill seats. Maybe it is being done and I’m just not aware, but the City of Newark has 280,000 people and the arena struggles to break 4,000.

    • Matty P

      I like the idea of doing a better job to reach out to the local community to fill some of the seats. As you mentioned, why not give some group deals to some of the local clubs, schools, or basketball teams. Those kids would be more excited to have the opportunity to be at a game then who the opponent is. Throw them up on the big screen once or twice during the game and they’ll be talking about it all for weeks.

  • regularJoe2

    I agree with the attendance issue. It’s very frustrating. I don’t know if Seton Hall’s athletic department markets to local parishes, schools and neighborhoods — but they should if they don’t. You can take a family of four to a game (for a top 25 team) for $100 dollars and it would cost you $400 or $500 to go to a Knick game.

  • LBP

    Big Game– no excuses for a slow star– Let’s make Indiana chase

    • PadrePirate

      Two things I’m looking for in this game–besides winning–are the minutes before the first media TO (play with intensity and in sync offensively from the start) and two whether Angel has improved against athletic big men, who at times slowed him down last year.

      • LBP

        Pretty good answer to both your questions Padre

  • PadrePirate

    One factor affecting attendance could be ticket prices. I wouldn’t know what it costs at the Cintas Center or the Fieldhouse, but at the Rock lower level seats are between 75-55$. That’s cheap compared to Knicks, Yankees, and co. but for blue collar folks or families to come regularly, that’s pricey.

  • Matt

    I don’t understand why not attempt a better local outreach to Newark. So many ways you can fill that arena.

  • LBP

    Coach Willard has it right– Frosh learn by playing. They have the pedigree , let them get the experience