Now that the dust has settled just a bit after Seton Hall’s 73-64 loss to Xavier, let’s reflect on three important questions, plus five more quotes from Kevin Willard, Khadeen Carrington, and Chris Mack.
Is it time to re-think the Sweet 16 expectations? Certainly for the seniors, there doesn’t seem to be another level these guys can take it to aside from everyone working together in a more cohesive fashion. Khadeen Carrington isn’t going to evolve much more as a point guard, Angel Delgado isn’t going to magically find an outside shot, etc. As I was told by a passionate recent Hall grad who has worked for the program yesterday: if you’re worried about favorable seeding, you don’t have a Sweet 16 team.
Piggy-backing off the above, where can this team get more from? As Kevin Willard alludes to below, perhaps a re-working of the Mike Nzei-Ish Sanogo-Angel Delgado dynamic will yield dividends. Sanogo is certainly back to his old self and with his added offensive production (that jumper looks pretty nice), you never know. Elsewhere, Myles Powell seems to be another outlet that can see more scoring, as the team is still not consistently playing through him and Powell is still learning to iron out his decision-making.
Big picture, what is needed over the next four games? Seton Hall has some work to do before they play four of five games away from home in mid-February. With @DePaul, Providence, @Villanova, and Marquette on the upcoming docket, they need to re-group and set themselves up as well as possible. 3-1 has to be the goal, although Providence is coming on strong and is a lot tougher of a game than it looked a few weeks back.
On Angel Delgado’s offensive production: “Right now, the way teams are playing us, we need to make an adjustment because they just aren’t playing Ish and Mike. They are fronting Angel and sitting behind him, so that’s something we need to make an adjustment with.”
On the team being gassed at the end: “Definitely at the end, but I mean Bluiett played 39, Macura played 35, so those guys are playing the same minutes as our guys, we have to be able to fight through it and I thought we did. We missed some free throws that took some momentum out of us, we got up one and I though Macura’s two offensive rebounds and tip-outs were really the difference that got them over the hump.”
On the bye week coming at a good time: “I’m not sure about that, the only reason I say that is because we have 5 of our next 7 on the road. We don’t have a break after this, so we’re going to go 11 straight games and then go into the [Big East] tournament– everyone else seems to get a break late in February. I think it’s a little early, I kind of would have liked to play a couple more games and then have a bye.
“I hate to lose. I’m always motivated, but a loss is a loss. The only way you can go is up, we can only try to win, so that’s all we’re going to try to do from now on.”
Game thoughts: “I told my seniors that it’s your team and when you dive on the floor like J.P. did, tip-dunk, and guys flying around making hustle plays and not giving up second shots down the stretch just shows how badly they wanted the game … Again, I think it’s our seniors and the toughness that they brought. They wouldn’t let a missed call, a tough call or a missed basket impede who they wanted to be for the day.”
Photos taken by Wendell Cruz/FinishFirstPhotos