Two days after hosting Fairleigh Dickinson at Walsh in their home opener, Seton Hall will shift their focus down the road to Prudential Center when they take on Central Connecticut State in a Sunday matinee.
Rebuilding after the retirement of 20-year coach Howie Dickenman, the Blue Devils begin the Donyell Marshall era this season beginning with a home test against Hartford on Friday night before traveling down to Jersey.
Unfortunately for the former NBA star, he will be inheriting a bare cupboard as CCSU (4-25, 3-15) were ranked dead last in KenPom a season ago including a sub-300 rating in over ten major statistical categories.
A one-off game that was added late on by Seton Hall likely due to complications in renewing their long-standing series with Saint Peter’s, CCSU will rival Delaware as the easiest game on paper that the Pirates will play this season; they’re picked last in the preseason NEC Coaches Poll and KenPom has ’em at No. 349.
Departures: F Brandon Peel (11.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg), G JJ Cratit (6.9 ppg), G/F Jahlil Nails (6.7 ppg), PF Evan Phoenix (4.2, 3.6 rpg)
Key returnees: G Austin Nehls (11.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg), G Khalen Cumberlander (10.8, 3,7, 2.8 apg), F Mustafa Jones (7.5, 3.8 rpg), PG Kevin Seymour (4.3 ppg, 2.2 apg)
Additions: Tafari Whittingham (South Alabama grad. transfer) (4.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
CCSU will welcome five incoming freshmen, a pack that includes Donyell Marshall Jr., Jersey City-native Kashaun Hicks and wing Chris Williams, who was a teammate of Myles Carter at St. Rita.
Although the Blue Devils return a solid amount from last season, it’s hard to imagine them getting out of the Northeast Conference basement just yet. This game projects as a tune-up for Seton Hall prior to heading to Iowa City for their introduction to the Gavitt Games.