Three Questions, Five Quotes: Seton Hall still a Sweet 16 team?

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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.

Three Questions

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.

Five Quotes:

Kevin Willard

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. 

Khadeen Carrington

“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.”

Chris Mack

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

  • SHU’11

    Overall i think the fact that Willard does not like to make adjustments during the game makes things harder for the team down the stretch. We are not always going to get those big shots by our seniors every time. These guys play great every game and have proven themselves as reliable but teams like Xavier and esp teams in the tourny can and will disrupt that.

    I think the in-bound plays under the basket need a lot of work and should really be designed for powell behind the arch or dezi under the basket. Otherwise they just slow the offense down.

    That being said, powell needs to be shooting like 15-20 3s a game. It amazes me how he disappears for long stretches. Not a great point after being defended by Macura but this has been going on all season. Again I think Willard needs to adjust the offense to incorporate him. Running around the key from one end to the other all game takes too much time.

    Carrington had an off-game yesterday. I dont think he took bad shots either, but this would be a different story if they fell.

    • cali jack

      Jay Wright,Tony Bennett,Coach K,Bob Huggins,Tom Izzo,Bill Self,Kevin Willard.Which name doesn’t fit?

      Our perimeter weave offense only generates 1 on 1 basketball.Only players we have who can create their own offense are MP,KC and DR.Angel and Sanogo are then left to set picks only and if they roll to the basket none of the other 3 get them the ball.What a waste of the best center in the league.We get no easy baskets ,no good entry passes to the post,no cutters to the basket.

      I thought Angel was the team MVP last year but now after watching 20 games this year I think the Co MVP was Madison Jones.We all ragged on him early in the year but by the tournament he was a solid BE PG.Everyone got amped up about the return of the Big 3 and Sanogo/Powell but all their skills are diminished by the lack of a PG.We have 8 weeks before the NCAA and how do we know Walker can’t be this years Madison Jones?What do we have to lose we’re not going anywhere in the tournament with the current lineup/offense and KC at the point.Lets try small ball Angel at C,Desi at PF,KC at SF,MP at SG,JW at PG.Start our 4 best offensive players and the only PG on the roster.Off the bench Nzei for AD,Sanogo for DR who can also get minutes at SF,Cale for KC for also can get minutes at SG,Gordon for MP and JW.These subs can eat up 50 minutes per game to rest the starters.

      This is Willards opportunity to show his Nick Saban.Have some balls and show some creativity.I’m tired of hearing “we’re going to be fine”.

  • Coach Mike

    Chris you were on point when you said that the more you taunt Macura, the more intense he becomes…love the way he plays…does all the little things. Trying not to be a ‘homer’ but three bad calls by the officials down the stretch certainly did not help (watched the replays over and over) – flop against Delgado, Desi pushed to ground under the basket and Powell foul going for a loose ball.Good game, good team, not our day yesterday…let’s get hot at the right time…now we are not.

    • Hi Coach. Saw some others mentioning the officiating on Twitter after the game… Two things I pointed out 1) Physical game, which I liked, but does result in some missed calls generally 2) As soon as Ish re-entered the game, he stuck to Bluiett like glue. On first play, Bluiett drove past him off-ball, and Ish wrapped him up with 2 arms. Easy 5th foul, but missed.

      I didn’t have any issue with the officials in this one, and actually enjoyed them letting stuff go.

      • Ardy

        The Hall has to play until the whistle blows and not look for the ref to make a call. Because everything keeps moving while they’re standing and complaining to the ref who will not take back the call. We have to play with urgency not expectancy. LET’S GO HALL

  • Jason

    Willard has a tough job. He has us on the precipice of being a perennial top 25 team but it’s a tough road to negotiate.

    As much as there are changes that could be made to the lineup, there are some that he can’t because he would lose the roster or possibly demoralize players who are vital contributors.

    We’ve already had one player threaten to transfer, one suspended and one benched a couple of times. The locker room seems to be in a fragile state and though it’s his responsibility, seeing the erratic nature of some of our players, I don’t think that is all on the coach.

    The ’14 class helped change the stars of the program but the future with Powell, Thompson and Cale is really going to show us what kind of program we will be. Will we start getting a 4/5 star recruit each year adding them to the mix and building off if that or will we flatten out and have to rely on developing 3 stars and the occasionally 4 star.

    I think it will be the former. We have seen it the last couple of years and I believe there are already a couple of good players on the way next year. Players more in line with Willard’s personality and coaching style.

    I love this senior class but the same thing that draws you to them hurts you as well. They are tough, scrappy overachievers. But their emotions and inconsistencies are going to pop up every now and then. Hopefully, they’ll be able go on a run in the tournament, go out with a bang, elevate the program and their legacy. But even if they don’t, the future looks pretty good and they are the foundation.

    We are missing on 5 stars and settling for 4 stars now. Any fan would’ve dreamed for this 5-6 years ago. Willard cleaned up the mess he inherited, then went on to turn 3 star players into great league players and a four star into the best big man in the country.

    I’m excited to see what he does with these 4 stars and actual talent at point guard over the next 4-6 years. By then we may be begging him to stay.

    • LBP

      Nice summary Jason-
      One comment-and I am not here to lecture- I want to enjoy this Senior Class in its final 2 months. This Group has provided a lot of FUN-are great Kids- and have stayed together. I know they try hard and sometimes that is notenough. If KC were not in a slump, the Team may have won another 2 Games -but he is in a slump. He is too good not to pull out of it. Was he a Good “point guard” v Texas Tech; Creighton; Louisville ? To the extent he hit key shots and made free throws -Yes. Was he a terrible “point guard” v Xavier, Rutgers, RI ? To the extent he missed open shots , free throws and had T/Os —Yes.
      All said this is the Senior’s Team and I believe they are entitled to play . I hope and cheer for more Fun.

      • Coach Mike

        Very well said LBP.

  • Joseph Attanasi

    The picture at the top of this article clearly shows Macura hooking Desi. Why is it that that foul is hardly ever called? Clear advantage goes to the offensive player. Should be called every time.

    • Jason

      What about Bluiett nearly ripping Ish’s arm out of its socket and getting to go to the line for it? I never blame the refs for a loss but a couple of calls really bothered me.

      • shufaninva

        Agree on the Ish play. I think if they had reviewed it, it could have been a flagrant 1.

    • Joe J

      True. Funny thing is Angel got called for that same foul yesterday late in the game in a big spot down 1 or 3 and it wasn’t as obvious. Home or away the Pirates never get a favorable whistle. Seems like it started in 1989 in Seattle vs Michigan and still continues today.

  • Mike Walsh

    POLITI – always has negative things to say about us on Their coverage is terrible and I hope some of you fans read his article and blast him as I did. The PIRATES deserve better coverage in the Garden State.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think we can still turn it out around. I want to see Myles P shoot more. And less for Khadeem. Hopefully Ish can keep on scoring. Adds another dimension. I hope this week off will help us come back well rested.

  • LBP

    KC has to get out of his slump and Hall will be fine. The “End- Game” is not going to change. Desi and KC will be the go to Guys. If they play and shoot decently, the Hall will win. If not, the Hall has RI;Rutgers;Xavier and Arkansas games. I believe KC will get better cause he is a Good player.

    • Matty P

      Completely agree if Carrington is able to get out of this slump the team will be okay. He had a number of open shots against Xavier that wouldn’t go down. If he makes a couple of those it’s a very different game.

      • LBP

        Marty P- especially at the time K.C . missed in the 2nd half( altho all misses are bad and he was 0/7 from 3 ) — had he hit just 2 of the 7 when Hall was up 10, all of a sudden the End Game changes with X chasing a 16 point lead.

  • PadrePirate

    No, at this point, this is not a Sweet 16 team. S16 talent, yes, S16 team, no. That is exactly what is frustrating the fans at this point in the season. Prov is having a better season with half the talent. Adjustments to be made over the next 10 days:
    1) MP needs 15-20 shots a game, KC half that, unless he happens to be hot.
    2) Bench guys need more minutes, to save the starters from being gassed under 10.
    3) KW needs to go back to the offensive sets that were successful Nov-Dec, i.e. perimeter weave, pick and roll, ball-movement, and a lot of in-and-out touches to Angel in the 1H; too many isolation plays for KC and DR lately, and too much buddy ball between the two.

    • Ardy

      PP, good observations. If the 1st team can build the lead each half that will give the bench a cushion when they come in instead of playing from behind. SH wins when they move the ball with purpose. The pass is quicker than the dribble any day. Dramon Green from the CHAMPIONSHIP warriors said after his triple double. I become what my team needs EACH QUARTER. If they need rebounding I rebound. Scoring I score, assist I pass, defense I shut people down. That is the attitude we need from EACH player to win. We have to learn to analyze, adjust and win. If I agree feed the hot man whoever it may be. There is something gratifying about team ball and winning!!!

  • 2003Pirate

    I am going to go with no. They threw the game away at Creighton to blow the lead in the last ten minutes of the game vs xavier. Its the January slump that is common with Willard led teams. they will pull off enough wins for an at large bid, but at a 9/10 seed, and will have a 1st weekend exit. Look at all the BE games thus far, we could just as easily be 0-7 as we are 4-3…

  • z06

    Disappointed with sat lost, so the way I see the rest of the season for the Hall is
    Must sweep DePaul,same with Providence,Win at Georgetown and St.John
    Beat Butler at home and Marquette don’t think they could beat Villanova
    Maybe get lucky at Xavier maybe they go 7 and 4 or 8 and 3 .What do
    You think

    • Joe J

      I’d guess 7-4 and finish 11-7. The losses most likely are 2 vs. nova, at Xavier and at Providenxe. Every other game is very winnable

      • z06

        I would go for that, gave them benifit against providence, I thought for sure with players comming back they would be little better not to concern with National Ranking

    • VinBick

      Wish I could be as optomistic as the rest of you. There is nothing to indicate this team is going to improve, and a lot of evidence that Carrington has failed at point and cannot hit the broad side of a barn from deep. His out of control racing down the court that find him caught in mid-air without any good options compound his poor play at times in most games. Soft, lazy passes are intercepted, too.

      When does the coach tell him to stop shooting and pass the ball to Powell who is a much better threat from outside? This team looked so good when they were playing unselfishly with numerous extra passes to open teamates. One-on-one, selfish ball rarely works for any team.

      Max of three or four more wins in the next ten games.

      • Ardy

        Vin, Enough is Enough and it is time to right the ship before it sinks. D Gordan was a senior and he came off the bench. When these seniors came to the Hall there were upperclassmen already on the roster and this group was given an opportunity! I don’t see what the travesty is in respecting the talents of the other players. I hope KW does not loose the respect of this next group by not standing up for what he knows is right. His BB knowledge has to be showing him what needs to be done, Why is he not doing it.He is getting over 1 million dollars yearly to right the ship. A scared man will never win. Never seen a cat chase a dog before!

      • Joseph Attanasi

        So are you saying that best case scenario, assuming they win a max of 4 games the rest of the way, is that we end up 8-10 in conference? I’ll bet you a dinner on that prediction. Nine wins or better, you buy. What do you say Vin?

        • VinBick

          No thanks on the betting part of your post, but the Pirates seem to be in a downward trend that will actually cost any success the rest of the way. The guys are one step behind their counterparts in all phases of the games. Watch the 50-50 ball situations in particular.

          Someone posted that Carrington is in a slump. Check out his shooting percentages. He simply is dreadful. A team that was passing sharply and rebounding with authority against weaker competition has been out-played by the Big East teams, game after game. We keep losing to guys who hussle for 40 minutes.

          No one here hopes I am wrong more than this old alum, but does anyone here see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

    • PadrePirate

      The way we’re playing right now, Prov and MU will kick our butts at home or on the road. Prov is having a nice season and looks to have replaced the Hall as the #3 team in the league. I’d put Marquette at #4 and us somewhere in the middle of the pack for now alongside Butler. St John’s is the heartbreaker of the year. Such a fun team to watch, with great athletes. Just seem to fall short each game.

      • z06

        I think you are right,if we play Texas tech now they would kill us . Any other team that returns 4 players from the previous season would do much better than us don’t understand

      • Joe J

        PP, where do you have Creighton in the league? After nova and xavier I think it will be a battle between the Hall and Creighton for 3rd and providence and Marquette fighting for 5th with butler right behind them. The Hall will bounce back. This week off and starting back up with DePaul is the perfect scenario. Practice and regaining their confidence will be the fix for this team.

  • Mike Walsh

    The Pirates were 13-7 at this point last year and 3-5 in the Big East. Much better schedule this year. Just adding perspective.

    • VinBick

      Good point, Mr. W. My fear is that our team has lost its focus; the coaching staff has not appeared capable of pulling the individuals into a “team” concept that has the chemistry to be successful. Leadership and confidence are lacking and it is late in the game to see positive changes.

      Is it possible for this team to make a run to be successful? Of course, but not realistic. As fans, we must pack the Rock to do our part. Go Pirates!

  • Ardy

    The Hall is a good team and we all want them to win. The team is just waiting to long to pass to the open man. When they get back on track they will have a good run. No need to become cannibals.They say they are brothers, then it will have to be more than words.The seniors should play like seniors not just because they are seniors. The leaders must lead with accountability, toughness and integrity. It is an easy fix if they get on the same page.
    The next 4 games will tell what decision they made!

  • Matty P

    Read this article from rush the court which talks about Seton Hall and Carrington. It’s got an interesting bar chart which shows that in 4 of the 5 losses the offense scored less than a point per possession It then goes a little more into Carrington and his transition to PG and how it’s forced him to move away from his strength of attacking the rim.

    • Ardy

      Interesting article. There have been SG who have switched tp PG and excelled. James Harden was a SG and switched to PG and was a walking triple double. Michael Jordan also switched to PG in 89 and was a walking triple double. It is skill level and the decision making. Powell and KC need to be hybrid PG. After the ball gets pass the 1/2 court traps SH can run the offence. This could be a blessing in disguise. When either has the ball it can signal the offence about the whole in the other teams defense or the play SH wants to run. THERE IS A WAY TO WIN!!! Powell is 2nd in assist on the team. He is smart with the ball also. It is going to take selflessness and not selfishness. Then you will have 2 people getting the ball to AD. I respect the work the seniors have done but as long as it is said that SH is their team and not hold them accountable as LEADERS of the TEAM they MAY feel they can do whatever the want when they want. On long trips everybody pitches in to drive to get to the destination safely. De Paul really played TOGETHER last night.

  • Drew Guritzky

    I personally think that Willard needs to start Walker. Let Walker play 20-25 minutes. That or you have to have Powell play the PG. I understand the need to have Powell/Rodriguez/Carrington/Delgado out there fore 30+, but the problem is we need a PG at the point, and that means maybe having one play power forward instead of Nzei or Sanogo. I just think that the lack of a true PG has hurt us. I think we look the best when Walker or Powell is the PG or the main ball handler. Anything else has been severely lackluster to me.

  • Jersey Jerry

    Well it’s begun ~ where or where will ‘da HALL be Dancing?!?!?

    First list out has us as a #6 in BIG D playing Middle Tennessee. Wonder just how many different places ‘n teams the Bracketologist will have us playing in over the next 7 weeks!

    If we don’t get our stuff together soon, we just might NOT be playing anywhere come Dance time!

    • 11yearplan

      Let’s not worry about the NCAA (or the BET or our rankings). Focus on the task at hand. I saw a great tweet from Desi confirming his love for Coach and his positive outlook for the upcoming games. They have had a week off to catch their breath and re-focus. It all starts with DePaul. Not the cupcake they once were so this won’t be a rout, but I am looking for positive things on Sunday and the road ahead.

      • VinBick

        Eleven, focusing on the critical game on Sunday in the Windy City is essential for the Pirates. Taking a course of action that concentrates on one game at a time is a path that may yield success down the stretch of this season.

        Talk about a MUST win!

        • Ardy

          Vin, Someone asked me what SH player just left the team. When I googled SH player leaves team I found out it was Fountain WBB. It also had quite a few articles about reasons players left MBB at the Hall. We can win again as long as the seniors take this opportunity to exemplify their responsibility and not autonomy.

      • Bob Murphy

        This is the right approach. Do what you do – and do it well. Forget about the things we don’t do well. I do believe that this is a Sweet 16 team. I’d rather have a down stretch now than than 6 weeks from now.

        • PadrePirate

          It seems like we hit a bump in the road each year about this time. No biggy if they can bounce back, learn from mistakes, make some adjustments and move foward. This is not a dominant team but can be a very good team, if all cylinders are firing and coach Willard does his part. One game at a time. First up, DePaul, who played Xavier much better than we did.

  • PadrePirate

    DePaul was very effective defending and doubling down on Govan and Derrickson in the post. Almost all of Derrickson’s points were from the perimeter. Expect the same strategy agains Angel. He will need to pass out quickly to the open man. Cain and Struss are their main offensive weapons. Should be a fun game on Sunday.

  • I see different problem other than those mentioned below. This team loses focus. How many times have they come out of the locker room and get run off the court the first 3 min. First half or second. Or go up by 10 and go into a funk. They have to play hard 40 min and get more minutes of good play out of their bench.