Sleeping with the Enemy: The Pirates of Seton Hall

No rest for your weary warriors as the Georgetown Fighting Hoyas are back for a Saturday matinee against the Seton Hall and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Here to paint a picture of the Pirates is Jason Guerette, your source for Seton Hall on the twitters.  Let's do this!

Seton Hall started out Big East play with a nice win on the road at Providence, a place where CLEARLY it is impossible to win. Since then the Pirates have lost to Villanova and Creighton and almost defeated Marquette. Is this Pirates team better than we think?

I think so. The win at Providence was a gritty one, as they were without big man Gene Teague, and (though I don't mention this often, but it's worth repeating) were playing 8-on-5 the whole night, with some very questionable officiating. In retrospect, getting two of your first three Big East games at home is nice, but Creighton and Villanova are the class of the league this year, and with no Teague- the focus of the offense and an improved defender- Seton Hall was out-manned.

Teague is likely to be back on Saturday, which means that the Pirates will be playing with at or close to a full deck for the first time in a while. Not sure on how much he can play in his first game back, but as Seton Hall has seen, any Teague is better than no Teague.


Who are some of the players on the Pirates that Georgetown needs to be aware of?

Teague is certainly one of them. At his size, only the Hoyas' own Josh Smith and Xavier's Matt Stainbrook can compare. Sterling Gibbs has been a godsend at the point after the truckload of issues from last year. He's cat-quick with the ball and is fearless when drawing contact, although he drives into a crowd with no road map from time to time. Fuquan Edwin is aways dangerous as usual, even if he's been dealing with some nagging injuries. Patrik Auda plays hard and brings both a physicality down low and an extremely high understanding of defensive rotations.

The guy who's been phenomenal this year is Brian Oliver, though. His range is fantastic, and he's been both knocking down threes and scoring at a high rate overall consistently for about a month now. Without his contributions in that stretch, the Pirates would have been in far worse shape than they are right now.


What's your take on the new Big East so far? Which teams do you think make the NCAAs?

I love the league because it returns the conference to its roots and focuses on basketball. Plus, as various teams have found out, it won't be easy to compete just because Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, et al. are no longer on the ledger. I think at the moment, Creighton, Villanova and Xavier should get in, and beyond that, I think one more team could sneak in as well, but I have no idea who that may be.


Talk to us about the Isiah Whitehead recruiting situation. On the one hand it's good to see the Hall getting talent. But are you good with the other baggage (hiring his high school coach, etc) that comes with it?

I've always been of the belief that at a school like Seton Hall, you have to get creative with recruiting to be successful. Whitehead is the most talented signee that SHU has had in over a decade. With his coach reportedly coming on board as well, there will need to be some shuffling in the coaching staff, but that's something that will be ironed out later.

What fans are really excited about is that it's a highly-rated class, not just one recruit. They just added a 7'2" transfer from Northwestern to round out a class that on paper has someone at every position except PG (where Gibbs and freshman Jaren Sina are expected to hold the fort down for years to come). While everyone clamors about the fact that there will only be one "true center" (the transfer) on the roster next year, I'm sure that once the class gets to South Orange, folks will focus on the talent.


Is Kevin Willard the guy who can bring Seton Hall back to competing for an NCAA bid on an annual basis?

I think he is. The results haven't been there in large (gargantuan) part because of injuries (to Jeremy Hazell in his first year, Herb Pope the offseason afterwards, and everyone under the sun last year). The one year he didn't have anything major happen was the year they made the NIT (and would have made the Dance had they not fallen flat on their faces at DePaul in the season finale).

But he's a good coach who's just had one blow after another- from guys getting hurt, to Tom Maayan having to return to Israel recently, etc. I'm shocked at how he's carried himself through all of it. A lesser coach would have gone nuts with what he's had to deal with.


Springsteen's new album ‘High Hopes' came out this week. Please list for me your Top 10 Bruce tunes in no particular order.

I like Bruce songs that are more on the musical side that have a good groove throughout, so here goes, in no particular order:

Promised Land, Born to Run, Thunder Road, Jungleland, Dancing in the Dark, No Surrender, Human Touch, Lucky Town, Radio Nowhere, Code of Silence (collaboration, but still an awesome song)



Let's say you're going out to a bar on a Saturday night in South Orange. First, where are you going. And second, what drink are you ordering first?

Unfortunately, the local haunt Cryans was shut down a couple years back. There's a sports bar, Bunny's, by the train station that's pretty good. Go in there, put the game on, have yourself a Yeungling, and you'll be just fine.


What has been the single most gratifying moment for you as a fan of Seton Hall basketball in the last few years?

You'll like this one- it was Willard's first season, and they went up to the Carrier Dome and not only beat Syracuse, they completely flattened them. Hazell had a vintage game, hitting shots from 30 feet out while emphatically saying "I'M BACK" after he had returned a couple games previous. Everyone shot the ball well that day, and my dislike for the Orange is borderline Hoya fan-level. It was a perfect night, you might say.

(Casual Note: I like this guy.)


Final score prediction?

It largely depends on how much Teague can play as well as whether or not Josh Smith will play, so I'll refrain from any predictions on score. I do think that in years past, with Freeman, Wright, Clark, Monroe, etc. playing for the Hoyas, whenever the Pirates went down to D.C., it was more of a hope that they would play well enough to win rather than a game they had a realistic shot at winning. This year, I think there's more of a shot than in the past, and they'll have to keep Starks and Smith-Rivera out of the lane.

In the end, I think the score will be close, although with what happened at Xavier the other night, I'd expect Georgetown to come out with a lot of energy.

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