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Big East Preseason Predictions and Previews: #8 Seton Hall

Seton Hall is finally healthy, but PG still a question mark for the Pirates

Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE

Next up in our preseason rankings is Seton Hall. The Pirates were ravaged by injuries last year, losing both PFs to injury as well as back up SF Brian Oliver. The Hall has a veteran team with four seniors. Unfortunately all that experience is in the frontcourt and the Pirates have a lot of questions to be answered in the backcourt. Turnovers plagued Seton Hall last year to the tune of a 23.8% turnover rate, 333rd in the nation. This means that almost one quarter of the time the Pirates had the ball they gave it right back to the other team. Yikes.

Last Year: 15-18 (3-15) No Postseason

Kenpom: 109th Offense: 134th Defense: 106th Tempo: 229th

Key Losses: Aaron Cosby (Transfer), Kyle Smith (Graduation), Kevin Johnson(Transfer)

Key Additions: Sterling Gibbs(Transfer) 6'2 R-So PG, Jaren Sina 6'2 Fr PG, Rashad Anthony 6'8 Fr PF, Stephane Manga (Juco) 6'6 Jr SF, Hakeem Harris (Juco) 6'1 Jr Guard

Key Returnees: Fuquan Edwin 6'6 Sr SF , Eugene Teague 6'9 Sr C, Brian Oliver 6'7 Sr SF, Brandon Mobley 6'9 Jr PF, Patrick Auda 6'9 Jr PF, Tom Mayaan 6'1 So PG, Aaron Germanipoor 6'11 Sr C, Haralds Karlis 6'6 Jr SF

Projected Starting Line Up:

PG: Sterling Gibbs, SG: Jaren Sina, SF: Fuquan Edwin, PF: Brandon Mobley, C: Eugene Teague

Seton Hall returns their starting frontcourt led by Senior SF Fuquan Edwin. Edwin is a versatile talent and one of the better players in the Big East, but his play is largely forgotten due to Seton Hall's team struggles. He really excels on the defensive end where he has one of the best steal rates in the country. He's also a good 3 point shooter on the offensive end.

Edwin needs to be all of that and more because the other two deep threats on last years team are gone. Starting SG Aaron Cosby transferred out and one year rental senior transfer Kyle Smith used up his eligibility. They shot 40% and 36.3% from deep, respectively. Backup SG Brian Oliver shot a good 35% from 3 and PF Brandon Mobley hit 43% but on only 53 attempts. The only good part of Seton Hall's offense last year was their ability to hit 3 pointers and they were 23rd in 3pt shots attempted per field goal attempt. So the Pirates will need to replace two of their better shooters because their offense is so dependent on three point shots.

The Hall will look to Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina to fill those holes. Sina was the 91st rated recruit in the nation according to ESPN and fell into Seton Hall's lap after a number of twists and turns. Sina originally committed to Alabama, but retracted his verbal before signing. He then signed with Northwestern, but was released from his commitment when Bill Carmody was fired. Gibbs played at Texas for his freshman year and played behind Myck Kabongo. He averaged only 7.5 minutes, 2.6 points, 0.7 assists, and shot 37% from 3 on 35 attempts. But no matter what they're certainly an upgrade from last years starting point guard by default Tom Mayaan. The question will be how much of an improvement. This team has a quality frontcourt, but they need someone to get them the ball. The Pirates now have some more options, but they're all unproven.

Mayaan is the epitome of Seton Hall's major problem last year: Turnovers. As their starting PG, Mayaan has a turnover rate of 54.1% That's right over half of Mayaan's possessions ended in a turnover. When he managed not to turn the ball over he actually had a decent assist rate of 27%. Mayaan's other major problem outside of his inability to hang on to the ball is that he can't shoot a lick and knew it so eventually just stopped shooting. He only attempted 61 shots all year from the field hitting only 28.6% from 3 and 42.4% on 2s. Luckily with multiple back court options Mayaan will not see nearly as much playing time, but will likely still see the floor due to his solid and scrappy defense.

Eugene Teague will anchor the center position for the Pirates. He has significantly slimmed down in the offseason. He is a very good rebounder on both ends of the court and is fairly efficient around the hoop in terms of eFG%, however his overall offensive efficiency was only mediocre mostly because he does not have good hands and turned the ball over at a rate of 24%. He's backed up by Germaniopoor who's pretty much just a big body.

Mobley is the likely starter at PF backed up by Auda. Both were injured for long stretches last season, but both are healthy now. Mobley is more athletic, a better rebounder, and more versatile then Auda, but Auda has a better basketbal IQ, better assist rate, and turns the ball over less. Freshman Anthony likely won't see time with both of these guys eating up minutes. The two JuCo additions also are unlikely to contribute.

The Pirates should improve on last year's results due to everyone being back from injury and replacing Tom Mayaan in the lineup. This is a quality team that can certainly beat anyone in the conference if they have an off night and could make the NIT. If the league weren't so deep last season they might have made a run at the tourney, but the Big East is still a beast and the Hall doesn't have the horses to run with the better teams in the Conference for a whole season.