Lessons Seton Hall Basketball Can Take from the Wichita State Loss

One thing different about this year’s Pirates is the introduction of youth. After losing four seniors to graduation and another big man to professional basketball overseas after last season, there were a lot of questions as to how head coach Kevin Willard would get his team ready for year two of the new Big East conference.

Also, after an improbable defeat to then No. 8 Villanova in last year’s Big East tournament, the Pirates needed to find an identity with this young group in order to be in a position to make some noise in the conference this season.

Nonconference schedules are supposed to be tune-ups for the real show—in this team’s case, Big East play. The Pirates have excelled in their “noncon” slate, opening the 2014-15 campaign on a 9-1 start (the team’s best since the 2009-10 season).

The first ten games have seen the expected leadership out of guys like senior Brandon Mobley (10.9 points per game) and junior Sterling Gibbs (16.6 points per game), as well as the emergence of highly-touted recruit Isaiah Whitehead. The freshman has even contributed 12.6 points per contest on his end.

Above everything, the Pirates have even gotten national attention, receiving as many as 57 votes for the Associated Press’s Top 25 Coaches Poll. There’s no question the first couple of weeks for the Pirates have seen a surplus of highs as this team gets ready to take on the likes of the conference, but perhaps no game this season has been (or will be) more important to this young team than the 77-68 loss to No. 11 Wichita State on December 9.

The loss grounded the Pirates, who were riding high on the national attention. One could say the loss is just what the Pirates needed before the conference schedule begins. Here is how the Pirates can build off of that loss.

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No. 11 Wichita State beats Seton Hall, 77-68 (Yahoo Sports)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Every time Wichita State’s Ron Baker picked the pocket of his player, or cruised to the basket for an easy layup, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard stood in front of his bench and cringed.

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No. 11 Wichita State hands Seton Hall 1st loss

Ron Baker scored 22 points as Fred VanVleet added 18 points and eight assists.

      
 

 

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Hall rallies Clemson past Arkansas in OT

Rod Hall scored 11 of his 19 points in the final minute of regulation and overtime.

      
 

 

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Hall rallies Clemson past No. 21 Arkansas in OT

Rod Hall scored 11 of his 19 points in the final minute of regulation and overtime.

      
 

 

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Hall rallies Clemson past No. 18 Arkansas 68-65 (Yahoo Sports)

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Rod Hall scored 11 of his 19 points in the final minute of regulation and overtime to rally Clemson to a 68-65 victory over No. 18 Arkansas on Sunday night.

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Rutgers, Seton Hall trophy made of Asbury Park boardwalk planks

The trophy is made of boardwalk planks from the Hurricane Sandy reconstruction.

      
 

 

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Maryland vs. Iowa State: Preview for 2014 CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship

When the Maryland Terrapins (4-0) square off against the Iowa State Cyclones (3-0) Tuesday in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship Game, early-season supremacy hangs in the balance.

There will still be plenty of time for the losing team to regain its momentum, and the loss in the finals is a testament to how good both programs are this season, but both schools would love to put a tournament victory on their resume to start the year.

Here is the full preview for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic championship between Maryland and Iowa State.

 

Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

When: Tuesday, November 25

Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPNU

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

Breaking Down the 2014 CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship

Over the last two weeks, some of the top teams in the nation took part in the 2014 edition of the CBE season-opening tournament. After several marquee matchups, it was Maryland and Iowa State that stood tall when the dust settled.

For Maryland, the road to the championship was a wild one. After three lopsided victories to advance to the semifinals, the Terrapins found themselves in a battle against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Maryland was able to pull out the 78-73 win, but ASU exposed the defensive flaws that the Cyclones can take advantage of during the game. With Iowa State averaging 86 points per game to start the year, the Terrapins will face their toughest test by far.

One of the keys to victory Tuesday will be getting the ball to versatile forward Dez Wells in open space. Wells was a big part of the team’s victory over Arizona State, and Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon spoke to STATS LLC, via ESPN.com, about getting the senior involved in crucial moments: “We were going to Dez. I told the whole team, the whole staff. We were just creating plays in timeouts, drawing them up in the dirt there, trying to get him the ball, letting him make plays. He made some big-time shots.”

Maryland will also have to get freshman guard Melo Trimble involved again, especially after he managed to score 31 points against ASU in the semifinals. While the Terrapins have serious talent on the roster, Iowa State has the depth to outlast them.

Led by junior forward Georges Niang (averaging 22.7 points per game), the Cyclones offense has been playing well in the early stages of the season, reaching the 80-point plateau twice and scoring 90 points once.

Fellow forward Dustin Hogue is another cog in the offensive end, but it was the return of bench players Matt Thomas and Abdel Nader from suspension that will really make the difference in the championship.

With far more depth than Maryland, Iowa State will wear down the Terrapins.

Both teams have proven to be worthy of the championship stage, but the Cyclones are too talented to lose now. A loss for Maryland would be disappointing, but a run to the tournament final should be enough to build momentum for the rest of the regular season.

Predicted Final Score: Iowa State 80, Maryland 76

 

*Stats via ESPN.com.

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VIDEO: Stafford’s fiancée Kelly B. Hall is a female Ray Allen

Behind the arch. Men’s ball. So close.
A video posted by Kelly Hall (@kbhall82) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:53am PST

Matthew Stafford’s fiancée Kelly B. Hall is damn good at social media updates and apparently three-point shooting as the future Mrs. Stafford posted this video to Instagram of herself sinking shot after shot from beyond the arc.
So I guess the Stafford completion rate and Josh Smith jokes can start right about… now.

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Hall of Fame Tip-Off 2014: TV Schedule, Live Stream and Updated Predictions

The 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off isn’t a March Madness-type of tournament, and it doesn’t pretend to be.

After all, there are two separate brackets, and only one of them follows the traditional winner-moves-on format of a tournament event. Play comes to an end in both the Naismith and Springfield brackets Sunday. 

Here is a look at the schedule and television information for every game. All four contests can be seen online courtesy of Watch ESPN, and both brackets are available at ESPN.com.

 

Predictions

Naismith Bracket: Massachusetts vs. Florida State and Notre Dame vs. Providence

There is no official winner in the Naismith Bracket, as every team gets a chance to play each other as part of a nonconference showcase before league play begins. It is a golden opportunity for all four clubs to pad their resumes in the early going against potential NCAA tournament opponents.

Both Massachusetts and Florida State are coming off of poor performances in losses, with the Seminoles falling to Providence, 80-54, and the Minutemen losing to Notre Dame, 81-68.

Defense has been optional for Florida State recently, and it allowed Providence and Northeastern to shoot a red-hot 53.7 percent from the field the last two contests, including 52.9 percent from downtown. The Seminoles countered with an abysmal 4-of-22 combined shooting from three-point range on the other end.

UMass has already beaten Boston College and will be particularly motivated against the Seminoles since Florida State knocked off the Minutemen last year. UMass player Derrick Gordon commented on that motivation, via Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette,“It’s definitely personal with them because they were talking smack the whole game. They came out with the win and we definitely have to return the favor.”

The Seminoles are 1-2 on the season, including a shocking loss to Northeastern, and are struggling on the defensive end. UMass will find a way to get that revenge against a vulnerable defense.

The other game features two 4-0 squads and arguably the best player at this event in Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant. Grant scored 24 points on a blistering 10-of-13 shooting from the field against the Minutemen. He also earned some praise from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein:

Grant will have some help of his own in Zach Auguste. The big man has double-digit points every game this year and at least seven rebounds in three of four contests.

Providence has its own dynamic duo in point guard Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton. Henton scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win over Florida State, while Dunn scored 15 points and dished out nine assists.

Despite the presence of Dunn and Henton, the inside-outside combination of Grant and Auguste will ultimately prove to be too much for Providence, just like it was against Massachusetts. 

Predicted winners: UMass and Notre Dame

 

Springfield Bracket: Binghamton vs. Navy and Manhattan vs. Northeastern

Northeastern is clearly the best team in the Springfield bracket. It already beat Florida State and is a perfect 3-0 on the season after crushing Navy on Saturday, 68-44. It should have no issue with a Manhattan team that lost to the same Florida State squad Northeastern beat.

The David Walker and Quincy Ford combination in the backcourt will be far too much for Manhattan to handle.

In the other game, Navy has gotten off to a nightmare start. It is 0-4 on the season and lost its last three by a combined 100 points. Interestingly, the only game Navy stayed close in was the season-opening loss to Michigan State.

Binghamton is only 1-3, but it will have more athletes on the floor than Navy. It will outlast the Midshipmen by getting out in transition and pushing the tempo all game, which will eventually wear them out by the second half.

Predicted winners: Northeastern and Binghamton

 

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