Seton Hall Pirates vs. Northwestern Wildcats Charleston Classic Championship Preview

Stop switching sports, guys! It makes me confused and when I get confused I get sad :(

Anyway, we'll deal with Northwestern's victory over Minnesota and bowling/lack thereof/Michigan State some other day - most likely tomorrow! - but for now we are faced with the Seton Hall Pirates, which is another one of those colleges in New Jersey. To get a quick glimpse of their team, go to the delightfully named South Orange Juice, or read this post, or do both, or fight a pirate to the death and see if you beat him, but like an old-timey one, not one of the scary Somalian ones what with the M4's. 

Are they good?: More or less. The Pirates appear to have all the trappings of a lower-tier Big East squad, as usual, evident in their easy dispatching of VCU and St. Joseph's. However, they needed a last-second shot to send a game against St. Francis (NY) - who you remember from a) gleefully trouncing them last year and b) NEVER MADE THE TOURNEY CLUB OG STATUS - into overtime. (They won.) Last year, Seton Hall was pretty mediocre, clocking in as the 12th team in a conference that sent 11 to the tournament finishing at 13-18 but managing to confuse the hell out of everybody by going into the Carrier Dome and blowing out Syracuse, 90-68. That said, they lose their two leading scorers in Jeremy Hazell and Jeff Robinson.

Who they got?: Let's focus on this team's two senior stars, both of whom have kind of exploded: Herb Pope is a very talented player at the power forward spot. The 6-foot-8 former New Mexico State player averaged a double-double as a sophomore and is back at it again, putting up a really shocking 19.3 and 12.3 per game. He's a nasty rebounder, but appears to suffer from an acute strain of Mbakwe, as he went to the line a team-high 115 times last year but only converted on 54.8 percent of his freebies, keeping his scoring average in the single digits. (He appears to have worked out some kinks thus far, hitting at a 70.8 percent clip.) The team's leading scorer though is currently Jordan Theodore, the 6-foot-nothing guard who hit the aforementioned buzzer-beater against St. Francis. Theodore has not only put the team's scoring load on his back, averaging 21 points a game, but is also pretty skilled at distributing. Against St. Joseph's, the point guard nearly threw up a triple-double, putting up 18 - his first dip under 20 points in three outings - 10 assists, and seven rebounds.

What are they good at?: Defense. Last year, opposing offenses put up a paltry 89.3 points per 100 possessions against the Hallsmen, as I've decided to call them, the 13th-best figure in the country. They locked down the perimeter, holding opponents to 31.4 percent shooting from deep. This appears to have tailed off a bit, perhaps with the loss of Hazell - now opponents are shooting 36.9 percent on the young season - but they're still a well-above average defensive squad, rarely if ever sending opponents to the line.

What are they bad at?: Shooting ain't their strong suit. 1-for-13 from deep against St. Francis - if you were wondering why they nearly lost - then 4-for-17 against VCU. The only thing the Hall Monitors got goin for them offensively is they rarely turn the ball over, everything else is yikes-y. 

Us and them: NU holds a 4-2 all-time series lead over them dread Pirates, with the last appearance a mind-altering 44-42 game in 2005 in the presumably empty-as-all-hell Izod Center climaxing with a thrilling Mohammad Hachad game-winning layup. If you remember this game, give yourself a pat on the back on your way out of rehab today.

What's the worst state in the union? All things told, probably Arizona, but I see what you're getting at here, Bold-Faced Questions-Asker Guy. My disdain for the state of New Jersey cannot be contained by words and I think the world would be better served by a gigantic fun bridge connecting New York and Philadelphia. Stop taking the PATH train into my city and acting like you belong and then turning around like you pretend you enjoy being from 75 minutes away from my city, you miserable wretches.

Is there a Seton Hall?: Not that I can tell. It's named after the first American-born saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - in case you're wondering, she cured one person of cancer, one of leukemia, one of encephalitis, thus, saint - I think there's no such hall on campus, though. My initial research, which is composed of me lying, indicates that Seton Hall is a combo name meant to honor St. Seton and blue-eyed soul singer Daryl Hall.

Difference between the amount of times Seton Hall has been to the NCAA Tournament and the amount of times we have: Nine, most recently in 2006. The Hall is responsible for Bill Raftery being noteworthy besides the announcing gig and, well, nobody really great has ever played there, apologies to Samuel Dalembert and the unrelated Griffin pairing of Eddie - RIP, Eddie - and Adrian.

How can NU win?: NU won't win by shooting threes, Seton Hall is too good at defending the perimeter for that to work. Drew Crawford off the dribble has looked spectacular the past two games, and John Shurna can do it too. St. Joseph's Carl Jones just put up 38 points on Seton Hall by draining from deep - four of six - getting to the line - 11 shots - and connecting from the field - eight of 11 from inside the arc. Both Shurna and Crawford have shown this tournament they can take over a game, if NU's going to win, it's going to take a very good individual game from one or both. On defense, this team has broad-side-of-a-barn-jokes to be made about them, and the 1-3-1 should familiarize them with the sound of balls hitting iron very quickly.

Should NU win?: Yeah. Winning this tournament would be pretty dope, and although Seton Hall is a nice squad defensively, we've got talent. 

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