Bubble Watch (February 14th – February 17th)

A rooting guide for bubble fans everywhere. Bubble teams are in bold so those are the teams you should be rooting against. Feel free to contact me @CerasolisGhost or leave a comment if you feel anything should be added or modified.

Tuesday February 14th:

Seton Hall vs. St. John’s (7PM SNY/ESPN3.com) – The Pirates look to keep their NCAA hopes afloat.

#12 Florida @ Alabama (7PM ESPN/ESPN3.com) – A chance for the Tide to tack a big time SEC win on their resume.

Texas @ Oklahoma (8PM ESPN3.com) – Texas is trying to stay in the bubble picture. Must win.

Minnesota vs. #6 Ohio State (9PM ESPN/ESPN3.com) – A huge chance for Minnesota.

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Wednesday February 15th:

Northwestern @ #20 Indiana (630PM BTN) – Northwestern is lacking a marquee road win (@Illinois is solid).

#7 North Carolina @ Miami (FL) (8PM ESPN/ESPN3.com) – For a team squarely on the bubble, this would be huge for the Canes.

Richmond @ St. Louis (8PM)

Purdue @ Illinois (830 BTN) – Both teams are around 9 seeds right now. Loser will have to sweat it out a bit more than the winner.

Providence @ Cincinnati (9PM ESPNU) – Must win for the Bearcats if they have dreams of Dancing.

Colorado State @ Boise State (10PM MTN) – Colorado State can’t afford a ‘bad loss.’

New Mexico @ #15 San Diego State (10:15 PM ) – A road win against the Aztecs would really help New Mexico’s resume.

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Thursday February 16th:

North Carolina State @ #4 Duke (9PM ESPN3.com) – NC State is right on the bubble. They wouldn’t be with a win at Cameron Indoor.

West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (9PM ESPN/ESPN3.com) – After Pittsburgh’s loss to Seton Hall over the weekend, they look to be done. West Virginia isn’t but need this win.

Oregon @ California (10:30PM) – A Cal loss would make the Pac-12 being a 1-bid league that much more likely.

Seton Hall notes: Northwestern at Indiana on Wednesday is a double edged sword since the Pirates want their loss against Northwestern at the Charleston Classic to look as good as possible.

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Games to Watch: December 20th-26th – Christmas Week

This week is off to an interesting start, Jacksonville just beat #19 Florida in OT. There aren’t any games to watch tonight, but there are a few good match ups during this slow week.

Tuesday, December 21st:
UNLV @ #11 Kansas State – 9PM ESPN2 – After a 9-0 start, UNLV has lost 2 of their last 3 games. One against Louisville, and one against UC Santa Barbara. Kansas State is an opportunity for UNLV’s third OOC scalp.
USC @ #18 Tennessee – 7PM ESPN3 – How will the Vols respond to dropping two games in a row against mid-majors Oakland and Charlotte?

Wednesday, December 22nd:
Dayton @ Seton Hall – 7PM ESPN3 – Will Seton Hall survive without Hazell and possibly Herb Pope? Their post season destiny might depend on it.
Drexel @ #5 Syracuse – 7PM ESPN3 – Drexel upset Louisville a week ago. Is another Big East upset in store?
#3 Kansas @ California – 11PM – The Jayhawks travel to play the unimpressive (6-4) CAL Bears. Kansas had trouble with Pac-10 opponent USC, what about CAL?
#10 Missouri vs. #21 Illinois – 9PM ESPN2 – The Missouri-Illinois collegiate rivalry lives on. Illinois is fresh off their loss to U-Illinois Chicago, how will they rebound from a horrible loss?
#22 Texas @ #12 Michigan State – 7PM ESPN2 – Texas just beat UNC in a CBS thriller, another huge matchup for both teams.
Xavier @ Gonzaga – 11PM ESPN2 – Gonzaga finally got that huge OOC win against Baylor, will they follow up with a victory over a solid mid-major in Xavier?

Thursday, December 23rd:
#9 Georgetown @ #17 Memphis – 8PM ESPN2 – Big time match up. The Hoyas have certainly challenged themselves away from home (Temple, Old Dominion, Missouri).
UTEP @ #23 BYU – 9PM – Solid mid-major match up. BYU was just handed their first loss of the season against UCLA, UTEP needs this win to have any chance at an at-large.
Belmont @ #19 Tennessee – 730PM ESPN3 – Oddly enough, these two teams have already played this season. Belmont lost by 9; their only other loss (8-2) is to Vanderbilt.
Oakland @ #2 Ohio State – 8PM – Oakland continues to challenge themselves. Should be a great individual matchup between Benson and Sullinger.

Friday & Saturday, December 24th-25th:
Christmas Break

Sunday, December 26th:
Richmond @ Seton Hall – Noon ESPN3 – One of only two games on the day after Christmas. The Spiders travel to take on Hazell-less Seton Hall.

Games to Watch: December 6th – December 12th

Very nice list of games this week. Saturday is a huge day in the absence of college football. If anyone has any additional games or comments, feel free to let me know!

Monday:
No Games of Note.

Tuesday, December 7th:
#15 Memphis vs #4 Kansas – 7PM ESPN – Opening game of the Jimmy V Classic. Memphis is undefeated in the early goings, but they haven’t played anyone outside of Miami (FL). Kansas is fresh off a controversial finish against UCLA.
#6 Michigan State vs #7 Syracuse – 9PM ESPN – Second game of the Jimmy V Classic. Syracuse just played another close game against the NCState Wolfpack. In the words of Jim Beiheim, “we could easily be 5-3, thats reality.” The Spartans have been tested early, they are 1-2 in their three big games.

Wednesday, December 8th:
Vanderbilt @ #8 Missouri – 9PM ESPNU – Vanderbilt has a somewhat surprising start, their only loss being to WVU. They’ve beaten UNC, Nebraska and a decent Belmont team. Missouri has played one of the best games of the young season, an OT thrilling loss to Georgetown.
Notre Dame vs #11 Kentucky – 930PM ESPN – Big time match-up in the Big East / SEC Challenge. Notre Dame is undefeated, with three solid wins. They travel to Louisville to take on a Kentucky team that is looking to rebound from their loss to North Carolina.
#19 San Diego State @ California – 1030PM – The CAL Bears will have their hands full with the West Coast powerhouse Aztecs. SDState is one of the best teams in the West right now.
Providence @ Boston College – 7PM – Two schools very close in proximity. Both schools are also off to good starts.
Seton Hall vs Arkansas – 7PM ESPN2 – Another SEC / BE Challenge game. The Hazell-less Pirates take on the untested Arkansas Razorbacks.

Thursday, December 9th:
#14 Georgetown @ Temple – 9PM ESPN2 – When these two teams met last season, there must have been a lid on the baskets, as the game was in the 40s. Temple has struggled a bit early, but just knocked off Maryland in their own building. Georgetown is also playing great basketball, this one should be a half court clinic.
Butler @ Xavier – 9PM ESPN – Two big name mid-majors. Both schools are also a bit down this year. Tu Holloway IS Xavier, while Butler has a solid overall team that really tested Duke at the Meadowlands.

Friday, December 10th:
No Games of Note.

Saturday, December 11th:
#17 Tennessee @ #3 Pittsburgh – 3:15PM ESPN – Biggest matchup in the BE / SEC challenge. Pittsburgh doesn’t really blow anyone away, but boy are they consistent.
Indiana @ #11 Kentucky – 5:15PM ESPN – Two storied programs. Indiana is somewhat untested, this game should really be a gauge as to how improved they are. Kentucky will be fresh off a loss/win against Notre Dame.
#22 Washington @ Texas A & M – 4:30PM ESPN2 –
Gonzaga @ Notre Dame – Gonzaga is 4-3, but 4 of those games are against very good opponents, they are 1-3 in those games. Is this team truly overrated?
#23 UNLV @ Louisville – 12PM ESPNU – Should be a shootout in Louisville. A rematch of the UNLV upset from last season.
Arizona @ #25 BYU – 6PM – A huge matchup out West. Both teams are off to good starts (15-1 combined).
Wisconsin @ Marquette – 2:30PM ESPN2 – Battle of the upper Midwest between the Big 10 and Big East. Wisconsin is 2-2 against quality opponents, whereas Marquette is 0-2.
VCU @ Richmond – 7PM – Battle of Virginia? VCU was off to a hot start before their loss to USF. Richmond has a solid resume besides their loss at Iona.
Dayton @ Old Dominion – 7PM – Both teams seem to be struggling. ODU just lost to Delaware, and Dayton was throttled by Cincinnati and then lost to ETSU.
Missouri State @ Oklahoma State – 8PM – Don’t overlook this one. Oklahoma State hasn’t exactly impressed, and Missouri State played Tennessee very well.

Sunday, December 12th:
Penn State @ Virginia Tech – 1PM – Both teams are desperate for a solid OOC victory, only one will prevail…
#12 Villanova @ La Salle – 2PM ESPNU – Battle of Philly. La Salle played 3 good Big 12 teams very well. Villanova didn’t exactly dominate St. Joes and is reeling from the expulsion of Pinkston and some injuries. Watch out Wildcats!

Games to Watch: Week 2 (15th-21st)

With a mostly predictable Week 1 of games complete, Week 2 is setting up to be a lot of fun. I’ll break the week into two parts, the week and the weekend, since there are so many great games.

Monday 15th:
Miami @ #19 Memphis – Midnight ESPN – First game of ESPN’s 24 Hours of Hoop.
Fairfield @ Rutgers – 7:30 – Rutgers lost to Ivy League powerhouse Princeton in overtime. Fairfield looks to have an even better team than Princeton. Could Mike Rice be off to an 0-2 start?

Tuesday 16th:
#23 Virginia Tech @ #3 Kansas State – 4PM ESPN – The first of two block buster OOC match ups.
#5 Ohio State @ #11 Florida – 6PM ESPN – A rematch of the 2006-07 National Championship game. Ohio State is going to rely on some young players (Sullinger) as well as some wily ole’ vets (Diebler, Lauderdale, Lighty, Buford). Should be a great game.
#18 Butler @ Louisville – 8PM ESPN – An intriguing mid-major, Big 6 match up. Louisville lost a lot of talent. Don’t be surprised if Butler wins by double digits.
South Carolina @ #2 Michigan State – 10PM ESPN – Tom Izzo’s squad should be heavily favored in this power conference match up.
#25 San Diego State @ #12 Gonzaga – 11PM ESPN2 – A terrific gauge of talent for two of the best mid major teams in the country.

Wednesday 17th:
Murray State @ Ole Miss – 8PM ESPN3 – The 30 win squad from last year (Murray State) has virtually everyone back. Watch out Rebels.

Thursday 18th:
Maryland @ #4 Pittsburgh – 7PM ESPN2 – Another blockbuster match up, despite Maryland’s lack of a ranking. This will be a true gauge of Maryland’s talent level; was Charleston just a farce?
#16 Illinois @ #25 Texas – 9PM ESPN2 – Texas started off hot last season, and finished abysmally. Will they continue that trend again this year? A big early test for both teams that expect to dance.

Friday 19th:
Alabama vs. Seton Hall – Paradise Jam – 830PM – A big time power conference match up in the Virgin Islands.

Saturday 20th:
#24 Wisconsin @ UNLV – 7PM – UNLV is a tough place to play. Bo Ryan will have the Badgers ready, but beware.
Dayton @ Ole Miss – 7PM

Sunday 21st:
Miami @ Rutgers – 2PM – Rutgers gets another early test.
#19 Memphis @ LSU – 5PM – Memphis plays another Big 6 team in LSU.

Seton Hall v. William Patterson Recap, 97-55

A few things stuck out to me as the Pirates jogged out of the Walsh Gym locker room to the applause of 2,600+ fans around 7PM tonight:

Keon Lawrence, Anali Okoloji and Aaron Geramipoor were not in uniform. Okoloji was likely resting his stress fracture and Geramipoor is dealing with a case of mono, but Lawrence was a mystery to me until I tuned into Hall Line. Apparently, Kevin Willard decided not to allow Keon to play tonight: a “coaches decision”. This does not bode well, and is eerily similar to the start of last season.

The uniforms. It had been reported that the Pirates were wearing new threads, but I didn’t think they were this nice. I was thoroughly impressed.

The atmosphere. The place was packed. There were dozens of people standing along the back row of seats and there were very few empty seats. The gym was also very nice looking. I admittedly had never attended a game at Walsh, but from what I’ve heard, the gym looked great.

Game Summary: To those who weren’t there, the Pioneers and Pirates matched baskets for the first 9 minutes until Seton Hall pulled away quickly to lead by 20+ at half. Oddly enough, it seems like the Pirates started playing better as soon as Jordan Theodore entered the game. The Pirates continued to play a fast pace game in the second half, not taking their proverbial boot off WPU’s throat. The Pioneers were never able to really go on any runs, so the game was never in question. Seton Hall stretched the lead to the high 30s when I left (3:40 to play), around the time when Darnell Gatling entered the game.

3 Highlights:

– The first one is a package deal. Jordan Theodore had two identical behind the back passes to Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson for slam dunks. The crowd went wild both times… it looked like something from a street ball tape. The second time, one of the WPU defenders tripped, I’m not sure if it was due to Theodore or not.

– I can’t remember the exact play, but Fuquan Edwin or Herb Pope caught the ball under the basket, faked a shot, and dished to the other for a lay in. I believe Pope dished it to Edwin. This was a microcosm of Edwin’s fine play in and around the paint.

– Flag Man. The new Flag Man barely made it out of the gates, as his arms were wobbling immediately. Somehow, he was able to complete three laps, nearly hitting the WPU and SHU huddles. I wouldn’t be able to lift the thing, but Flag Man has to go back to the drawing board if he wants to improve this season.

MIP (Most Impressive Pirate) Award: Fuquan Edwin was a force. In his first action as a Pirate (in public), FU really stood out. Not one attribute really stuck out, but Edwin seemed to have a great basketball sense. Cliche, I know, but that is exactly what it was. He had a nose for some loose balls on the defensive end, and was very elusive within the arc on the offensive end… He also hit a 3 pointer (1-2). Nothing to not like about this advertised gunner.

Jordan Theodore – If there was such a thing as the “Ooh Aah” award, Theodore would have won it, hands down. Theo dished two fantastic behind the back passes to Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson that made Walsh Gym erupt. He was also incredibly fast in transition; he was really on another level with the rock in his hands. There is no evidence of his shot being improved, but he has all the tools to be a true point and a great leader for this season and next.

Herb Pope – Status Quo. Pope looked like himself after a very scary off season. He might have been a little gassed, but it wasn’t noticeable. He reeled in 20 rebounds in his first “game” back… not bad. The much improved Ferro Hall will scoop up any minutes that Pope can’t handle.

Ferrakohn Hall – Improved. Hall backed up the numerous reports that he has improved and tacked on some muscle. He had a few impressive post moves as well as quite a few rebounds. However, Hall still looks iffy on the defensive end. He defended once or twice very well (forced a bad shot) but he also tacked up a few silly fouls just like last year.

Eniel Polynice – As advertised. He reminds me of a more complete Edwin. He was able to run the point briefly, played solid defense, held his own on offense, and made a 3 early in the game. Whether its off the bench as a 6th man, or as a starter, Eniel will be a key player for the Pirates.

Jeremy Hazell – Jeremy had a quiet 16 points. Its obvious that Jeremy is not going to have to carry this team day in, day out. Although he didn’t play major minutes tonight, Hazell didn’t really force too many shots. I’m sure he’ll take a few more shots against Temple, but Hazell played smart tonight.

Jeff Robinson – Jeff had an up and down game. He was stuffed once or twice by Robert Whetham (#5) of WPU in the early goings. He also took quite a few shots to start the game. His most impressive moment was throwing down a huge dunk after Theodore’s first behind the back dish. All in all, Jeff can do much better than this.

Jamel Jackson – JJax played a little bit more than he was supposed to due to Keon Lawrence not suiting up. He took a few silly fouls on defense and hit a shot or two on offense. Overall, he looks about the same as last season. He should be behind Polynice, Theodore, Lawrence and Hazell in the guard rotation, but he is not really a liability — as some think.

Patrik Auda – Auda had a solid game. He had a nose for some tipped around rebounds that Pope was not able to corral and also showed the ability to hit the 3. I don’t think he was really tested on defense, nor a focal point in the offensive game, so I can’t really make a conclusion about Patrik yet. He looked a little slow in the full court press, but I had to keep reminding myself that he is a forward. He should improve over the course of the season as the next forward off the bench behind Hall.

Darnell Gatling – Not much to say here. I left a minute or so after he entered the game. He won’t be logging many minutes this season, so theres not much to say.

Report Card
Pirates Offense: B
I was not too impressed by the Pirates half court offense. They didn’t seem to run too many set plays outside of a few coming out of timeouts (none of which worked, to my memory). A lot of us had been told that Willard was going to run more of a half court offense, but this team ran early and often (as soon as Theodore stepped on the court). I mean it worked, but this is also William Patterson. The team will have to improve on the half court offense. Funny how I’m complaining about offense when the team scored 97…

Pirates Defense: A-
Early in the game, William Patterson was breaking the press rather easily. Auda looked slow, and the WPU guards looked decent. That changed quickly as WPU started to turn the ball over in bunches. Hall looked improved on defense, but he also took a few bad fouls. Overall, it was kind of tough to judge the defense since WPU wasn’t really able to play in the half court. Yes, thats a side effect of running a press, but I guess its just not what I expected. It will be interesting to see how long Willard sticks with the full court press against Temple. Side note: The team also played a 2-3 zone.

Overall: B+
The Hall obviously flexed their basketball muscles tonight, but it might not of been in the way we all would have liked to see. They didn’t dominate in the half court offense because they continued to run and they weren’t really tested in the defensive half court, which may or not have been because of the press they ran. I don’t think the Pirates played bad, but its difficult to translate their performance tonight to match a Top 25 team, in their house.

Its tough to complain about a 42 point win, but hey, thats my job.

Extras:

– The St. Benedicts basketball team was behind the Seton Hall bench, as noted on Hall Line. I wasn’t able to see them since I was seated behind the WPU bench. This seems like a good recruiting move.

– According to Alex Kline (www.therecruitscoop.com), “A trio of New Jersey sophomore sensations of Austin Colbert, Reggie Cameron & Halice Cooke attended the Seton Hall scrimmage tonight.” — Another good recruiting move.

– 12 and 20. Jordan Theodore had 12 dishes and Herb Pope had 20 rebounds. Although they were against a D-III opponent, both were in limited minutes.

– The $1 hot dogs were solid. A lot more appealing than the $100 hot dogs at major sporting events.

Seton Hall OOC Opponent Breakdown

Fri., Nov. 12, at Temple
Sun., Nov. 14, CORNELL
Fri., Nov. 19, vs. Alabama ^
Sat/Sun, Nov. 20/21, vs. Iowa or Xavier ^
Mon., Nov. 22, vs. TBD ^
Mon., Nov. 29, SAINT PETER’S
Wed., Dec. 8, vs. Arkansas # (7 PM, ESPN2)
Sat., Dec. 11, at Massachusetts
Mon., Dec. 13, LONGWOOD
Sun., Dec. 19, NJIT
Wed., Dec. 22, DAYTON
Sun., Dec. 26, RICHMOND

November 12th, @ Temple University Owls 29-6 (14-2), Preseason #22 – Temple will return virtually everyone outside of leading scorer Ryan Brooks (14.2ppg, 36.2mpg). Standouts Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez will be the go to players for the Owls. Expect Temple to be on the same level as last season, but they now have the home court advantage.

November 14th, Cornell University Big Red 29-5 (13-1), Preseason NR – Cornell is the opposite of Temple. They virtually lose every major player from last season besides Chris “Robo” Wroblewski (29.6mpg, 8.9ppg). Gone is the senior leadership of Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale, Jeff Foote, Jon Jacques and a few reserves. Don’t forget that Cornell also lost its coach Steve Donahue to Boston College.

Cornell finished with an RPI of 48. Its safe to say that Cornell will have an RPI of around 248 this season.

November 19th, Paradise Jam Round 1 vs. Alabama Crimson Tide 17-15 (6-10), Preseason NR – The Crimson Tide should be around the same level of last season’s team. They lose their leading scorer Mikhail Torrence and 5th scorer Justin Knox among other reserves (47% scoring gone). Alabama landed an ESPNU Top 100 recruit Trevor Releford who should have an impact on the team. They also inked JUCO guard Kendall Durant and former SHU target Carl Engstrom (7’1 C).

Alabama finished with and RPI of 102. They should be in the mid 100s this season — a solid team.

November 20th/21st, Paradise Jam Round 2 vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (with loss v. Alabama) Preseason NR – Iowa is going to have another really tough season. Former Seton Hall coaching candidate Fran McCaffrey will be lucky if his team wins more than 10 games. The only notable returning player is junior Matt Gatens (36.7 mpg, 12.3 ppg).

Iowa finished with an RPI of 210 last season, they will probably have one in the mid to lower 200s this year.

November 20th/21st, Paradise Jam Round 2 vs. Xavier Musketeers (with win v. Alabama) Preseason 38th – Xaxier had really nice season last year. However, they will have to replace some big guns if they want to perform at the same level. Leading scorer (32.8 mpg, 20.5 ppg) Jordan Crawford and 3rd scorer Jason Love (27.8 mpg, 11.8 ppg) are both gone. Xavier also lost sharp shooter Brad Redford to a torn ACL in practice.

The Musketeers had a superb RPI of 19 last year, expect the RPI to be in the Top 50 again this season.

November 22nd, Paradise Jam Round 3 vs. TBD – The remaining Paradise Jam match up will be against Old Dominion, St. Peters, Clemson or Long Beach State. ODU only loses their leading scorer (Lee) off of a 27 RPI season. Clemson hired a new coach and lost their leading scorer (Booker) off of a 34 RPI season — expect them to be a bit worse. Long Beach State lost their 4th scorer off of an 121 RPI season. They should have a similar RPI to Alabama this season. I’ll update St. Peters in detail later since SHU will definitely play them outside of the Paradise Jam.

November 29th, St. Peters College Peacocks 16-14 (11-7) Preseason NR – The Peacocks lose no one from their 2009-10 squad that nearly upset Seton Hall. However, Wesley Jenkins injured his ACL and will be out for the game against Seton Hall. He average 13.8 ppg last season. St. Peters is the clear favorite to win the MAAC this year. It will be interesting to see if SPC has Seton Hall’s number or if last year was just a hang over from Keon Lawrence’s incident.

December 8th, Big East/SEC Challenge @ Louisville vs. Arkansas Razorbacks 14-18 (7-9) Preseason NR – The Razorbacks lose over 50% of their scoring (51%) from last year, including leading scorer Courtney Fortson (33.3mpg, 17.9ppg). The Razorbacks will need to rely on the only two returning double figure scorers Rotnei Clarke and Marshawn Powell.

Arkansas finished with an RPI of 159. They should be around the same level this season, possibly a little lower.

December 11th, @ Massachusetts Minutemen 12-20 (5-11) Preseason NR – Seton Hall is returning the H/H they setup with the Minutemen. Last year, Seton Hall dominated for basically the whole game. Expect nothing less this season since UMass lost their leading scorer, Ricky Harris (19.9 ppg), to graduation.

UMass finished win an RPI of 176. They should be slightly improved this year, but Seton Hall should have no trouble at all.

December 13th, Longwood Lancers (12-19) Preseason NR – Not much to say here, more of a filler game. The Lancers lost their leading scorer Dana Smith (18.2 ppg). Longwood finished with and RPI of 286 last year, and it shouldn’t be any better this year.

December 19th, NJIT Highlanders 10-21 (4-8) Preseason NR – Just a few years ago, NJIT was the laughing stock of college basketball for their record losing streaks. Last season, they won a whopping 10 games. Luckily, Seton Hall wasn’t one of them; Seton Hall won by 40. NJIT is another filler game, just like Longwood. Not much to see here.

December 22nd, Dayton Flyers 25-12 (8-8) NIT Champions, Preseason 48th – Dayton produced a strong product last year. They defeated UNC in the NIT final, stealing the title from my Penn State Nittany Lions. Dayton only loses their 3rd and 4th scorers, Marcus Johnson and Rob Lowery (respectively). Interestingly enough, Lowery is playing with former Pirates Paul Gause and Jamar Nutter in Germany.

Dayton finished win an RPI of 54. They should be performing around the same clip this year since they fielded a very balanced squad last year. No one played over 29 minutes per game.

December 26th, Richmond Spiders 26-9 (13-3) Preseason 36th – The Spiders had a very under the radar season. They put up a fight against the team that beat Villanova in the NCAA tournament (St. Marys) and won 26 overall games. Richmond loses Ryan Butler (8.4 ppg) and David Gonzalvez (14.6 ppg). However, Richmond is bringing in what coach Chris Mooney thinks is his best recruiting class yet as well as returning leading scorer Kevin Anderson (17.8 ppg).

Richmond had an RPI of 25 last year, expect them to be somewhere in that range again this year, probably Top 50.

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Now that we’ve covered every team the Pirates will or can play, lets group them into three categories. Great schedule, neutral, and cupcake.

Great schedules: Temple, Xavier, Old Dominion, Dayton, Richmond

Neutral: Alabama, Clemson, Long Beach State, St. Peters, Arkansas

Cupcakes: Cornell, Iowa, UMass, Longwood, NJIT

That about wraps up Seton Hall’s OOC schedule. I’ll go on record and say that Seton Hall goes 10-2.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter for more Seton Hall, Big East, Big Ten, and Penn State blog entries:

Big East Basketball Preview – Part 2

Tier 2 of the Big East consists of solid teams that will be fighting to remain off the bubble and a team or two that are just slightly less talented than the first tier. As we near March, expect #7 and #8 to be bubble teams while #5 and #6 are fighting for a better NCAA tournament seed.

5. West Virginia Mountaineers 31-7 (13-5) – Look for WVU to regress this season. Replacing De’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Wellington Smith (50% of scoring) will be a little too tough for WVU to do while expecting to match last season’s success. While losing key forwards, WVU also has back court issues. The lack of a true point guard hurt them at times last year. Darryl Bryant and Joe Mazzulla will likely share the 1 again. Mazzulla, Dalton Pepper and maybe even freshman guard Noah Cottrill will really have to step up in the back court. Look for Pepper to start at the 2.
Any way you spin it, WVU will likely not win 30 games again this season.

6. Marquette Golden Eagles 22-12 (11-7) – Marquette was picked 12th in last season’s Big East Coaches Poll and pleasantly surprised by making the NCAA tournament. Buzz Williams has gained the reputation of getting the most out of his players; something he will have to do again this season to assure a return trip to the Dance. The Golden Eagles lose 3 major players in Lazar Hayward, Maurice Acker and David Cubillan. Returning guards Johnson-Odom and Buycks will have to cover the ground lost in the back court.

Marquette has a superb recruiting class coming in who will hopefully learn on the job. Guard Vander Blue and wing Jamail Jones were both ESPNU Top 100 recruits. JUCO transfer Jae Crowder will also challenge for major minutes.
Do not be surprised if Marquette repeats its 2009-10 performance.

7. Seton Hall Pirates 19-13 (9-9) – After a, how should we put it, eventful offseason, Seton Hall is poised to crack the Big East’s Top 8. The Pirates lose senior guard Eugene Harvey, wing Robert Mitchell and reserve center John Garcia. They are returning 4 starters and are adding the transfer Eniel Polynice from Ole Miss. Most importantly, the Pirates have a new captain at the helm: Kevin Willard.

The Pirates will be led by standout shooting guard Jeremy Hazell, master rebounder Herb Pope, scrappy Jeff Robinson and emerging point guard Jordan Theodore. If the Pirates can add to the season they had last year, do not be surprised to see the Pirates in the Top 8 and playing in the NCAA tournament.

8. Notre Dame 23-12 (10-8) – If you asked me last January how I thought Notre Dame would fair without Luke Harangody, I would tell you, not well at all. But based upon Mike Brey’s ability to invent a brand new Notre Dame in the Big East tournament and NCAA tournament, I’m more confident that the Irish can almost replace ‘Gody. However, Notre Dame also loses point guard Tory Jackson and fellow guard Jonathan Peoples (63% of scoring overall). Irish fans will look upon returnees Tim Abromaitis, Ben Hansbrough, Tyrone Nash and Carlton Scott to pick up some serious slack. Scott Martin, the transfer from Purdue, will also see major minutes.

Notre Dame should be a bubble team, based on how well Mike Brey is able to mesh his returning players together into a cohesive team.

Tier 3 will be released this Wednesday, October 27th. Stay tuned, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest NCAAB news: http://twitter.com/The_Bracket_Man