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Friday, February 24, 2006


February 25, 2006

It is a homecoming game for Seton Hall senior Kelly Whitney as Whitney and the Pirates look to solidify their footing in terms of a NCAA Tournament bid. After losing three of their last four, including a devastating 58-47 loss to a very short-handed St. John's team, the Pirates have some work to do.

DePaul might have had the final nail in their coffin pounded in by Louisville on Wednesday night as the Blue Demons fell to 3-10 in conference play and two games out of the mix for the final conference tournament spot. It has been a disappointing season for Jerry Wainwright's crew, it will show a lot about the character of their team and the handle the coaching staff has on them with their effort on Saturday.

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


DePaul certainly has talent. The trio of Sammy Mejia, Karron Clarke and Wilson Chandler has the potential to be a dangerous group in the Big East. However, finding all three of them on top of their games at the same time has been a very rare occurrence in Big East play. Draelon Burns, Jabari Currie and Marlon Brumfield are also solid contributors and Burns has had a solid season. The inconsistent availability of wesley Green has not helped the cause for DePaul, either.

At 6-3 and with a non-conference road win against North Carolina St, the Seton Hall Pirates and embattled coach Louis Orr was the talk of the country. They moved to 7-4 in the conference after knocking off West Virginia, but a pair of 11-pt losses to Notre Dame and St John's has brough the Pirates back to earth with a rather large thud. They will need to beat DePaul to put them back in the NCAA Tournament focus, any road win is tough, but the Pirates really need this one. Donald Copeland and Kelly Whitney need to have good offensive games and defensive-ace Stanley Gaines must do the job on DePaul's Mejia.

Seton Hall definitely has something left to play for. DePaul, other than being a spoiler, does not. It is a tough call as to which DePaul team will show up, but the one thing is for certain, Seton Hall needs to bring their defensive effort and not go into a scoring drought.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 60 DePaul 59

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Seton Hall @ St. John's

February 21, 2006

In their continued quest for, what just a few short months ago seemed impossible, a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Seton Hall Pirates make the short trek into New York City to face the Redstorm of St John's. Seton Hall has put themselves in NCAA tournament position by winning seven of their last nine games, despite Saturday's loss to Notre Dame. On the other hand, St John's is desperately trying to find a way to the Big East tournament and have lost seven of their last eight games, including a home loss to DePaul on Saturday.

Here are the stories and previews from around the internet on tonight's game:

Take 2 for St. John's Against Seton Hall (NY Daily News)
Miracle in Making (NY Post)Hall's Hopes Rest on Defense (Star-Ledger)
Hall Can't Lose Focus (
SHU Has Eye on 'D' as Ugly Game with SJU Looms (Courier News)
SJU/SHU Scouting Report (Courier News)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


Seton Hall is vowing to return to their defensive ways and should get a big help in that department playing a Redstorm team that will be without Daryll Hill and Anthony Mason Jr, both out with injuries. The Redstorm have been offensively challenged all season long, and now will be even moreso. However, you can not take St. John's lightly as they will compete for the entire 40 minutes and give a full effort, esepcially on the defensive end.

These two teams opened their Big East schedules against one another in early January and St. John's was without Hill in that game as well. With 12 minutes left in the game, the Redstorm were cruising to a 20-pt lead on the Pirates home floor. However, the resilient bunch of embattled Louis Orr did not give up and Seton Hall forced overtime and ended up winning the game by 8. It did not look like it was really going to matter much for Seton Hall as they dropped their next three in the conference, but, another comeback at home, this time against South Florida, set off a streak of six wins, including road wins at North Carolina St and Syracuse that propelled the Pirates onto the right side of the NCAA bubble. They just finishesd a tough home stretch of three games with Connecticut, West Virginia and Notre Dame, and they got another quality win over Notre Dame. Now, with St. John's and DePaul in back to back road games, the Pirates can sew up a bid with two more wins.

Shorty after dropping the heartbreaking game with Seton Hall, the Redstorm got their fans excited with three straight wins to move to 3-2 in the conference. Wins, at home, over Pittsburgh and Louisville had people beginning to take notice, but the difficult part of their schedule took a toll on St. John's as they lost their next six. They surprised Rutgers in the RAC before losing to DePaul at home over the weekend. Now, playing without Mason and Hill, they will have to go deeper on their bench with Ricky Torres and Ryan Williams playing larger roles and Cedric Jacksos will need to give the team an added offensive lift. They do have the potential to score with their frontline of Lamont Hamilton and Aaron Spears, but improved guard play will be needed to get them the ball.

For Seton Hall it has been Donald Copeland, Jamar Nutter and Kelly Whitney leading the charge on offense but timely contributions from Brian Laing and Grant Billmeier have also been huge with offensive sparkplug Paul Gause coming off the bench. The return of Stan Gaines from injury gives them another defensive presence and a player that is versatile on both ends of the court.

The early vegas line has St. John's as a 1-pt favorite, but I think Seton Hall has more offense and will bring a renewed defensive effort against a depleted offensive outfit and get the win tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 65 St. John's 57

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Friday, February 17, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Notre Dame @ Seton Hall

February 18, 2006

February 18, 2006

Seton Hall's win over West Virginia Tuesday night put the Pirates in VERY good position for an NCAA Tournament bid, something nobody gave SHU much hope for before the season began. On Saturday, they look to put what could be the final stamp on their resume by beating Notre Dame.

It might be a saying that is overdone, but Notre Dame IS much better than their 3-8 conference record. They have won their last two games, both at home, over Rutgers and South Florida and will now look to add their first conference road win, after 5 defeats, two in overtime, by a combined 15 pts. They also still find themselves one game out of the mix for a Big East Tournament spot, and they have a trip to Connecticut following this game.

For our the rest of our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


No doubt Louis Orr and his Seton Hall Pirates are one of the best stories in the country. With a head coach left hung out to dry since last spring, through the entire recruiting season, the Pirates have banded together and won seven of their last eight games to go from a conference bottom-feeder to challenging for a bye in the conference tournament. Led by seniors Donald Copeland and Kelly Whitney as well as getting timely contributions from Jamar Nutter, Brian Laing, Paul Gause, Grant Billmeier and the return of Stan Gaines, SHU is playing some very good ball right now. They have shown they can be more than a team that just relies on their defense. However, it will still be their defense that carries them into the NCAA Tournament, especially against a team as skilled as Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish story for 2005-2006 has been well documented and losing close games has been their forte throughout the conference season. The Irish tend to be limited athletically and physically inside, meaning they continuously come up short at the end of close games in getting key stops or making the big play. They have very capable players, led by Chris Quinn, but it seems any limitation any of them have gets exploited at the key points in games by opponents.

Notre Dame got an ugly win Wednesday over South Florida in a game the Irish shot 4-20 from 3-pt range, including 0-9 from Colin Falls. I think you can count on the Irish shooting better than that against the Pirates. Notre Dame has some favorable match-ups, but will have to deal with the quickness advantage the Pirate guards have. They also must have Torin Francis be a threat offensively and defensively inside and make things tough for Kelly Whitney. Francis and Rick Cornett have to team together to at least match Whitney's output and the Irish need something from their power forward spot. The Irish have also been tinkering with a 4-guard line-up to spread the floor and create more room for their shooters.

Seton Hall will have to continue giving their full effort and working hard on defense. They need to be on Colin Falls the entire time and not let him get going offensively. If Falls is taken away on the offensive side of the ball, it is a major advantage to Seton Hall because he is a one-dimensional player. However, for some reason, I just have a feeling that Falls is able to get free for some threes and Francis brings the game many thought he would flash for some time now. I think Seton Hall suffers an ill-timed let down on Saturday and lets one slip away as Notre Dame earns that elusive close win.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Notre Dame 66 Seton Hall 65

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: West Virginia @ Seton Hall

February 14, 2006

West Virginia finishes off their three game road trip as they look to move back into a 1st place tie in the conference with Villanova when they take on Seton Hall at the Continental Airlines Arena tonight. The Mountaineers have a quick turnaround after their impressive 69-56 win at Georgetown Sunday night to prepare for the Pirates. WVU also must resist the urge to look ahead to Connecticut, who will be coming to Morgantown for a nationally televised game this coming Saturday.

Seton Hall will look to bounce back after the 42-pt drubbing they were given by Connecticut on Saturday night. The loss, which came at home, snapped the Pirates six game winning streak which has put them in the NCAA Tournament mix. WVU is the middle game of a three game homestand which concludes with Notre Dame on Saturday. This is a pivotal stretch for Seton Hall to see really how good they are.

Here are the pregame stories and previews from around the internet:

Seton Hall Looks to Get Defensive (
WVU Basketball: Seton Hall No Pushover (Charleston Gazette)
Pittsnogle Not Singing Baby Blues (Charleston Gazette)
WVU Likely to Run Into Mean Bunch of Pirates (Register-Herald)
Mountaineers Height a Big Test for Hall's D (Star-Ledger)
Seton Hall's Sheriff Hopes to Restore Order on D (Courier News)
WVU/SHU Scouting Report (Courier News)

To read our preview and see our game prediction, click read more below and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section!


On Sunday, I thought the key to the West Virginia/Georgetown game was which team would tire first, I thought, playing on the road, it would be West Virginia. I was flat out wrong! West Virginia finished th egame strong as it was Georgetown that clearly tired. Tonight, the Mountaineer's stamina will be tested again as they play their third road game against a winning conference foe in less than five days! It all started Thursday night at 9 PM at Pittsburgh and concludes tonight at 7:30 against Seton Hall.

Last season, Seton Hall closed out the regular season by beating West Virginia, 66-63, at the Continental Airlines Arena. In that game, the Mountaineers shot just 8-26 from 3-pt range. Seton Hall will look to apply the same defensive magic tonight when the two teams meet again.

Even though the Pirates had won six straight games, they were allowing their opponents to shoot 48% from the floor, which is a high number for the defensive minded Pirates. Of course, Connecticut took full advantage of the defense, shooting 53% from the floor and scoring 99 points. The Pirates were also outrebounded by the Huskies 60-32! Seton Hall will look to rebound tonight on the defensive end, otherwise, the veteran group of Mountaineers could put on a clinic. One thing working in Seton Hall's favorite is the expected return of their defensive ace, Stan Gaines, who has been out with broken bones in his face after taking an elbow to the face in their loss to Villanova. Gaines will be wearing a mask, but is expected to be ready to go tonight.

Last Thursday West Virginia dropped their first conference game at Pittsburgh when Kevin Pittsnogle went 0-12 from the field and fouled out without scoring a point. Pittsnogle and the Mountaineers rebounded Sunday by winning at Georgetown as Pittsnogle led the way with 25 pts. As we all know, WVU is not a deep team. For the most part they will play 7 players, five of which are seniors, for the most part. Three tough road games in five days is bound to have an effect on their game in some way, especially when you factor in they could be looking ahead, even ever so slightly, to getting back home to meet Connecticut this weekend. It is only natural.

Seton Hall is a rather small-ish team, especially in their backcourt and that will cause a tough match-up against the 1-3-1 zone defense of West Virginia as they will look to trap the Pirate guards and make it tough for them to make entry passes to the post. Mike Gansey, Frank Young and Joe Herber are most likely to find smaller defenders on them. Gansey could be the one to draw Gaines. I do not think they can put Gaines on Pittsnogle, because that would force Kelly Whitney to guard one of their smaller, perimeter orinetated forwards. Seton Hall has some quickness they would like to use to their advantage, but the WVU 1-3-1 trap has a way of negating those advantages. With Whitney likely to be defending 20-feet from the basket, rebounding could be another factor. WVU is the worst rebounding team in the conference, but they get by as they force twice as many turnovers as they commit and rely on 3-pters to make up for the difference.

I see that WVU is an early 4.5-pt favorite and I see them coming up with a win tonight, but in a tighter than anticipated game. SHU will come at them, try to be physical and grind it out, but in the end, their lack of offense might just bite them as the Mountaineers have a couple more answers from the arc.

NBE Blogger's Prediction:

West Virginia 67 Seton Hall 64

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Friday, February 10, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Connecticut @ Seton Hall

February 11, 2006

The Seton Hall Pirates, winners of six straight games, including five Big East games, suddenly find themselves talking about the NCAA Tournament, let alone doubting they would be good enough for the Big East tournament, get their biggest test yet as the 1st place Connecticut Huskies come to the Meadowlands. Seton Hall begins a three-game homestand against Connecticut, West Virginia and Notre Dame. Finding a way to win at least one of these games will go a long way in legitimizing their bid to be one of the teams representing the Big East in the NCAA's come March.

For Connecticut, they find themselves in a 3-way tie for 1st place in the conference with Villanova and West Virginia and have a Big Monday date with Villanova shortly after this one. Coming on the heels of their Rivalry Week match-up with Syracuse, could there be a letdown for Jim Calhoun's bunch?

For our the rest of our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


This probably is not the best match-up for Seton Hall. Connecticut is deeper, more athletic and just as strong inside. However, Seton Hall has been getting it done of late, including their surprisingly easy win at NC St, but this is the biggest test of them all, meeting UConn.

During the Seton Hall run, they have been getting pretty solid performances nearly every night out from Donald Copeland, Jamar Nutter and Kelly Whitney. On most nights, all three have been very productive and if not, usually tow of them are on the top of their game. They will need all three to be on top of their game on Saturday, and that still could leave them in trouble if they do not control the talent on the other side.

Rudy Gay has really stepped up of late and has begun to look, more consistently, like the player the coaches tabbed as the pre-season conference player of the year. Along with Gay, Josh Boone has begun to find his offense and, with an off game against Syracuse, you can expect Rashad Anderson to be on in this one. However, the talent doesn't stop there as Hilton Armstrong, Jeff Adrien and Denham Brown are all capable of piling up points and rebounds and anything else the Huskies need.

Sometimes I think they Huskies can get a little lax on defense and if they are looking ahead just a little bit, that could happen here. However, with Villanova around the corner, I expect Jim Calhoun to be very demanding of his team in this one. That could lead to mass substitutions that can hurt their flow, but in the end, he will get the effort he is looking for, especially on defense and on the boards.

NBE Blogger prediction:

Connecticut 71 Seton Hall 59

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Seton Hall @ South Florida

February 8, 2006

Surprising Seton Hall, winners of five straight, including four in a row in the Big East, look to make it six in a row tonight as they travel to meet the South Florida Bulls.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Bulls have lost 10 straight, including all eight of their conference games. On January 20th, they looked poised to grab their first conference at Seton Hall, but they blew a 12-pt lead in the last four minutes before falling in overtime against the Pirates.

Here are the pregame stories and previews from around the internet:

SHU @ USF Notes (Tampa Trib)

USF/SHU Preview (St. Petersburg Times)

Hall Aims to Extend Win Streak (Star-Ledger)

Seton Hall - South Florida Scouting Report (Courier News)

For our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


This is one of those tricky "sandwich" games for Seton Hall as it sits in between their rvalry match-up with Rutgers and a date with #1 Connecticut coming up as the next game on their schedule. I do not expect them to take the Bulls lightly as they had seen what the Bulls could do earlier in the season when the Pirates were forced to make an amazing comeback to defeat USF on their home floor.

To get another win, the Pirates will need to keep on playing hard and tough defense and take advantage of what is given to them on the perimeter. During their 5-game streak, Jamar Nutter has averaged 19.2 PPG (season average is 12.3), Kelly Whitney is averaging 16.4 PPG and 8 rebounds and Donald Copeland is averaging 15.6 PPG, but the most important thing the trip has given Seton Hall is consistent production in each game, allowing other players (Grant Billmeier, Brian Laing, Paul Gause, etc) to settle in roles of support for their "Big Three".

For the Bulls, it has pretty much been the same story all season long as their depleted roster fights as hard as they can to compete, but they lack the depth to sustain their effort the entire 40 minutes. They have lost their share of close ones, but now has to dig deep again and find the effort on the defensive end as they are coming off a lackluster performance defensively against DePaul on the road.

Again, I expect the Bulls to fight hard and they could draw the Pirates into an offensively challenged mode that they have been prone to showing at times throughout the season. But, the Pirates have too many answers and will be able to rotate fresh players in to win the battle on the boards and play defense for 40 minutes and will pull it out again.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 67 South Florida 61

Early look shows the Pirates as 4-pt favorites.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Seton Hall @ Providence

February 1, 2006

with back to back road wins over North Carolina St and Syracuse, things have certainly gotten a lot brighter around the Seton Hall campus. Suddenly the Pirates find themselves with a little momentum and a 3-3 conference record as they head into a conference road tilt with the Friars of Providence. Providence had their 2-game conference win streak snapped by Connecticut over the weekend and will look to get back on the winning side tonight when they host Seton Hall.

Here are the pregame stories and previews from around the internet:

Hall Forging an Identity (
PC vs SHU Match-up (Providence Journal)
Hall Wont Relax at Providence (Star-Ledger)
SHU/PC Scouting Report (Courier News)
Make or Break Time Here for Friars (Providence Journal)
To Be, Orr Not To Be (NY Post on Louis Orr)

For our preview and prediction on the game, click below!


This is an interestin ggame that I hope to keep a close eye on. each team desperately needs to find a way to win this game. The Pirates and coach Louis Orr have suddenly put themselves back into the mix for, gulp, an NCAA bid with a solid record (12-6) and RPI (37, ahead of Kentucky, Temple, Colorado, Xavier, etc) with a reasonable schedule ahead, especially in the near term with Providence on the road tonight, Rutgers at home and then USF on the road and then three home games with UConn, WVU and ND before finishing with SJU, DePaul, Cincy and Pitt. There are wins to be had ahead of them, but getting one tonight is a BIG first step.

The Friars also have a favorable schedule ahead of them and begin a 2-game home stretch tonight on must wins with Seton Hall and St John's which will be followed by a trip to DePaul. At 2-5 in the conference, finding some distance from Notre Dame and Louisville while closing the gap on Rutgers and Seton Hall is the immediate goal of the Friars as that would land them in Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament.

These teams match-up pretty well. The Pirates will likely start Donald Copeland, Jamar Nutter, Brian Laing, Kelly Whitney and Grant Billmeier and bring a scoring threat in Paul Gause off the bench. The injury to Stan Gaines is a big blow to their team as it has sapped some of the depth and a versatile player that filled several roles.

The Friars do not have much depth either and are very young. They will start Sharoud Curry, Donnie McGrath, Weyinmi Efejuku, Geoff McDermott and Randall Hanke and bring in big men Herbert Hill and Jonathan Kale off the bench, along with wing Charles Burch.

I do believe that Seton Hall is slightly the better team because of their experience with Copeland and Whitney being seniors. However, on the road with out Stan Gaines might catch up to them here. They will need another big shooting game from Jamar Nutter and/or Paul Gause. The Friars will need to score, as the Pirates will defend pretty hard, but can have trouble scoring. Winning three games in a row on the road is just a little too much to ask for from the Pirates, I believe, however, as 3-pt underdogs, I look for them to take this to the wire and have the chance to win.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Providence 70 Seton Hall 68

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