Well, Willard's understanding of Pitino's system didn't exactly translate on the floor tonight.
This one was over in the first 6 minutes. After intermission, it was more of the same uninspired basketball that made Pirate fans everywhere nauseous in the first half. All you really need to do is read the halftime notes for an understanding of what transpired tonight.
So much for the mini-camp that the Pirates held at the Indiana Pacers facility following the loss to Cincinnati. This team didn't show up tonight, falling to a 24-2 deficit. This team took in the Colts and Titans game Sunday? I don't care how much they practiced or how much film they watched, they should have done more. They absolutely embarrassed themselves in the first half. This ballgame was over before the Pirates stepped onto the court. The teacher blew the pupil out of the gym, before Willard's team could hit their second field goal. Just pathetic.
Hopefully Kevin Willard and Rick Pitino are sharing a meal somewhere as Mike Vorkunov of NewJerseyNewsRoom suggested early on:
The way this Seton Hall game is going, the least Rick Pitino can do is take Kevin Willard out to a nice Italian restaurant afterward.
Fuquan Edwin was the only Pirate who provided an effort in this laugher. His play in the second half prevented the Pirates from losing by 40 points. Seriously. Fuquan was phenomenal, but can someone explain how the 6'6 Freshman wing out-rebounded Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope? I can see Robinson, as he's hanging around the perimeter believing he's the second coming of Reggie Miller (6 attempts from long-range), but how does Pope finish with just 6 rebounds? Fu's night ended with another spectacular performance: 18PTS/9REB/BLK/STL/AST/0TO.
Herb Pope settled down in the second half after beginning his night missing a bunny and committing turnovers on his subsequent three possessions. For stretches, his defense was rather good, but despite logging a season high 37 minutes, he was unable to get much going offensively, connecting on just 2-of-5 attempts. He also failed to block a shot or record a steal. Posting just 7PTS/6REB against an undermanned and undersized Louisville front-court is not getting it done.
Seton Hall's other big, the one whose played more #2 than #4 this season, Jeff Robinson, fired 14 attempts from the floor and 6 from beyond the arc, making just 4 buckets. With Hazell out, Robinson simply cannot afford abysmal games where he shoots his team out of the gym, such as his dud that was on display tonight. Robinson still finished with 14PTS (28% shooting) and 4REB/4TO.
Nothing of substance needs to be said regarding the Pirates PG-combo. Other than, they were terrible. JT and Keon combined to make just 3-of-16 field goals in 63 minutes of action. They did have 10REB/8AST/4STL/6TO between them, but if they continue to shoot that poorly it won't greatly matter what else they do on the floor. How many layups can this tandem miss?
That brings me to my next point, layups and bunnies. I feel like I've been watching the Pirates miss layups and bunnies for the last 3 coaching generations. Whether it was Orr, Gonzo or Willard, I feel this team has struggled to make the high-percentage shot for the greater part of the LAST DECADE!
Yet again, the Pirates posted another negative AST/TO (11-14) ratio, while being out-rebounded (45-33) by the undersized four-guard starting lineup of the Cardinals and had their shots blocked 9 times, compared to just two blocks on the other end. They shot 29% to boot. That'll do it.
The Cardinals had just two players in double figures: Marra and Siva with 14PTS a piece, yet this game was over before Kevin Willard burned his first time out. Go figure.
JP, did a terrific job with his play-by-play for WSOU, it's just a shame that he had to call a game that was over, well, before it really started. Looking forward to his thoughts upon his return from Louisville.
Note to Coach Willard: I do not care if the man was your mentor for 10-years. Please do not sit around, yukking it up and sharing a laugh with Slick Rick after he wiped your boys across the floor. NOBODY involved with this program wants to see that after losing by 19 points.