The season is upon us! After seven months of waiting and analyzing (and over-analyzing), we can finally see some real basketball. As a non-football fanbase, we here at South Orange Juice know that this is your only season, in which you eat, sleep and breathe Pirate hoops. Throughout the season we will bring you the best coverage we possibly can, including Previews of every game, open game threads, happy recaps and (of course) my 5 Thoughts following each contest.
Game number 1 features the St. Francis (NY) Terriers, so let's look at 'em!
St. Francis (NY)
2010-11 record: 15-15 (10-8 NEC)
All-time series: SHU leads 37-11
Last meeting: 7/14/08 (SHU won 88-61)
The Terriers scraped together a .500 record thanks to a defense that ranked among the better teams in their conference. It was a defense that forced a turnover on nearly a quarter of their opponents' possessions, which helped because the shots just didn't fall at times (last in their conference in both two-point and three-point shooting).
To top that off, they lost their anchors in the backcourt (Ricky Cadell) and frontcourt (Akeem Bennett) to graduation. In the frontcourt, Akeem Johnson and Travis Nichols along with Matt Milk will look to increase their production. In the backcourt, Dre Calloway returns to play the point and the Terriers welcome Iona transfer Ben Mockford to the wing to help replace Cadell's scoring. Mockford is regarded as a great shooter, and this team is in sore need of someone who can make a shot.
Seton Hall will win if:
- They out-skill the Terriers. Seton Hall obviously has more talent than St. Francis, and the last time these two met, the Terriers were harassed by the athletic Pirates into a poor shooting night while SHU drove the ball inside and ran the break to the tune of 51% shooting from the field. The Pirates are young, but still have more talent player-by-player.
St. Francis could win if:
- They turn it into an ugly game. By that, I mean UConn-Butler '11 ugly. The Terriers and Pirates can both defend well, and if both teams start laying bricks on the court, SFC has a chance. Yes, because of the Pirates' edge in talent, it's a slim chance. But it may be the Terriers' only chance. Getting into a shot-making contest with Seton Hall will end badly for them.
This is a game the Pirates should win, perhaps easily. SHU will likely be without Sean Grennan due to his recovery from an emergency appendectomy, but otherwise, the Pirates should be pumped and ready to start the season, as the entire Pirate fanbase is.
Alas, I cannot make it to the game (my first missed opening night in 4 years), but I will be watching SNY with a keen eye. As always, Go Pirates!