|December 28th, 2011|
|The Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
|Jordan Theodore||PG||Scoop Jardine|
|Aaron Cosby||SG||Brandon Triche|
|Fuquan Edwin||SF||Kris Joseph|
|Patrik Auda||PF||Rakeem Christmas|
|Herb Pope||C||Fab Melo|
|Opening Line (Syracuse -15.5)
The Seton Hall Pirates head into snowy Syracuse on Wednesday night to open up conference play against the #1 team in the nation, Jim's Boeheim's, Orange. The Pirates have taken 2 of their last 4 at the 'Cuse, including last year's thrashing, 90-68 against then ranked #10 Orange. Make no mistake, Syracuse won't be caught sleeping against 'lowly' Seton Hall two years in a row, especially when the Pirates are 11-1 and the invited guest to launch conference play in front of 30 large at the Carrier Dome.
Can the Pirates pull the upset card two years in a row? Surprisingly, the response throughout SOJ and the Twitter communities have been exceedingly positive today. The team is ready for the opportunity at hand and it's evident that they have their fanbase believing in them, a feat that's been hard to accomplish in recent years. Unfortunately, the reality remains, it will require an effort nothing short of perfection from the blue-and-white in order to pull this one off.
Getting down to business, Pope and Auda need their touches inside tonight. Against Longwood, the Pirates somewhat got away from their gameplan, because they could. If Herb Pope doesn't stay involved tonight, whether that's due to offensive execution or foul trouble, the Orange could put this one away early. To be perfect, Theodore must limit his turnovers and be selective with shots tonight, two aspects of play that he's been executing at a high level thus far this season. Lastly, the Pirates must also be perfect on the defensive side of the ball. To start, the country's steals leader, Fuquan Edwin, must find his way into passing lanes and work to turn over a team that exhibits very good ball security. In speaking about team defense, it's no secret that the Pirates often struggle in their 2-3 zone against good 3-point shooting teams. The Orange come in shooting 37% from deep and if they begin to sink 'em over our zone, a QUICK switch to M/2/M will be imperative in keeping this contest within reach. Though the Pirates have looked more impressive in their M/2/M look this season, Willard relies on the zone to give guys a breather, while attempting to keep the bigs out of foul trouble.
Enjoy this one, folks. Our opponent doesn't have a blemish on their record, but tonight might just be our night to be perfect. As always, Let's Go Hall!