Seton Hall @ Rutgers, 7PM EST
Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, NJ
Opening Line: Rutgers -2.5 (SHU 10-12 ATS)
Radio: WSOU 89.5 FM
Twitter: @SOrangeJuice @JPGuerette @JohnLopiano @The_Bracket_Man
The storyline was supposed to read the New Jersey rematch of the Pirates and Scarlet Knights doing battle in a largely uneventful contest for 12th place in the conference. That has quickly taken second fiddle to the ever continuing drama of Seton Hall basketball. Early this morning, we learned that a pair of senior transfer guards in Jamel Jackson and Keon Lawrence were thrown off of the team. This marks this second consecutive year that Seton Hall has had to dismiss at least one player from their program. Of course, we all unfortunately remember the events that transpired following Gonzo's dismissal of Stix Mitchell. Let's hope that Jamel Jackson and Keon Lawrence have their heads screwed on a little tighter following their dismissal.
Today's news leaves the Pirates extremely thin for tonight's contest. Not to mention, it leaves the team without a true backup PG for the last six games of the season. What does this mean? Eniel Polynice will be backing up Jordan Theodore and if you've been watching him play this season you understand it won't be pretty. Polynice is a below average ball handler, whose control is much too sloppy to be leading an offense for more than five minutes a game. That overabundance of guards we've got coming in next year? I wonder if we can get an advance loan on some of them as we could surely use them the rest of the way. In all seriousness, Kevin Willard is left with just eight rotation players, nine if Anali Okoloji has recovered from a stomach ailment that has had him sidelined the last three games.
I'm interested to see where the team's collective head will be at tonight. Will they rally around each other, the players that want to be on the court bad enough that they can behave off the court? Or, as we've seen all too often this season, will they ignore Kevin Willard's message and continue playing a brand of careless and selfish basketball? One thing is for certain, win or lose, you will not come to Seton Hall, act like clowns and believe you're entitled to minutes. Maybe under the last regime, yes. Under Kevin Willard? You will be treated like a clown. The message has been sent. You want to play? You better have your head on straight, on and off the court. Playing college athletics at this and any level is a privilege. A privilege that has been abused far too often not only in the past, but also throughout much of this season with the missed curfews and cafeteria fights. All that nonsense has been tossed out the window right along with two more of Bobby's recruits. The inmates run the asylum no more. This is Kevin's team. Who else wants some?