First, let's start with the good....(uncomfortable and elongated pause filled with deafening silence)...
And now, for the bad:
It can't be overstated how different this Seton Hall team is without Herb Pope. Clearly we knew that would be the case heading into this tilt, as the offense runs through the big fella, but now we've actually seen it. It was as objectionable as having bright bar lights turned up at "last call", only to realize you've mistakenly been smitten with... well... you know the rest.
In a battle of the losing streaks (UCONN had lost 4 in a row, SHU 5), Seton Hall, again, was unable to get going offensively, as the Pirates lost their 6th in a row by a final of 69 - 46. At the break, Seton Hall managed to tally a whopping 17 points; aggregate. To put that in context, UConn's Boatright and Lamb had a total of 19 and 17 points respectively for a team previously mired in an offensive funk. The prescription for the Huskies? Play a Herb Pope-less Seton Hall team (and sure, more cowbell too). Speaking of Boatright, he had an absolutely filthy one-on-one dribble-drive to the hoop that had poor Freddie Wilson jumping out of his shoes. As a basketball fan, that was the highlight of the game - much to my chagrin, a Seton Hall player got posterized.
With Herb Pope sidelined, I really thought Patrik Auda had the chance to play with house money, so to speak, and get back on track offensively. Fail. Epic fail. Auda went 0-3 from the field with 3 boards, 1 assist, 5 personal fouls (3 with eight minutes left in the first half!) and roughly zero points, give or take a standard deviation of zero. This doesn't all fall on Auda, however, as this was a collaborative crash-into-the-mountain effort. The Pirates took 23 three-point attempts and netted just 5 for an anemic 21%. Going into this game sans Pope, I figured it would be a launch 'n pray campaign and, to be frank, had Haralds Karlis not gone 1-8 from deep, this game could have been a lot closer. In fact, of the 8 total three-point attempts by Karlis, 5 shots were clean looks. It's difficult to get too down on him due to his reduced role since Big East play commenced, but the reality is that you must shoot a minimum of 30% if you're firing at such high volume from deep.
Finally, and there's really no need to belabor this point, but Jordan Theodore and Shabazz Napier got into it with roughly 3 1/2 minutes remaining in a game that was purely academic at that point. Good hard play but certainly some frustration from JT and a bit of taunting from Napier. However, Coach Willard got T'd up and tossed subsequent to that skirmish. I'm not certain what the definitive reason was (verbal lashing directed at the officials, I presume?) for the ejection but one thing is for certain, there will be fallout from this. Post game, Coach Willard was quoted as saying, "I'm the only coach that has white guys who can't shoot." On a myriad of levels, I take issue with this statement. I find it offensive, degrading and not in the least bit humorous or constructive. I'm fairly certain I can speak for the Seton Hall Basketball community when I say that I'm just as frustrated and disappointed with this 6 game skid and the 180 degree turn this season has taken as the next fan, but we must hold ourselves to a higher standard in dealing with these adverse times. We represent an institution of higher education, and Coach Willard's statement is the inverse of an educated one, and one that is antithetical to any didactic practice, progressive or otherwise.
As always, and perhaps more than ever this season, HAZARD ZET FORWARD!