One of the most exciting times during a Seton Hall Basketball off-season is the unveiling of the annual non-conference schedule. Some of the match-ups are already public knowledge (UMKC, LSU, Washington, Ohio State/URI, Wake Forest, Longwood) and some aren't. No matter what, seeing a full non-conference slate on the Seton Hall Athletics website is always a sign that the season is inching closer. Here's how this season's schedule shapes up:
Friday, Nov. 9: University of Missouri-Kansas City (Walsh Gym, South Orange)
Monday, Nov. 12: Norfolk State (Prudential Center, Newark -- Naismith Hall of Fame Tip Off)
Saturday, Nov. 17: vs. Washington at Mohegan Sun (Naismith Hall of Fame Tip Off)
Sunday, Nov. 18: vs. Rhode Island/Ohio State at Mohegan Sun (Naismith Hall of Fame Tip Off)
Wednesday, Nov. 21: Maine (Prudential Center, Newark
Sunday, Nov. 25: St. Peter’s (Prudential Center, Newark)
Thursday, Nov. 29: At LSU (Pete Maravich Assembly Center -- Baton Rouge, LA) Big East-SEC Challenge)
Tuesday, Dec. 4: NJIT (Prudential Center, Newark)
Saturday, Dec. 8: At Wake Forest (Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC)
Saturday, Dec. 15: North Carolina A&T (Prudential Center, Newark)
Saturday, Dec. 22: at LIU (Barclays Center, Brooklyn)
Wednesday, Dec. 19: Longwood (Prudential Center, Newark)
Friday, Dec. 28: Stony Brook (Prudential Center, Newark)
Home games are emboldened.
For a comprehensive breakdown of the 2012-13 non-conference schedule, follow the jump.
Being blunt, the non-conference schedule does absolute nothing to entice Seton Hall fans to become first time season ticket holders and acts as a catalyst towards preventing renewals. When Stony Brook, no offense to them, as they nearly (and probably should have) knocked the Pirates out of the last season's NIT, is clearly your toughest home game, there is going to be criticism.
- The usual local cupcakes NJIT and St. Peter's are on the platter as they are probably very easy (logistically) programs to schedule.
- The Longwood Lancers appear on the schedule for the third straight season and hopefully for the last time as a home-away-home two-for-one deal wraps itself up.
- North Carolina A&T, UMKC and Maine are all newcomers to the non-conference schedule but the trio look to be nothing more than lose-lose games as far as RPI & SOS are concerned.
On the positive side of things, the Pirates have slapped together a rather challenging away from home schedule that hinges on their performance in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip Off. Despite upsetting Missouri in the NCAA, I don't see Norfolk State giving Seton Hall any trouble at the Rock as the Spartans lose their top two scorers in Chris McEachin (12.8) and 6'10'' Kyle O'Quinn (15.9PPG). The Pirates are guarenteed a first round game against the Washington Huskies and will play either Rhode Island or Ohio State in the second round, depending on results.
Rolling along, LSU, Wake Forest and Long Island will all prove to be tough away from home match-ups, even if they aren't exactly the same as playing Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Playing with an inexperienced point guard (Wilson, Maayan, Gibbs?) on the road will be an interesting wild card throughout this upcoming campaign. If Seton Hall is upset by Long Island, which isn't a long shot, at least some of us will have gotten to see the brand spanking new Barclays Center, right?
Lastly, Seton Hall is playing their first regular season game at Walsh Gymnasium since Norfolk State (small world isn't it?) in December of 2000. Forget all the season ticket holder logistics (half of them don't show up anyway) and think of it this way: would the players, who matter the most in this equation, rather play in a sold out Walsh Gym or a sparsely attended home opener at the Prudential Center that will resemble a game at the Meadowlands between Seton Hall and Miami circa 2002? That question answers itself. I like this move.
Before diving into RPI projections, its important to note that every home game is a must win -- a loss would be crippling for Seton Hall's RPI and potential NCAA tournament chances. While the home schedule provides a high success rate for padding the win column, any failures would be amplified.
UMKC - The Kangaroos (seriously, look it up) finished 10-21 last season with an RPI of 264 and lost their top scorer in Reggie Chamberlain (17.3PPG). Its safe to say that UMKC will have an RPI no better than 250.
Norfolk State - As stated earlier, the Spartans lose their top two scorers but do return some talent from a team that finished 129th in RPI. I see Rutgers' arch-rival on the gridiron finishing somewhere in the 100s in RPI.
- A fellow NIT team, the Huskies lost a boatload of talent when leading scorer Terrence Ross
(16.4PG) and runner up Tony Wroten
(16.0PPG) declared for the 2012 NBA Draft. With only Mark McLaughlin
(JUCO SG) signed in the Class of 2012, the Huskies have a lot of talent to make up for. Despite what is expected to be a less successful season than last, I still see Washington breaking the Top 100 in RPI -- they finished 68th last campaign.
Maine - The Black Bears struggled last season (12-17) and things won't get much easier after they lost two of their top four scorers to graduation. A final RPI of 282 looks to remain even or decline this season.
St. Peter's - The Peacocks finished an abysmal 5-26 last season, including a 63-54 loss at the hands of Seton Hall. On the bright side, head coach John Dunne loses no one of note from his squad. I can foresee SPC improving on last season's 306 RPI, but not by much.
- The Tigers lost Ralston Turner
(9.1 PPG, transfer), Justin Hamilton (12.9PPG, NBA Draft) and Storm Warren
(8.2PPG, graduation) from last year's team while they added a five man recruiting class. After posting an 18-15 record and an RPI of 81, I see the Tigers remaining somewhere in the same vicinity (60-120).
- Aside from losing leading scorer Isaiah Wilkerson
(16.2PPG) to graduation, the Highlanders lose no one of significance. After finishing with an RPI of 300 last time around the block, expect more of the same from the Highlanders (275-325).
- The Demon Deacons lost a trio of players to the transfer market (Tony Chennault
- 9PPG, Carson Desrosiers
- 4.8PPG & 4.2RPG, Anthony Fields
(ex-Seton Hall target) - 1PPG) and Nikita Mescheriakov
8PPG to graduation. To bolster the ranks, Jeff Bzdelik signed an impressive seven man class, lead by Codi Miller-McIntyre and former Seton Hall target Arnaud Moto. After finishing a modest 187th in RPI last season, a lot depends on how quickly the freshman class can adapt to collegiate ball and support C.J. Harris
and Travis McKie
. Despite losing a handful of role players, I think Wake Forest has a real shot at cracking the Top 100.
North Carolina A&T
- The Aggies are fresh off of a 12-20 season in the MEAC (alongside Norfolk State) which was good enough for 280th in RPI. If that didn't make you cringe, NC A&T lost Nic Simpson
(11.4PPG) and Marc Hill
(10.5PPG) to graduation. Yes, you guessed it, they were the Aggies two leading scorers. Despite sporting a non-existent 2012 recruiting class, NC A&T will have a senior laden team (five players of significance), which has to count for something, right? A sub-300 RPI finish seems likely.
Long Island - I've been tooting the Blackbirds' horn for the last season and a half and I won't stop now. Long Island lost no one of significance from their roster but did lose one important person: head coach Jim Ferry, to Duquesne. On the recruiting front, new head coach Jack Perri added D.J. Griggs as the lone member of the Class of 2012. Griggs was offered by the likes of Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. LIU's 78th finish in RPI will most certainly be improved upon.
- What is this, Groundhog Day? As previously discussed, this season's meeting with the Lancers is the last of this "series". Fortunately (and unfortunately) for the Pirates, Antwan Carter
(19.4PPG, 20 vs Seton Hall), Jan van der Kooij (6.9PPG, 19 vs Seton Hall), Martiz Washington
(11.3PPG, 0 vs Seton Hall) and Jeremiah Bowman
(13.5PPG, 7 vs Seton Hall) have all graduated from Longwood. While the departures will make this season's match-up even more of a (cup)cakewalk, it will also ensure Longwood's cellar-dwelling 331st RPI won't improve by much this season.
- And finally, the juggernaut of Seton Hall's home non-conference slate. If you followed me on Twitter around the time of Seton Hall's NIT showdown with the Seawolves this spring, you might have thought I was rooting against the Pirates (I kind of was!) because of Stony Brook's senior point guard Bryan Dougher. This time around, that is no longer the case. While Seawolve mainstays such as Dougher (13.2PPG), Dallis Joyner
(8.8PPG, 6.5RPG), Danny Carter
(11.2MPG) and Al Rapier
(7.9PPG) have graduated, Steve Pikiell still has a strong nucleus of talent to work with. Dave Coley
and Tommy Brenton
(great rebounder) will lead the attack as upperclassmen and freshman Jameel Warney of Roselle Catholic HS (NJ) will make a huge impact, perhaps even freshman of the year in the America East. Stony Brook's RPI (148) was middle of the pack last season and should remain there.
RPI 1-50 (Great schedule):
RPI 51-100 (Good): Washington, LSU, Wake Forest, Long Island
RPI 101-200 (Neutral): Norfolk State, Stony Brook
RPI 200-250 (Bad):
RPI 251+ (Terrible): UMKC, Maine, St. Peter's, NJIT, North Carolina A&T, Longwood
Conclusion: As scary as it sounds, Long Island might have the best chance of being a Top 50 RPI opponent as I don't see Washington as a squad with enough firepower to overcome the talent they have lost. Don't sleep on Wake Forest though, they might surprise a few people with that Melvyn Oliver sized freshman class as a wildcard. No matter what, it looks like the six 250+ RPI schedules (projected, of course) might drag this non-conference schedule down. While I don't see the final strength of schedule rating to turn out Cincinnati bad (300+, although they have a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule this season), it won't be a head turner for the right reasons come Selection Sunday if the Pirates happen to still be in the discussion.
Next On South Orange Juice:
- Weekly Recruiting Roundup (Tomorrow afternoon)
- An exclusive interview that you won't want to miss (Monday morning)
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