Preview: Duke (1-0) vs. Seton Hall (1-0)

Duke opens the second round of the preseason NIT hosting the Seton Hall Pirates, who defeated Manhattan 68-52 on Monday night to advance to Cameron. The Blue Devils and Pirates last met in the second round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament where Duke won 90-62. Will a similar storyline develop? TDD previews the match up.

Program Vitals
Conference: Big East
Nickname: Pirates
Colors: Navy Blue & White
Head Coach: Louis Orr (5th year)
Career Record at SHU: 62-57
Last Year: 12-16 (4-12, Big East)

Projected Starters: 
   Donald Copeland (5-10, 173, Sr.)  - 4.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg
   Jamar Nutter (6-2, 205, Jr.) – 17.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
   Stan Gaines (6-7, 245, Jr.) – 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg
   Kelly Witney (6-8, 245, Sr.) – 25.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 bpg
   Marcus Cousin  (6-10, 240, So.) – 0.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg

Key Reserves: 
   Brian Laing  (6-5, 220, So.) – 4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
   John Garcia  (6-9 235, Fr.) – 0.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
   Grant Bilmeier  (6-10, 255, Jr.) – 1.0 bpg

Notable:

- The Blue Devils and Pirates are familiar with one another in NCAA Tournament action, having faced one another three times in the tournament. In 1989, Seton Hall eliminated Duke, 95-78, in the Final Four in Seattle. Duke defeated Seton Hall, 81-69, in the East Regional semifinal en route to its second consecutive national championship in 1992. In 2004 Duke rolled over the Pirates 90-62 in the second round of the East Regional.

- Last season the Pirates went 12-16 overall and 4-12 in the Big East Conference. They were defeated in the opening round of the conference tournament by Georgetown. The result was a disappointing for a team coming off an unexpected surge to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

- Coach Orr lost a lot in the offseason as guard John Allen (1,400 career points) and former Duke reserve forward Andre Sweet graduated while scoring guard J.R. Morris inexplicably declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft and signed with an agent – he went undrafted.

- The Pirates do have three starters returning from last year's team led by Kevin Whitney, the team's leading scorer (11.9 PPG) and rebounder (6.3 RPG). Other starters back include big man Grant Billmeier (3.9 and 3.4) and point guard Donald Copeland (6.9 PPG, 2.4 APG).

- Minnesota frontcourt transfer Stan Gaines averaged nearly six points and four rebounds for the Gophers in 2004. One time high major sleeper Mani Messy is also on the roster, but has yet to take a leap forward in his development. Another transfer, Mike Pilgram (played at Cincincatti) is expected to contribute this season as well.

- The NCAA will try out a few experimental rules as per usual during its early-season tournaments. These changes will affect the Terriers only as far as they advance in the NIT and will not apply to the remainder of the season: The three-point line will be extended to 20'9", 12 inches longer than the standard 19'9". The free-throw lane will be extended by one foot on each side, increasing from 12' to a total of 14'. A restricted arc will be in place extending as a 3' radius from under the basket. Defenders standing in this arc cannot draw charges.

- With the opening round victory over Boston University, the Blue Devils improved to 15-2 in the Preseason NIT all time – including championships in 1985 and 2001.

- Josh McRoberts became just the second Duke freshman to record 10 or more rebounds in his first game ... Jason Williams posted 10 boards in his debut versus Stanford on 11/11/99.

- Duke has won 88 of its last 90 games against unranked non-conference opponents at home. Seton Hall enters this game unranked. The Blue Devils are 112-6 in their last 118 games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, a winning percentage of .949.

- J.J. Redick's 19 points against the Terriers increased his career total to 1,824, and he continues to rank 15th on Duke career scoring chart ... Redick is 60 points shy of Jeff Mullins, who scored 1,884 from 1962-64


The Devils Den Top Stories