Avast ye maties - its the Seton Hall Pirates...
Norwestern's next opponent just might be tougher than they look on the surface. They're 4-2, with losses to Richmond [77-71] and Texas [70-62]. Both games weren't close, but they weren't blowouts either.
Their wins include a road trip to Rhode Island, but they've handled the rest of their opponents pretty easily. NU lost to Seton Hall the last time we played, back the Evan Eschmeyer days.
Seton Hall is coached by Luis Orr, a Syracuse grad who has some NBA experience with Indiana and the Knicks. He's been at the helm of the "Pirate Ship" for 4 years, since April, 2001.
Last year the Pirates made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA sporting a 21-10 record. Their first win in the tourney was over Arizona.
Orr is characterized as a teacher, building a family atmosphere around his program. It appears to be working.
Unfortunately, one of the kids left home.
Missing this year is former guard Andre Barrett, now in Houston. Without Barrett, Seton Hall seems to have a problem breaking a press. Recent opponent St. Francis used a press to come within 1 point of beating the Pirates at home before their break.
In the words of the St. Francis coach, Ron Ganulin, "They looked uncomfortable against pressure. It didn't look like they attacked it comfortably." [--in the Star Ledger]
You have to figure that NU's coaches have watched that video, and reserve center Grant Billmeier is on record about the team having to figure out the press. However, you know that if Seton Hall starts to run, Bill Carmody's Wildcats will press.
So, what to expect from these New Jersey Pirates?
First off, Junior Center/Forward Kelly Whitney [6-8] will be in the middle of the action. He's the Pirates leading scorer [15.7 points per game with a 53% shooting average], top rebounder [8 per game], and has 7 blocks.
He was also the SHU Athlete of the Week, he'll be the man in the middle all afternoon.
But the Wildcats will also have to control the 3 other starters who also average double figures:
John Allen [right] appears to be one of the guys the Pirates turned to to break the press...He was the hero of the St. Francis game with a free throw and a steal to finish off the win. His 5+ rebounds a game, and 25 assists makes him another guy for the Cats to watch.
- #4 J. R. Morris - 6-6 Junior Guard/ Forward 12.3 ppg
- # 32 John Allen - 6-5 Senior Guard/Forward 12.0 ppg
- #33 Andre Sweet - 6-6 Senior Forward 11.0 ppg
But J. R. Morris is the leader in steals  and in 3 point shooting. John Allen is right behind Whitney in rebounds, in fact all three of the starting Guard/Forwards average around 5.5 rebounds per game to go along with their double figure shooting.
The Wildcat defense will have their work cut out Saturday afternoon.
One last thing - Fr Guard Justin Cerasoli [left - from West Aurora], Jr. Forward Stan Gaines [Providence St.] and Jr. Center Kelly Whitney [Marshall] are all from the Chicago area. In addition, Jr. Guard J.R. Morris [Washington] is from Milwaukee. I'd expect a pretty good contingent of local fans cheering for the Pirates
Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:
|The Big Gun||#1 Kelly Whitney||15.7 points per game|
|Deadeye Dick||#1 Kelly Whitney [again]+||Shooting 34 of 64 or .531|
|The Bomber||#4 J. R. Morris*||33 attempts from the arc - is only 12 of 33 [.394]|
|Off the Boards||#1 Kelly Whitney [yet again]||8.0 rebounds per game - 36 of his 48 on the defense|
|Charity Stripe||#10 Donald Copeland||Is 4 of 4 from the line, but...**|
|Pickpocket||#4 J.R. Morris||has 19 steals.|
|Super Sub||#20 Justin Cerasoli||16.3 minutes off the bench, averages 4.3 ppg|
|Helping Hands||#32 John Allen||Leads the Pirates with 24 assists.|
+ Sub Brian Lang hits 67% of his shots.
* Starter Donald Copeland is right behind with 26 atempts [12 of 26 .462]
** All of the Pirates are shooting above 70% FTs except for Whitney.
|Forward||#32 John Allen [Sr 6-5]
#33 Andre Sweet [Sr 6-6]
|Center||#1 Kelly Whitney [Jr 6-8]||15.7||8.0|
|Guard||#10 Donald Copeland [Jr 5-10]
#4 J. R. Morris [Jr 6-6]
This is a pretty experienced team - all seniors and juniors, but once
they start to sub, its all sophs and frosh.
Off the Bench
[Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:
|Center||#41 Grant Billmeier [So 6-10]||12.0||2.5||2.0|
|Guard||# 20 Justin Cerasoli [Fr 6-5]
#2 Jamar Nutter [So 6-2]
The Pirates get 58 of their average 66.8 points from their starters. They've held their opponents to 63.3 points per game. The bench also doesn't seem to rebound much, but that's probably due to the limited minutes the subs play.
Challenges for the Wildcats
- Really play defense - there are four shooters on Seton Hall who can score. We can't give them the shots
- Use our height advantage - while the Hall starts a bunch of 6-6 players, NU can put out a lineup that is 3 or 4 inches higher.
- Don't let those guards shoot over the D - they've watched the DePaul tape.
- We've got to score - and not necessarily in bunches.
- finally, Don't let their Chicago Fans get going - we're missing the Wild Bunch - our students. Our fans have to get loud and stay loud.
Tip off is at 1 PM Wildcat time at NU's Home Court - Welsh Ryan.
TV: None this week
Radio: WGN with Dave [Mr. Wildcat] Eanet and Shon [Big Cat] Morris.
Gametracker: NU Sports,
Beat 'em All!
|Talk about it on the Purple Boards