▪ Most of Seton Hall’s offense comes from its backcourt. Isaiah Whitehead, Sterling Gibbs, Jaren Sina and Khadeen Carrington are either scoring or setting up scorers, with Gibbs and Whitehead leading the Pirates in shots and scoring. Whitehead, a McDonald’s All-American, is getting a lot of attention, especially after scoring 25 points in Saturday’s rout of Rutgers.
“Gibbs had a career high against us,” Illinois State coach Dan Muller said. “He probably hit five shots outside of 25 feet against us. They were actually better in person, for me, than they were on tape. They’re young, but their freshmen play with great maturity and physicality.”
Seton Hall hasn’t shown many weaknesses. The Pirates did commit 22 turnovers against Illinois State and Whitehead had six of those. Gibbs, a junior, scorched the Redbirds for 40 points, making 7 of 9 threes and all 13 of his free throws, in an 84-80 win in the Paradise Jam last month. Sina, a sophomore, had 11 points, two assists and two turnovers.
“Their key, honestly, is their two older guards,” Muller said. “Sina and Gibbs could, in my opinion, control the emotional part of the game and help those freshmen.”
▪ The Pirates are averaging 12.9 offensive rebounds, led by freshman Angel Delgado. He averages 10.1 rebounds and is averaging 11 points, 10.2 rebounds over the past three games while making 15 of 18 shots. The Shockers can’t afford another foul-shortened game by senior Darius Carter.
▪ Seton Hall has eight freshmen, all of whom will play their first college road game. It has three seniors, two of whom play little.
▪ WSU won the only previous meeting, a landmark for the Shockers for two important reasons. In 2006, Sean Ogirri scored 23 points and made 6 of 10 three-pointers in an 86-66 NCAA Tournament win. WSU won its first NCAA game since 1981 and advanced to play Tennessee, a team that slipped past Gregg Marshall-coached Winthrop in Greensboro, N.C. It was that effort by Winthrop that helped plant Marshall’s name in the mind of then-athletic director Jim Schaus.
▪ The Big East is off to a great start and setting the standard for non-football conferences, not surprisingly. With four games on Tuesday, it is 62-16 against NCAA Division I opponents with a 5-8 record against the top 50. Losses to Brown (Providence) and Nebraska-Omaha (Marquette) aren’t a big problem when everybody else is winning big.
The Wichita Eagle: Shockers freshman Rauno Nurger shows his shooting after an absence.
NJ.com: How will the Pirates handle Koch Arena?
Daily Record: Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard predicts a punch from the Shockers.
Zagsblog: Pirates can prove they are Big East contenders.