Good Morning Basketball People:
It will be a cold day in early July when Seton Hall beats the defending national champs in college basketball! Well, it is not July but it sure was cold outside as a red hot Seton Hall Team beat The University of Connecticut at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ last night. Interesting how much many of us take senior leadership and talent for granted.
Lets look at expectations going into the 2011-2012 college basketball season. We were all ready for sell outs at the garden. We were ready for Rutgers to emerge as a team with great potential as opposed to that team that gets up for one or two games a year at The RAC against better opponents. We were also ready for Seton Hall to be so-so this season with almost no chance of a post season birth. In fact in the scheme of things Seton Hall looked like the least glamourous and exciting of the 3 area Big East programs.
Well, sellouts at the Garden, as in Madison Square Garden has not happened and I doubt with the exception of the Big East Tournament they will occur. More on this later! Rutgers has improved and has very good young talent and the future seems very bright. However at this time Rutgers is still that team that beats a much better team during the season at the RAC and everyone in New Brunswick and Piscataway celebrates for a night. But again the future is bright even if the Arena is not.
Back to Seton Hall. No need to provide the final score or individual statistics because they are all over the place. But what I will say is the game was FANTASTIC for the home team who played with purpose and poise. Seton Hall might just have turned the corner by beating UConn last night in front of 9000 plus fans, which is really not a great turnout though they have a curtain to make the arena a small 10,000 seat facility. I just think people are missing out on great events when Seton Hall takes the court in Newark. The UConn, St. Johns, and Rutgers games when played at The Prudential Center should have no fewer than 15,000 people in attendance.
Well 9000 plus people saw a great Pirate effort last night and Herb Pope introduced himself to Andre Drummond in a way Mr. Drummond will never forget. Does anyone actually believe Andre Drummond did not know who Herb Pope was prior to the game? Please! Not unless he lives in a facility with no Radio, TV, or Newspapers and is only allowed out right before the games he plays. Seton Hall is playing great basketball and making alot of people kick themselves for doubting they would be a good team up to this point. Again I say if a team can hold serve and not be upset by teams they should beat, the record at the end of the season should be decent and satisfying. This is what SHU has done. They have one unexpected loss and another that everyone can understand. Now the trick is to win the next few games which are extremely possible.
St. Johns on the other hand seems to be going nowhere very quickly. I know folks are going to hate me for saying this but they really should be better even with the short roster. I also will be hated for this statement as well. What is up with the grungy look with no neck ties and sneakers with suits? It is not like they are a winning streak and being superstitious! All they need to do now is not shave or bath to complete the look we see on TV. Come on where is the polish of New York City's Team? I wonder if this is what people expected when Steve Lavin was hired? I wonder if the players they have expected this? I wonder if all the guys responsible for these kids attending St. Johns expected a season like this?
I still remember St. Johns with the great teams selling out Madison Square Garden on a regular basis. St. Johns choose who would attend as opposed to Kids choosing them. The talent is certainly there, although the roster is short. I have to wonder and brace myself for interesting news during the off season. Will any of these kids leave? Will the coaches stay? Will they ever be what they were in years past. 9000 at The Garden against Louisville and they get smacked around at that. Lastly I remember many saying playing for St. Johns was like playing for the Knicks in regard to groupies if you know what I mean. I would bet the locker room area is nowhere as exciting as it was years ago.
Well, thats it for today although I do need to clarify a few things. When I discuss FDU it is not personal or against the coach. It is about the potential of an athletic program not being fully realized. Guy will never be in position to win without the tools and support necessary. Fordham beating Harvard was a great win for a good guy and wonderful academic institution. Hofstra is doing a great job recruiting and with the people sitting out will be a serious challenger for the post season next year. Hofstra also has the best and most experienced group of Assistant Coaches in the Entire United States of America. Watch out! I hear from many people that King Rice will get it done at Monmouth and they will be a top tier mid major program just as Delaware was under Mike Brey. Speaking of Delaware what is happening there? Still remember them getting 5000 fans at every game to go along with the 25000 for the D1A football games. Well, football still draws but when I see pictures of the arena it looks empty and sad! Will they make a change?
Tomorrow I will post my top NJ HS Teams again as well as a new top 10 boys basketball list for NJ.