Big East Preview Part V: Key Questions for Seton Hall & Villanova

Posted by Justin Kundrat on November 7th, 2017

With the season just days away, Rush the Court’s Big East preview will tip off its coverage by posing season-defining key questions for each team. Today we tackle Seton Hall and Villanova.

#2 Seton Hall – Can Khadeen Carrington step into the lead guard role?

Khadeen Carrington steps back into the lead role this year for the Pirates. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Senior guard Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall’s leading scorer last year at 17.1 PPG, handled the point guard position only when Madison Jones was on the bench. He instead primarily played alongside Jones, with his offensive production compensating for a pass-first guard who offered more utility on the defensive end. With Jones having graduated last spring, the responsibilities of distributing the ball will now fall to Carrington. It’s worth noting right away that Seton Hall’s offense does not typically rely on heavy ball movement and crisp passing — the Pirates ranked 307th nationally in team assist rate last season. Instead, Willard tends to utilize isolation sets in mismatches while asking his elite rebounding forwards to generate additional scoring chances inside. And from purely a scoring standpoint, Carrington’s shift to the point guard position should be beneficial in that it allows for sharpshooting sophomore Myles Powell to start while leaving the frontcourt nucleus featuring Desi Rodriguez (15.7 PPG) and Angel Delgado (15.2 PPG) intact. From a ball security standpoint, however, there are question marks. Carrington’s assist-to-turnover ratio, while somewhat improved last season, is just 1.2 through a three-year collegiate career. Moreover, the Pirates posted an abysmal 19.5 percent turnover rate last season (245th nationally) that quite frankly cost them an NCAA Tournament victory against Arkansas. Seton Hall is a very interesting team this year, and it’ll be worth tracking both the performance of Carrington at the point and the ongoing development of freshman Jordan Walker, who has been generating some buzz as a suitable backup.

#1 Villanova – Will Omari Spellman live up to the hype?

Jay Wright once again has a tremendous team on deck. (Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports)

One of the biggest storylines last offseason for Villanova was the sudden ineligibility of freshman forward Omari Spellman, which came at a time when the Wildcats were already struggling with low post depth. His loss meant that the reigning champs had just a single player standing taller than 6’7″ on the roster. And while last season’s team adequately compensated for that weakness with exceptional help defense, it certainly showed up as a problem against Wisconsin in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. Rest assured, Spellman has shed his suit for a basketball jersey and will almost certainly be inserted into the Villanova starting lineup right out of the gate. In both practice and scrimmages, the 6’9″ forward has demonstrated an inside-out scoring ability with comfort converting baskets in the paint and pulling the trigger from deep. If he lives up to the hype of being a nightly double-double threat, some observers feel that he’ll be an NBA Draft early entry candidate after just one collegiate season. The ceiling has certainly been established. But as with almost any freshman who has yet to see live action, that remains a big if. If the Spellman who gives Jay Wright comfort as a reliable scorer and defensive rebounder shows up this winter, Villanova will undoubtedly find itself back in the National Championship conversation. However, if he struggles to adjust or finds himself frequently getting into foul trouble, the Wildcats might be just as susceptible to match-up difficulties. Wright’s current roster features countless scorers and athletic wings and forwards who can defend multiple positions, but Spellman’s expected post presence will be perhaps the most critical element in the Villanova storyline this season.

Justin Kundrat (175 Posts)

Villanova grad, patiently waiting another 10 years for season tickets. Follow Justin on twitter @JustinKundrat or email him at

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