Big East Key Questions: Seton Hall & St. John’s

Posted by Justin Kundrat on November 1st, 2019

Seton Hall: Is there enough roster improvement here to warrant a Top 25 ranking?

Myles Powell Dives Back Into Big East Play as a Preseason All-American (USA Today Images)

A recent article over at Three Man Weave highlighted an interesting conundrum: Decent teams with high minutes continuity from the previous season rarely make a big leap. Just two of the 47 data points containing teams with 80%+ minute continuity that finished the prior season between #41-#80 on KenPom finished in KenPom’s top 15 the next year. In other words, the most likely outcome for this year’s Seton Hall team is last season’s result, which would be a huge letdown for a fanbase thirsty for postseason success. Michael Nzei is the only meaningful contributor lost from last year’s squad, and the addition of 7’0″ transfer Ike Obiagu should go a long way in shoring up the Pirates’ lackadaisical post defense. But outside of that, the onus will likely fall on Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden to provide consistent scoring alongside the 23.1 PPG fire hose that is All-American Myles Powell. Cale alternated between a confident, slashing 6’6″ wing who could pour in 20+ points in numerous ways and a forgotten standstill shooter who couldn’t find his mark. Rhoden, on the other hand, is a rising 6’6″ sophomore who demonstrated his tremendous potential in flashes and has the makings of a legitimate breakout candidate with more minutes. Nonetheless, we know what last season’s Seton Hall team was capable of — the question is whether a corner can be turned this season. Let’s see if those players can make the leap.

St. John’s: Can newly minted head coach Mike Anderson bring some defense to Queens?

Mike Anderson Comes to Queens With Expectations Attached (USA Today Images)

After four short but painfully long seasons at St. John’s, the Chris Mullin experiment has come to an end. The Red Storm managed to find their way into the NCAA First Four last season after stumbling down the stretch, but between a number of professional declarations and graduations, fans would barely even recognize this roster. And maybe that’s a good thing considering that the Johnnies finished among the bottom 100 nationally in both defensive rebounding and foul rates every season that Mullin was the head coach. These deficiencies put a huge hole in a sometimes electric offense, but interestingly enough, Mike Anderson‘s defenses at Arkansas struggled in the same areas (but were compensated with elite turnover and block generating units). He is most well known for a “40 minutes of hell” press defense that pitted his team’s stamina in an effort to feast on unprepared or turnover-prone guards. It appears he will try to institute the same defensive principles at St. John’s, a team that returns just two meaningful contributors in Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa along with countless new transfers. It might take a season or two to figure things out, but there’s no shortage of length and athleticism that can play perfectly into Anderson’s hands if he can execute on it.

Justin Kundrat (168 Posts)

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


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