Opening Night

Finally the time has come for the return of Seton Hall University basketball. Tonight the Pirates open up the 2017-18 season by taking on the Knights of Farleigh Dickinson. Seton Hall opens the year ranked #23 in the country.

Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, and Angel Delgado form a trio of seniors that the Hall hopes to ride deep into March this year. Expectations are sky high for the Pirates for the first time in over a decade.

Tonight expect to see the Hall roll with a deep lineup featuring newcomers Myles Cale, Jordan Walker and Sandro Mamukelashvili. The Pirates will look to kick off non-conference play on a good note against a team they have had a fair amount of success against in the past.

You can catch the game tonight on FS2 at 6:30. As always, Hazard Zet Forward.

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Inside The Enemy Ship: Providence Friars – Home Edition

Creepiest. Mascot. Ever.

Welcome to the latest edition of Inside The Enemy Ship, featuring recurring guest on the site, Kevin McNamara from The Providence Journal! He was kind enough to answer some questions about the upcoming game!

BBA: What do you think of the team’s 14-10? Does it accurately reflect the team?
McNamara: They let two games slip away – DePaul, St. John’s – and being 16-8 would be a major difference right now.

BBA: Who do you consider Providence’s biggest Big East rival?
McNamara:

BBA: What do you think of the Secondary Mascot concept that Providence is trying?
McNamara: I’ve given it 1.5 seconds of thought.

BBA: After their exit against Villanova in the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament last year, what do you see them doing this BET?
McNamara: If they can reach the semis for the 4th year in a row, they should hold a parade in Downtown Providence.

BBA: Record aside, who do you think is the worst team in the Big East?
McNamara: DePaul, but they’re getting better.

BBA: Who do you consider the biggest challenge to Nova in the Big East this season? What rank do you see them ending up nationally by season’s end?
McNamara: Butler is the 2nd best team. Nova will remain top 5, really benefit by injuries to Edmund Sumner (X) and Maurice Watson (Creighton).

BBA: Earlier this season, Cartwright and Bullock were both major reasons Seton Hall lost the first match up between these two teams earlier this year. Are they the two players Seton Hall should be most worried about again?
McNamara: For sure. Both must play well for Providence to go for the sweep.

BBA: What Pirates do you think the Friars should be most worried about?
McNamara: The Big Three: Delgado-Carrington-Rodriguez.

BBA: Which teams from the Big East will ultimately end up making the NCAA tournament?
McNamara: Villanova, Butler, Creighton, Xavier for sure. I can see 2 more with Marquette, PC and Seton Hall still holding chances

BBA: Final Score Prediction for the upcoming game?
McNamara: Seton Hall 72 Providence 67

Thanks again to Mr. McNamara for taking the time to talk with us! Check him out on twitter @KevinMcNamara33 and online here. These two teams tip off tonight at 8:30 from the Rock, and for those who can’t be there, you can catch it on FS1. Seton Hall hopes to remain in and around the NCAA bubble with a win, as Angel Delgado looks to solidify the title of the nation’s top rebounder! As always, Hazard Zet Forward

Pirate Talk with Bill Olshefski

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Olshefski, a basketball super fan, who has worked in my mother’s office for as long as she has been there. Once he learned that her son (me), went to Seton Hall, for years he would always talk to her about the games, watching as many as he could, and telling her what the team did well and what they could have done better. Since he is retiring very shortly, I realized after all these years, I needed to meet this man who I have heard so many good things about. The day after a rough loss to Creighton, I was really interested in what he had to say about the game.

When I walked into the school administration building where my mother works, she said I’ll be able to find Bill by listening for him singing or whistling, and she was absolutely right. From the moment I stepped in the building, even over the sounds of the industrial vacuum cleaner, I hear Bill singing.

After I introduced myself and we sat down for this interview in one of the break rooms, before I started asking questions, in a surprise change of events, he actually had questions for me, quizzing me on the ins and outs of not just Seton Hall basketball, but the school as a whole, and while I did pretty well, he did stump me on how many acres Seton Hall’s campus is (for the record, it’s 58). Then, he had a more interesting question: “Who the heck is Madison Jones?”. When I told him he was a transfer from Wake Forest he said, very bluntly and with a laugh “well, he should have stayed there.” Immediately after talking to him, you can tell how much he loves this game.

What consistently amazed me in talking to Bill was all the amazing stories throughout different eras of basketball that he has from simply being in the right place at the right time. An avid basketball player through his Junior year at King’s College, he walked on the team knowing he wasn’t going to get much playing time but did simply to prove to everyone that he really wanted to make the team, which he did. “I think I got in about maybe four games, but I had a lot of fun let me tell ya. We had a great team that year, we were 26 and 4 and won the league that year. One guy averaged more than 30 points a game!” It became apparent that when it came to basketball, there was little that Bill didn’t remember. Effortlessly bringing up Angel Delgado’s stat line from his dominant game against Rutgers (19 points, 16 rebounds) and Carrington’s Garden State Hardwood Classic MVP trophy, to accurately predicting that Delgado will lead the nation in rebounds per game (which he does after last night’s 20 rebound effort last night against #11 Butler, averaging 12.9), I was consistently amazed by the sheer amount of knowledge that he had and wanted to share. I was more than happy to listen. Back when the Eastern Basketball League was still around, he would routinely go to Wilkes-Barre Baron games to see famous Kentucky center Bill Spivey, who despite his amazing talent, never made it into the NBA because of an alleged point-shaving scandal, but according to Bill “that boy could play. I used to love watching him and Richie Gaines (a Seton Hall alum, as I later found out). You couldn’t do anything against him beneath the board, he was so big he’d just push you out of the way.” This to me highlights his basketball fandom. It didn’t matter what level, or who was playing, he would take any chance he could to see the sport that he loved.

Much like many of the Seton Hall fans, he has been fed up with the officiating this year. “These guys are hired to tell the truth,” Bill said taking a more serious tone than almost any other part of the interview. “The issue is that it is becoming rarer that they actually are. Villanova gets every call available, but they should never change the rules just because the team is someone.”

Of all of Bill’s stories, the most interesting story (in my opinion) about his time with Hall of Famer (and Villanova legend), George Raveling. When Bill was in high school, they were both regularly selected to their division’s “all-star” games. “I would tell him ‘George, I’m getting tired of seeing you! Every game I play, you’re there!’ I played four years against him, and God was he good. You could never, ever beat him. One time he told me when we were playing on the same team ‘look Bill, when we get out there, give me the ball and we’ll win this game.’ I looked at him like he was crazy since we we’re down 15 at the half and the other side was really good too. But I gave him the ball anyway, and wow, every shot fell into the net. I never doubted him after that.”

In what was an amazing stroke of fortune a week or so after I talked to Bill, Raveling was actually interviewed during the Seton Hall – Villanova game on MLK day. For those who are unaware, this is exceptionally special since Raveling was on the stage with Martin Luther King Jr. as he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and to this day still has the typewritten original copy. Not only was the man a basketball legend but was there for such an important piece of civil rights history, and the fact that Bill had a personal relationship with him for so many years, speaking about him with the way someone talks about an old friend is something I won’t soon forget. “I should reach out to him,” Bill said. “I’d bet he’d remember me.”

His love for basketball extends well beyond just college basketball, and we spent a good portion of the 90 plus minutes we spent talking about the enjoyment he got from watching the Golden State Warriors. “Wow what a well-oiled machine that team is. Steve Kerr doesn’t even have to coach, that team can handle everything themselves from the court. They are unbelievable, it’s crazy. By the time I had finished brushing my teeth, they were up by 20 points on Toronto. Every time I turn on the TV they are up 30 or 40 points. Durant went there because he wants to win. Who could blame him. Watching them play is like watching a movie. The way they pass is like nothing I’ve ever seen.” Coming from Bill, someone who has seen so much basketball in his life, that really means something. “I love the Golden State Warriors. I love them. They don’t even need a coach. No matter what time of the day the game is on, I’m watching it.”

Beyond basketball, Bill shared so much from is 70 plus years of life experiences, giving advice from everything from tips on going on job interviews, to how to properly save for retirement, which included started putting $100 from each of your paychecks into a savings account. We talked about Carli Lloyd and her new book, our mutual love for Jason Kidd, what we thought about Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity”, and how his son-in-law and I both work for Lockheed Martin. He has the kind personality of someone who you can talk to about literally anything.

At the end of the interview, one of my final questions “was what is your favorite Seton Hall memory?” and without hesitation he said, grinning ear to ear, “beating Villanova. It was huge. It was huge, and people didn’t realize just how huge it was at the time. Not only for the conference but as far as enrollment and recruiting are concerned, it was huge. I couldn’t believe it was happening, and then suddenly, boom! The Big East is a tough conference, but this proved that so many of those teams have the ability to beat anyone in the country.” With four, soon to be five nationally ranked teams, it looks like he was dead on, again.

We could have kept talking for hours on end, but he had so generously given me about 90 minutes of his time, so after a tremendous interview, I thanked him for his time and headed to leave. “One more thing,” he said with a smile on his face as I was headed to the door; he lifts his hoodie up to reveal a Seton Hall basketball t-shirt. There is no doubt that this guy loved the game, and it was my genuine pleasure taking the time and listening to everything he had to say. A big thank you to Bill, and best of luck in your retirement. I hope you find many more stories to share.

Inside The Enemy Ship: Butler Bulldogs – Home Edition

A fine career.

Welcome to the the latest edition of Inside the Enemy Ship, your exclusive look into the upcoming Seton Hall game through the lenses on the opponnet! This time, we have had the pleasure of talking to Grant Anschuetz! Check below for what he thinks about the upcoming game! [EDITOR’S NOTE: The following interview took place before #1 Villanova was upset by Marquette late last night, hence why they are referred to as undefeated in the interview]

BBA: What do you think of the team’s 17-3 record and #11 national ranking? Does it accurately reflect the team?
Anschuetz: Overall, I would say it does accurately reflect this team. Butler has proven time and time again this year they can win against solid opponents. They are 5-1 against ranked teams this year, including wins over Arizona and Villanova.

BBA: How did it feel going into overtime against DePaul after two straight wins?
Anschuetz: That game was the epitome of the saying that there are no off games in a conference like the Big East. The Bulldogs got off to such a poor start in the first half that I think there was a feeling of relief to make it to overtime and have a fresh five minutes after trailing for the majority of the game.

BBA: Who do you consider Butler’s biggest Big East rival?
Anschuetz: To me, Butler’s biggest Big East rival is Xavier. That answer is solely based off of how hostile the arena becomes whenever those two teams hit the floor, especially between fans.

BBA: Do you think the Big East has been a good home for Butler compared to the Horizon League?
Anschuetz: Yes. Although the change has led to tougher competition, the national exposure and ability to attract higher ranked recruits is a positive thing for the program.

BBA: How far do you now expect Butler to go into the NCAA Tournament?
Anschuetz: In this year’s NCAA Tournament, I believe Butler can realistically make it to the Elite Eight. With that being said, based on 2010-2011, a trip to the National Championship is not out of the question.

BBA: After last season’s early exit during the Big East tournament, what do you see the Bulldogs doing this year?
Anschuetz: I could see Butler making it at least one more round deeper into the Big East tournament. It is always hard to predict how hot a team is going to be down the stretch, but they should make it farther than last year.

BBA: Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham played huge roles in making sure that Butler was the only Big East team that Seton Hall didn’t beat last season. Who is going to fill their roles?
Anschuetz: Kelan Martin, Kamar Baldwin and Kethan Savage have all performed well for the Bulldogs as of late. Senior Andrew Chrabascz is a crafty player down low and is also a great facilitator.

BBA: Which player should the Seton Hall Pirates be the most worried about meeting on the court? Why?
Anschuetz: The Pirates should be most worried about Kamar Baldwin. Specifically, the guards for Seton Hall because Baldwin is known for making big steals in big moments. His defensive presence is just as strong as his offensive presence.

BBA: Who do you consider the biggest challenge to Nova in the Big East this season? How about nationally? Butler is still the only team to beat them so far!*
Anschuetz:The biggest challenge to Villanova before the injury to Maurice Watson was Creighton. Now, I have to go with Butler since they are the highest ranked Big East team who has beaten them.

BBA: Which teams from the Big East will ultimately end up making the NCAA tournament?
Anschuetz: From the Big East, I believe Villanova, Butler, Creighton are basically locks at this point. Marquette, Xavier and Seton Hall all have a realistic chance to make it.

BBA: Final Score Prediction for the upcoming game?
Anschuetz: Final Score Prediction = Butler 72 Seton Hall 65

Once again, thanks to our new friend Grant Anschuetz for taking the time to talk to us! He can be found on twitter @Granschuetz and on Slump Sports!

Tip-off is tonight at The Rock at 8:30 PM! If you can’t make it there in person, it will be broadcast nationally on FS1. Be sure to check by later for the game recap, and as always Go Pirates and Hazard Zet Forward!