Welcome to the latest edition of “Inside the Enemy Ship”! Looking for their fifth straight Big East win, the Seton Hall Pirates take on the Butler Bulldogs at the Prudential Center, with both teams trying to strengthen their NCAA tournament resume. We had the pleasure of talking to Marisa Miller, the Sports Co-Editor for The Butler Collegian! Check bellow to see her thoughts on the upcoming game!
BBA: When the season started, where did you see the Bulldogs going?
MILLER: I saw the Bulldogs being a very serious threat in the Big East and highly ranked throughout the entire season. With the senior duo of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones, I thought that was a very fair prediction. But the rest of the talent in the Big East finally caught up to them after their spectacular non-conference run.
BBA: How hard was the tragic loss of former Bulldog, Andrew Smith, on the Butler community?
MILLER: The loss of Andrew Smith was incredibly hard on the entire Butler community from the players to the students to the staff. His influence was so instrumental in everything that the Butler Way stands for. The campus and community are both still heavily grieving his passing.
BBA: Do you think the Big East is a good fit for Butler?
MILLER: I definitely believe the Big East is a good fit for Butler. I consider the Big East conference to be a conference full of teams that are considered underdogs and with something to prove to the rest of the NCAA. Being an underdog is a situation in which Butler thrives, and I believe the competition in the Big East is only getting higher and better.
BBA: Butler was 11-1* headed into Big East play, but have struggled with conference games, with an overall 5-6 record. What was the cause of the rapid decline?
MILLER: I think Butler underestimated how good their Big East opponents were looking this year. The hard-fought wins against Cincinnati and Purdue were good starting off points for Butler as an insight to what they would face in the Big East. The amount of tragedy the team has faced as well off the court since Big East play began cannot be overlooked either as a possible cause and distraction as well.
BBA: Do you think, when push comes to shove, that Butler will make the NCAA Tournament?
MILLER: I do still believe Butler has a shot of making the NCAA Tournament. If they finish the Big East season only losing 2-3 more games and making a deep Big East Tournament run, I believe the selection committee will have to consider them. I currently see them at a play-in game as an 11 seed. But anywhere from seeds 9 to 12 is probable.
BBA: Which players should Seton Hall be most worried about meeting in the court?
MILLER: Seton Hall should be most worried about Kelan Martin as they prepare for Wednesday’s game. He is a very difficult match-up for every team in the Big East based on his size and scoring abilities all over the floor. Dunham and Jones should not be overlooked either. With Dunham’s long range and Jones’ ability to drive the paint, those match-ups will be tough as well.
BBA: Final Score Prediction?
MILLER: 73-68 BU
Once again, a big thanks to Ms. Miller for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to follow her on twitter @marisanmiller! Tip-off is tonight at 6:30 at the Rock! The Blue Beard Army staff will be there (just look for the retro New Jersey NETS jerseys), and we hope you will be too! As always, Hazard Zet Forward!
* Editor’s Note: The original question mistakenly listed Butler as 11-0 going into Big East play, before we were corrected by Ms. Miller about the loss to Miami FL in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game, giving them an 11-1 record.