Bracketology Update

The updated NCAA Tournament bracket projections are out, and the Pirates are in the field in nearly all of them. In the USA Today bracket projection, the Pirates are currently a 12 seed and would play Cincinnati in a play-in game for the right to face Purdue. In the most recent ESPN bracket from Joe Lunardi, the Pirates are an 11 seed and would play in the play-in game against California for the right to face Wichita State. The Pirates knocked off the Shockers in December. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has the Pirates as an 8 seed and they would take on the Indiana Hoosiers.

The Pirates are back in action on Wednesday as they take on Marquette at the Prudential Center. We will have the preview of the game up in the next few days and will also have full coverage and a recap. Also, congratulations to Isaiah Whitehead who was named Big East player of the week. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward.

Pirates Shock the Shockers

Photo Provided Courtesy Of Madeline Wilson

The Seton Hall Pirates took on the Wichita State Shockers in a huge non-conference game at the Prudential Center today. This was the biggest non-conference home game of the Kevin Willard era. The Hall was looking to avenge a loss to Wichita State last season. The Hall came into Wichita and lost 77-68. Seton Hall battled back and won a tough game in overtime today 80-76.

Before today’s game we connected with Evan Pflugradt of Wichita State’s student newspaper, The Sunflower. He gave us some great insight, which you can read about in our previous article. He told us to watch out for Markis McDuffie, who Evan said was due for a breakout game. We told Evan that Seton Hall would try and establish Angel Delgado early and often. Both of our predictions came true in a sense.

The first half was dominated by Wichita State. Surprisingly, the biggest player early on was Shaq Morris. Morris scored 6 of Wichita State’s first 8 points. Those 6 points would be the only points Morris would score all game. The Pirates never led in the first half of this game. The Shockers led by as much as 13 points after a Ron Baker layup gave them a 33-20 lead with 6:34 to go in the first half.

The Pirates did not lead in the first half but did cut the lead to single digits by the end of the half. At the end of the first half the Pirates trailed Wichita State 40-32. The Pirates were led in the first half by Isaiah Whitehead with 12 points. Khadeen Carrington added 10 points and Angel Delgado chipped in 6 rebounds. The Shockers were led by Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet who each posted 11 points.

Markis McDuffie had a very solid first half for the Shockers. He had 3 points, a pair of rebounds, and also a beautiful assist. It was a homecoming for McDuffie who is a Jersey City native. When we spoke to Evan Pflugradt at halftime, he spoke about the turnovers that were a problem for Wichita State. The Shockers committed some sloppy turnovers, a trend that would continue in the second half. The turnovers were overshadowed by the great shooting of Wichita State. The Shockers shot 51.7% from the floor and 55.6% from beyond the arc.

The second half was a very chippy affair. There were many fouls and turnovers on both sides. The Pirates chipped away at the Wichita State until they finally took the lead with 7:51 left in the game on a Derrick Gordon layup. Conner Frankamp scored the next 8 points and Wichita State took a 7 point lead. The Pirates would again battle back and held a 67-65 lead with 34 seconds left. Fred VanVleet would tie the game with a pair of free throws and send the game to overtime.

In overtime the Pirates quickly fell behind after a VanVleet three pointer. However, the Pirates would take the lead with 3:10 remaining in overtime and would never surrender the lead. Ultimately, the Pirates would come out with an 80-76 victory over Wichita State.

The Pirates were led by Desi Rodriguez with 18 points. Isaiah Whitehead added 17 points and 5 rebounds. Angel Delgado posted another double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Wichita State was led by Fred VanVleet with 19 points. Ron Baker added 16 points and 7 assists. Conner Frankamp chipped in 13 points. Wichita State was killed by turnovers. They committed 21 turnovers on the day.

The Pirates got a huge win and improved to 9-2 on the season as well as 6-0 at home. The Shockers fall to 5-5 with the loss and drop to 1-2 on the road this season. Wichita State will head home to take on Nevada on Tuesday night. The Pirates will take on South Florida on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.

Check out the PPI to see which Pirates stood out against Wichita State. A big thank you again to Evan Pflugradt, a great journalist who has a wealth of college basketball knowledge. You can follow him on twitter @EvPflu.

We will have full coverage of the South Florida game on Tuesday. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward.

PPI vs Wichita State

Inside The Enemy Ship: Wichita State Shockers

BakerCatch

Welcome to the first edition of our new segment, “Inside The Enemy’s Ship”! This is a new type of article that we are planning on (hopefully) doing every week for the remainder of the season. Essentially, we are talking to members of the opposing school to get a better idea of what they think about our school and our upcoming match-up! We couldn’t think of a better school to start of this segment then Wichita State, which is likely Seton Hall’s most notable non-conference home game during Kevin Willard’s tenure. After last years beating 77-68 beating that Seton Hall suffered in Wichita.

We had the pleasure of talking to Evan Pflugradt, one of the sports writers for The Sunflower, Wichita State’s Student newspaper. He was kind enough to take some time during finals week to talk to us. While I wasn’t able to record the whole phone interview (which was undeniably some of the most fun that we’ve had here at BlueBeardArmy in quite some time), below is a rough transcript of what transpired.

BBA: When the season started, where did you see the Shockers season going?

PFLUGRADT: Expectations were to win the MVC regular season champions. Whether or not they win the MVC Conference tournament is a true test, the Shockers have struggled with it in the past because of limited rest between games. They have a standing recognition of winning with amazing scouting reports. Executing those scouting reports is a challenge when you are limited on time between games. Plus, there is usually always a surprise in the Valley.

BBA: What was your reaction to the first loss of the season?

PFLUGRADT: I actually predicted the first loss of the season to Tulsa. Tulsa is the most veteran team in the nation. They returned all five starters. They are made up of nine seniors, five juniors and two freshman. That’s tough to beat a veteran team like that, especially when you’re on the road without your All-American point guard not 100 percent when we didn’t realize it, and continued to play him. Playing VanVleet handicapped us more in that loss.

BBA: Did you ever imagine a situation where WSU was not ranked this season?

PFLUGRADT: In the preseason I actually thought WSU was better than a couple of the teams in the AP Top 10. Yet, the had not done anything yet to show they were worthy of that ranking. They held a streak of 42 weeks, the third longest active in the NCAA, before they fell out after Orlando.

What you have to realize is not only did VanVleet go out, but stand out freshman Landry Shamet, a combo-guard was slated as the backup for VanVleet when he would sit out. Shamet did not make the trip to Orlando with an injury to his left foot, he would have surgery the day before the trip.

With Conner Frankamp still ineligible at the time the Shockers had little to nothing left.

Baker was running the point and Ty Taylor was in at SG. Baker playing out of position was awful, he’s proven he can run the point, but he’s better as an off-guard.

Taylor put up some awful, awful shooting percentage numbers in Orlando, and on the season as a whole he has struggled. Coach said he is deserving of 6-8 minutes per game. In Orlando he posted over 30 and it is not a winning formula.

If I look at the team without three of their four leading scorers (VanVleet, Grady and Shamet) I don’t think it matters if it is Wichita State or anybody in the AP Top 25. I think you take away that much from any team and they fall out of the Top 25 when you’re playing that kind of competition.

So no, initially I didn’t foresee this a possibility, but given the circumstances I think it makes sense.

BBA: Before this game appeared on your schedule, have you ever heard of Seton Hall University?

PFLUGRADT: I have attended a majority of KU games in Lawrence, I believe Seton Hall has traveled to play there a few times in the last few seasons. I don’t recall much about them.

BBA: Which player should the Seton Hall Pirates be the most worried about meeting on the court? Why?

PFLUGRADT: Two players for two reasons. Conner Frankamp.

Frankamp was rated the No. 50 player in the class when he was recruited.
Frankamp made his debut on Wednesday waiting out a transfer eligibility requirement. In his first game he was 0-5 shooting and scored two points. On Saturday he struggled once again, yet he hit his first field goal with 54 seconds left against Utah hitting a two-point jump shot over a 6’6 defender just beating the shot-clock buzzer. He followed it up on the very next possession with a cross-over resulting in a three-point basket. Frankamp can score and is the best shooter on the team, hands down. His release is quicker than ever. He scored the last five points of the game against Utah and he’s finally built some confidence against quality competition for the first time since 2014. When he’s confident he won’t miss much at all. He’s do for a breakout game at any point in time. He will get good minutes. Will probably play 15 minutes, more if he is hitting shots.

The second (is) Markis McDuffie

McDuffie was benched in the loss versus Tulsa. In the games since he has been fired up. One of the most skilled players this team has ever seen. He’s consistent and he’s been amazing himself recently with some shots. Pure athleticism and natural shooter. The best kept secret for the Shockers.

BBA: Final Score Prediction?

PFLUGRADT: 71-53 Wichita State wins

There you have it! A big thanks to Evan, a truly gifted journalist, for taking the time to talk to us! He can be found on Twitter @EvPflu. The Seton Hall Pirates take on the Shockers at the Prudential Center tomorrow at noon. As always, Hazard Zet Forward, and let’s go Pirates!