The Seton Hall men’s basketball team returns home on Saturday for a matchup with Florida A&M after a brief road trip to St. Louis that resulted in a 17-point statement win.
With the Billikens and Michigan State Spartans in the rearview mirror, Kevin Willard and the Pirates will look to bring the momentum back home and get a win over the Rattlers. Florida A&M is one of the lesser opponents in Seton Hall’s loaded non-conference schedule, so it will hopefully serve as a breather and tune-up for the rotation ahead of the Battle for Atlantis.
Florida A&M does not exactly sit at the top of the college basketball world, nor at the top of its conference. Prior to the season, the Rattlers were picked to finish ninth in their conference, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, out of 11 teams.
Those picked ahead of them included Morgan State, Coppin State, Howard, and others – so Florida A&M essentially has a lot of work ahead of them to make it to relevance in the collegiate hardwood world.
Still, anything can happen. In the past, Seton Hall has notoriously been known to play up and subsequently play down to competition. However, as the No. 13 ranked team in the country, in front of the home crowd, it should not be difficult for the Pirates to come away with a victory.
The game will serve as the last chance for Willard to solidify his rotation heading into a doomsday-esque Battle 4 Atlantis Thanksgiving tournament. In that, the Pirates, despite being ranked in the top-15, could be as low as the three or four seed for the tournament.
The starting five is nearly set for the game and the foreseeable future – Myles Powell leads the way with Myles Cale, Quincy McKnight and Sandro Mamukelashvili. After a raucous game against St. Louis with both big men in foul trouble, it remains to be seen if Romaro Gill or Ike Obiagu gets the call for tipoff.
Gill and Obiagu will yet again have a distinct height advantage when playing Florida A&M. Both listed at 7-foot-2, the duo will go up against DJ Jones, Ifeanyi Umezurike and Desir Evins, all of whom are listed at 6-foot-9 or under.
The two have been slightly stagnant to start the season offensively, especially in the last two games, and they will need a pick-me-up heading into a tough stretch of games ahead. One of Seton Hall’s greatest assets is its height, and that has not been used yet this year besides in exhibition against a Division III opponent. This is the game to get it done and kickstart the offense.
All in all, this is a strong Seton Hall team playing against a program who is 0-4 to start the season against USC, Hawai’i, Pacific and South Dakota.
It should not be a test. It should not be a loss. But, it’s college basketball. Theoretically anything can happen, but it would be a certifiable season-altering disaster if Seton Hall left the Prudential Center on Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 record.
Kevin Kopf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @KevinKopfHWH.