On Thursday night, Seton Hall will travel to Iowa to take on the undefeated Hawkeyes in the Gavitt Games. This will be the first true test for a Seton Hall team that has cruised to two easy wins to start off the 2016-2017 campaign.
The Pirates kicked off the season with resounding wins over Farleigh Dickinson and Central Connecticut State, winning both games by an average of 22 points per game. Iowa has also cruised to two early victories, winning both games by an average of 24 points per game.
Iowa is an extremely talented team and beating them at their house will be no easy task. The Hawkeyes return leading scorer and preseason all Big-Ten selection Peter Jok to go along with forwards Tyler Cook and Dom Uhl. Their season came to an end at the hands of Villanova in the NCAA tournament last season and they will be looking to add a strong early season victory to their resume.
For Seton Hall, this could be more than just a resume building win. This game can serve as a proving ground for the Pirates, similar to their victory over Wichita State during last season’s non-conference slate. However, this year’s version of the Seton Hall Pirates do not feature Isaiah Whitehead and Derrick Gordon, who were two key cogs in the team last season. As a result of these departures, the team has been doubted despite returning 4/5 starters from last year’s team and will be looking to silence those early doubters with a big win on the road.
The Pirates have not been able to generate turnovers the last two games and a lot of that goes into the losses of Whitehead and Gordon, who lived in the passing lanes last season. As a result of the lack of steals, the Pirates have not been able to get out into transition, which was a strength of the team just a year ago. In order to go on the road and come away with a win, this is one area where Seton Hall will have to improve upon.
It will be on current leaders Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado to take the lead on the road and keep the younger guys calm in a raucous environment.
“It’s my job to keep everyone calm.” Carrington told SHUHoops’ Chris McManus after Sunday’s game against Central Connecticut. “Guys are going to be a little nervous.”
Delgado has become a double-double machine so far this season and will be looking to lead the Pirates to the respect that they deserve on Thursday night.
“It’s time to make people respect us, because again they didn’t give us a lot of respect. We have to show people we deserve it.”