H-S | GoDuke
Duke faces Seton Hall in the second round of the NIT, and it's an opponent
Duke has an interesting history with, to say the least.
Mike Krzyzewski and former Seton Hall coach P.J. Carlesimo were close
friends, and their teams clashed on the way to the title, with Seton Hall
prevailing after Robert Brickey was injured. Carlesimo went on to carve out his
own unfortunate bit of history when he was throttled by Latrell Sprewell.
Before he left, Bobby and Danny Hurley had a very uncomfortable game against
each other in the NCAA Tournament.
Tommy Amaker left Durham for Seton Hall, where he had a monster recruiting
class, which unfortunately included Eddie Griffin, who managed to blow up first
his high school team and then Seton Hall's.
Former Blue Devil Andre Sweet left Durham for Seton Hall after struggling
academically; he was a senior last year.
Now Seton Hall is led by Amaker's replacement, former Syracuse great Louis
Orr, who has struggled and who is pretty much in the hot seat after a 12-16
He lost a lot of players after last season, but they retain Kelly Whitney,
who can be a force down low, although he had an erratic junior year. He
averaged 11.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg last year, but that was off of his sophomore
performance. On the other hand, he had Andre Barrett to get him the ball
then, and Barrett was an excellent passer.
Senior guard Donald Copeland is a product of Bob Hurley's St. Anthony's, so
you can reasonably expect a sound player. The knock on Copeland is his
shooting: he only hit 34.7% last year.
He'll likely be joined in the backcourt by Jamar Nutter, a 6-2 junior.
If they use the same lineup they used against Manhattan, Whitney will be
joined up front by 6-7 Stan Gaines and 6-10 Marcus Cousin. They also
welcome Mike Pilgrim, a transfer from Cincinnati, promising freshman big man
John Garcia, and David Palmer, who was originally going to go to Illinois before
changing his mind.
He left a program in turmoil to join one with its own issues.
Last season saw several players suspended, including Whitney, a 4-12
conference record, and organized attempts to have Orr fired. His A.D.
resigned instead, and who knows how he'll do with a new one. That's always
a wild card.
Aside from everything else, Seton Hall faces a radically restructured Big
East. Do they at least get a break from the dysfunctional schedule?
Their nonconference schedule isn't too bad, with the tough games being at
N.C. State and at Richmond.
In the brave new world of the Big East, they play Rutgers and St. John's
twice, as their big rivals, South Florida twice, in a break, Marquette at home -
actually the schedule is too stupid to even go through it all. Suffice it to say
one game against UConn, one against Syracuse, and one against Villanova is a
pretty substantial present for Orr.
So, too, would be a victory over Duke in Cameron. After watching B.U.
give Duke all it could handle, Orr may think his team has a particular shot - or
he may believe, in his heart of hearts, that Duke is going to come out with a
metaphorical 2x4 looking to hurt someone.
Given Duke's history after less-than-great performances, we would expect a
very intense effort. As we said earlier, incorporating half a team will
take some time, but if we had to guess, we'd think they are working overtime to
get Josh McRoberts to play a more relaxed game - maybe it was just us, but we
thought he was wound kind of tight against Central and also B.U. - and to get
DeMarcus Nelson to not feel he has to challenge the big men on a regular basis.
And we would also expect Duke to pound the ball in to Shelden Williams
repeatedly, and don't be surprised if either half starts with the ball delivered
to him four or five times in a row.
Whatever happens scorewise, look for an extremely intense effort from the