Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Juice Goes Sour; Hall Loses 80-73

Well, we should have known it was going to be a tough night when after literally sprinting to the Prudential Center, security officials kept Ben and me waiting outside in the all too Syracuse like weather conditions before letting the herds of t-shirt hungry fans into the building. We definitely thought we were in for it when it turned out that Little Miss Piggins was one of our three esteemed referees for the evening. Have I mentioned yet the dozens of family members and friends - so called Setonia supporters - turning against us to root for their "favorite team"? And I don't even want to think about the omen that was sent from above when Jerry Walker's plea to the Pirate fans was suddenly cut off because of technical difficulties. With seemingly thousands of soon-to-be unemployed Syracuse students descending upon the Prudential Dome, err Center, the Hall was in for one tough evening.

However, for one magical evening, it seemed like The Hall would finally be able to climb the never ending pile of obstacles and adversity in its way and claim its first BIG EAST victory. Or at least it seemed that way. It seemed that way when Joe from Montclair won the Shot Clock Challenge and a whopping $500 to the Seton Hall University Bookstore (Joe, you might want to check in with Kwillet - official school Postmaster - to see how to wisely spend all that money...be careful, they screw you on the shipping charges!). It sure seemed that way when Flagman tied a school record, making eight ovular laps around an increasingly injury ridden cheerleader squad. And oh, by the way, we had a 12 point lead at one point in the first half.

Well, for all you newcomers to the blog, welcome to the life of a Seton Hall Pirate basketball fan. While at times we were able to make Syracuse's famed 2-3 zone look like a block of Emmental, there were just as many times where our own bigs' hands resembled the Swiss product. And for all the "trans-fusion" that took place - did anyone else see the feed by Keon to Pope who threw down a thunderous dunk over, yep, you guessed it, JRob!?!? - we got hosed on a critical 10 second violation against Syracuse that wasn't called. So even though we went up 12 points towards the end of the first half, we were not able to squeeze that juice machine hard enough, allowing the Orangemen to close the half on a 14-2 run.

For every Keon pass to a cutting Hazell under the basket, just as many balls seemed to slip out of the grasp of Pope and Garcia, resulting in empty possessions and missed opportunities. Although Keon played arguably his best came since coming back from his suspension (5 pts, 5 rbs, 4 asts, and 4 steals) and Pope returned to seeing double-double, if it were not for another Herculean effort by Hazell (38 points, 6-15 from 3pt), we would have lost by 20 points....at least.

So, as the Hall prepares to take its battle south of the border to Cancun, Mexico, all we can do at Setonia is wish for one thing this New Year's...a Seton Hall Victory!! Oh, and fellas, bring me back a Senor Frogs wristband!


Happy New Year's!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Pulp or Not to Pulp; SHU Preps for Cuse


After dropping home games to Temple and WVU, Seton Hall is ready to take on tonight the nation's #5 best team: the Syracuse Orangemen.

Now, you might be asking yourself, how will we ever defeat the 'Cuse? Will it be our tenacious half-court defense? Wrong. Perhaps our FEROcious rebounding? Incorrect. Rather, we plan to beat them with our PRESS. Or, more precisely, our PRESS AND TWIST.

With walk-on Matt "Juice" Cajuste twiddling his citrusy mitts, we intend to grab Syracuse by their Beyonce-esque skin-fitting jerseys and juice the living crap out of them. How do I know this? SHU is giving away "Juice the Cuse" t-shirts to the first fans to arrive (i.e. Dave and myself).

Now, in all seriousness, I really do think the key to victory will be the pressure our guards can apply. Yet again, our advantage in this game is at the guard position, as it will be against most teams we face. If Harvey, Theodore, Hazell (& Gatling?!?!?) can turn over this inexperienced Syracuse backcourt, we just might have a chance. With just a little luck, and some serious torque of the wrist, we'll turn Scoop Jardine into Smush Parker.

And just in case you don't think this game is personal, remember that last year we almost came to blows with Syracuse in Madison Square Garden. Remember also that my college roommate is from Fayetteville (a suburb of Syracuse, if Syracuse can even be called an urb) and my cousin's husband went to Syracuse Law. Quick question, Jesse: While your command of our nation's justice system is no doubt formidable, was it worth freezing your oranges off for 3 years??

Okay, gotta run. It's after 1 pm, and Dave and I need to get those shirts... JUICE THE CUSE

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hall & Hazell Trigger Happy; Force OT against WVU


When you drive to West Virginia, it seems like everyone and their mother has a gun. Nothing is more startling in fact than watching a basketball game in their campus arena when suddenly the Mountaineer mascot fires an actual civil-war musket in what has to be one of the most authoritative "SHOTGUN" calls of all time.

In other words, WVU knows a little bit about firepower. Still, I don't think they could've anticipated what SHU delivered yesterday.

Dave and I stood there, our jaws slack with awe and the memory of wisdom tooth extraction, as the Hall shot rounds and rounds of shots. True, the vast majority missed the mark. Especially our free throw shooting! Yes, Pope let loose round after round of blanks (1 of 10) and even Theodore and Harvey missed key opportunities at the stripe.

Even the SHU basketball operations team seemed to be misfiring. While it was clear the university was pumped to have CBS in attendance, and put forth quite an effort (e.g. balloon animal maker, blue & white pompoms) there were definitely some pre-game jitters. For example, there was a serious lane violation on the national anthem singer who started belting out "O Say Can You See" before the WVU team was even in sight. And while the CBS sports banners were quite aesthetically charming, did we have to present WVU's colors so prominently in our own building?? Lastly, could the mop guy please be a little more proactive?? Herb Pope was completing his 6th Scott Hamilton death spiral before we finally toweled up the sweat stains on the hardwood.

The refs also blew a couple big calls. Chief among them?? Cam Thoroughman camped out Mountaineer style in the paint for about 7 seconds on one possession. And the charge call on Jeff Robinson made my blood boil!!

Okay, those are the negatives. Here's the plus side: yesterday's game was one of the most exciting, most classic Seton Hall performances I've ever witnessed. Hazell was magical, and looked about as good as anyone can who shoots 4 of 19 from deep. He drove to the rim, hung in the air, and showed a national audience what makes him so special. Move aside Katie Couric!!

Another positive: Ferro Hall. If you listened closely, you could actually hear the Southern screams of joy from Tennessee as the freshman found himself in the game at the most pivotal moments. He even had a monster dunk in the last couple minutes of the game. Ummm.... MINT JULEP!!

Also, JROB. This guy is for real. Threw down some nasty dunks, and rebounds in traffic better than anyone.

Harvey did some great things too. A number of key layups and beautiful passes. That backdoor feed to Hazell was brilliant... just mishandled.

Bobby also coached a pretty good game I thought. Yeah, we probably should have fouled earlier on a couple possessions, and our offense looked a little cavalier at some critical points. But overall, we substituted very well, and I loved how involved Jamel and Ferro were in the offense. Our guys gave a superhuman effort against a very talented WVU squad. If we play that hard against the rest of the Big East, we should coast into the tournament.

Well, time to reload, because next we face the Orangemen. And I'll tell you one thing: Dave and I are definitely snagging some of those "Juice the Cuse" t-shirts.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hall Victorious In Battle 94-56; Armed to Attack WVU


Is it wrong that Ben and I felt a twinge of remorse as we watched our beloved Pirates squash Navy? I mean, after all, they do protect our fair shores, and SHU isn't that far from the Atlantic. Anyway, after taking a day of mourning to reflect on the loss of the Midshipmen, we decided it was OK to move full steam ahead and continue the insurgency against West Virginia. With Drill Seargent Gonzo - and trusty Captain1111 - at the helm, Seton Hall will roll into Saturday's critical matchup against West Virginia with all the ammo necessary...and hopefully a few bullet proof vests as well.

Now Ben and I have visited Morgantown. We've seen this WVU team up close and personal. And we've also hung out with Bob Huggins at the Morgantown Waterfront Hotel bar on the night before game day, securing his autograph on the back of our electronic room key. Thank God for Sharpies! But here's the point: this WVU team is good. They rebound at all positions and they're a good passing team.

For us to vanquish this squad, we'll depend heavily on our fastest fleet, i.e. Eugene, Theodore and Keon. Truck Bryant is good, but he doesn't scare us as much as Butler, Ebanks and Smith, who had his best game ever yesterday against Ole Miss. If we can distribute the ball from the point position, win the turnover battle, and penetrate from the corners, we just might make this one interesting. And of course, Herb will need to play his perfect game.

The question will be, can our players handle the big stage? CBS couldn't spell SHU with a Bob Huggins sharpie, so you can bet the announcers won't know Mel from Darnell. Our guys need to come out with that warrior spirit... they can't be tight.

Let's just call this one Operation Mountaineer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hall Loses in "Perfect Storm"


Sure, Seton Hall had been perfect all season. But who had we beaten? Saturday's game against Temple would prove our first big test.

With tri-state meteorologists calling for white out conditions, Dave and I put our faith in NJ transit and rode into the Rock. Unfortunately, last night's weather was even worse than predicted.

It really was the perfect storm. With the debut of not one, but both of our prized transfers, Keon and JRob, we fans found ourselves cheering for a different team last night. Like a squall along the Eastern seaboard, it was easy to get disoriented as some of the typical central figures (Garcia, Stix, Theodore) seemed more like third-party electoral candidates, which is to say, not really important.

I had anticipated Keon and JRob would be nervous in their first game back. For the most part, they weren't. Keon flexed his mid-range game nicely and looked very steady in his jersey and out of the white Roger Rabbit suit. JRob forced a little bit offensively, but his athleticism was actually jaw-dropping, playing above the rim on a number of occasions.

No, our transfers weren't nervous. Our other guys, however, were. Theodore in particular played as if he was trying to prove he was still relevant with the new blizzard of talent. Ironically, it had the opposite effect, as he had a truly horrific stat line (0 of 3 from the field, 3 fouls, 2 turnovers, 0 assists). He also took a very bad shot in a critical situation -- down 3 with the ball, and Theodore doing his best Stevie Wonder rendition of "Let's Go Pirates" on the jumbotron, JT pressed A and B on his Xbox controller at the same time to result in an out-of-control 360 banker that was about the emptiest possession you could have.

Listen, I love JT and all our players. I don't want to be negative. But the truth is, one of the greatest aspects of our play to date has been our unselfishness and making the extra pass. Last night, there was none of that. JT has a 3-on-1 and gets called for an offensive foul? You gotta give that up, my man! Guys were trying to create by themselves (ineffectively) and generally looked threatened by the emergence of our two new snowcaps.

Now, is Temple good? Hard to say. I fear this loss will look worse in March than it does now. But by March, the snow will have melted and NJ transit will have no excuse to run 75 minutes behind schedule.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pope's Resurrection


Every once in a while, someone comes along who can capture Seton Hall basketball just slightly better than Ben and I can. This is one of those times.


"Pope's Resurrection," by Alejandro Danois

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hall Marches All Over VMI; Wins 134-107


The weather reporters called for a cold, wintry afternoon. Well, how wrong they were. Seton Hall was hotter than ever and Lil' Mel and Hazell made it rain as they scored 40 and 33 points respectively, accounting for more than half of Seton Hall's 134 points.

Seton Hall exploded offensively, scoring the most points in school history. JJax also set a new school record for 3 pointers made, shooting an unconscionable 12 of 15 from deep. His Holiness recorded his fifth straight double-double, Big Mel scored eight of the softest points imaginable for a 400 pound man, and Sticky-Icky twirled in 3-Stixies around his defenders en route to 18 points.

On the other hand, freshman phenom Fero continued his athletic, yet somewhat spastic play, but might be developing a dangerous case of Mike Davis-itis as he struggles to control the basketball at times. And Gonzo showed that he has still not perfected his secret sign language to the players as he was seen practicing a series of odd, baby-like hand gestures to the crowd. If I understood him correctly, he was saying something to the effect of give the ball to Jeremy and Jamel and let the m shoot. Smart play calling, Bobby!

All in Hall, it was a rather exciting and memorable afternoon. We came out with the firepower of the Maccabee army, and continued shooting until the last missed three by Fero Hall. Just imagine how many points we would have scored with Keon and JRob in the game? I guess we'll just have to wait until next week to find out...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hall Clenches Jaw; Laughs UMASS off the Court


Offense has always been the Gonzo specialty. But last night, SHU gritted its teeth and played strong defense, rendering the Minutemen nothing more than a passing reference in a Missy Elliott jam.

But before the Hall clamped down, the night began with one of the best open-mouth performances I've ever heard. Dave and I could not believe it -- that girl who sung the anthem should belt it out every game. In fact, it was sung so beautifully, I nearly forgot the excruciating pain of having had my wisdom tooth extracted just a few hours before. Bring on the Gause pad!

Still, while the musical talent was lovely, the tap dance portion was sublime. Derek Kellogg, the UMASS head coach, did his best impression of Michael Scott meets Savion Glover, as he awkwardly stomped around the court until he literally slipped in a puddle of his own soggy Frosted Flakes. By comparison, Gonzo was calm, cool and collected.

But that didn't stop Little Miss Higgins from imposing his will on the game. Handing out technical fouls like lollipops at the dentist, Piggins simply does not know how to be invisible.

Last night's individual performances were extraordinary. JT and Harvey played great on both ends. Pope gave a superhuman effort, considering he was recovering from a stomach bug. And even Mel and lil' Mel (Jamel) got into the action!! Is it possible that Mel scored the prettiest reverse layup of the season?

I do, however, have to voice one frustration: with these kinds of blowouts, I'm not sure why we leave our starters in the game as long as we do. The game was getting chippy, the score was out of hand. So why use Garcia at all and risk injury?? Cajuste played actual game minutes last year against Providence and Nova -- why not use him in spurts besides the last 5 minutes? I realize that Gonzo wants to give his starters experience, but these are the games when you develop your bench and rest the guys you need down the road. Dave and I almost lost all our teeth when Garcia's knee twisted.

Overall, great, great win. Can I open my jaw now?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Aye, Aye Captain Dan


Dan emailed Ben and I this afternoon and asked if we could post this on our blog to advertise the Pirate Blue Online Auction. So, mom and dad, happy reading...!


The Pirate Blue On-Line auction is open! The auction features once in a lifetime Pirate experiences, exclusive autographed Seton Hall memorabilia and much more. Here are just some of the great items available for auction:

- Dream Seats to the Pirates Home Games vs. Louisville and Notre Dame
- Courtside Seats to Pirates Home Games vs. Cincinnati and DePaul and many more!
- Seton Hall Radio/TV Sponsor Package
- Signed Pirates Memorabilia
- VIP Parking Passes for all Nine Big East Men's Home Games at the Prudential Center and much more....

Remember, the auction closes Thursday, December 17th so this is a perfect opportunity to get a great holiday present for that special Pirates fan! Check out the Pirate Blue Online Auction page for the full list of items!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hall Hits the High Notes, Wins 89-56


In a game full of highlights and high notes, Seton Hall took care of business against Hartford last night, keeping their undefeated dreams alive. Eugene Harvey had a double-double and a career high 14 assists, JT dropped 17 points, Jamel Jackson continued giving us hard data for our soon to be formed field goal to three point attempt theoreom, and even crowd favorite Darnell Gatling registered his first career points! Nice job, mini-me!


While the game finished with a personal highlight for Darnell Gatling, the game couldn't have started any higher. Ben and I have been riding the SHU athletics department the last few years to have better in-game entertainment, and they appear to have accepted the challenge. Not only have they introduced a thundering intro video that would make Frank Capra blush, but they also managed to find the best eight year old falsetto singer in the country who gave us a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Take that Frankie Valli!


All in Hall, it was a great game and Seon Hall did what they needed to do...win. Maybe next game the Seton Hall mascot can do flips through a flaming hoop...? Hey, just a thought.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hall Sends NJIT Back to the Lab; Win 93-53


In my first game back from scouting the finest basketball talent in Europe, SHU sent the NJITechnicians back to the Highlands, dismantling them 93-53. Although the tryptophan was evidently still sitting heavy in the players' stomachs for the first few minutes, Theodore entered the game with a much needed shot of cranberry sauce. After that, it was all gravy.

Pope posted his fourth straight double double, Hazell added 21 points, and JJ is well on his way to creating a mathematical sequence that would make even Fibonacci blush. So far this season, Jackson is 11 of 25 from the field and - you might have guessed it - 11 of 24 from three point range. Although he's thrown in a few free throws here and there, Ben and I are sure that given more hard data we will be able to devise a Jackson theorem a la the Mel weight-minutes ratio. Stay tuned Mr. Blaskopf!

But there was more to being back than just watching basketball. It was also about reconnecting with family. It was about looking ahead to Cancun, hearing how tequila ferments in cactus fields in Mexico. It was about catching up on all the Cornell trip shenanigans. It was about hearing outlandish rumors about the players, recruits, and the coaches. Yes, it's good to be back.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Long Night for Long Island; Hall Cruises


Last night was a battle between Pirates and the Downeaster Alexa. Let's just say the piano man isn't thrilled.

With the Long Island fishing industry still reeling, SHU delivered a crushing blow, sinking the LIU ship and catching all "stripers" in sight. Not only did the Hall sail on to victory with ease, but they did it in style!! For the first time in recent memory, a first mate within the cheerleading squad sang the national anthem! And finally a student won the SHU shotclock challenge, although his pants were down at his ankles while he did it -- better pull those up when you go to McLoones!

As the LIU players swam frantically like guppies, Pope soared high to grab every rebound in sight. Harvey was confident, feeding a gorgeous alleyoop pass to Hazell, and Stix used his legs like oars to beat down the opponent. Even Long Island-native Matt "Juice" Cajuste got into the game! It was a tough night for Fero, however, who found himself frequently pushed out of position, but we think he'll bounce back. Freshmen have nights like that.

But is there not always a twinge of sadness in every victory? Yes, while the Pirates looked buoyant last night, it might have been because they were carrying less weight. Due to poor academics, Mel has been asked to take a leave of absence from the team. It's bad news to say the least, since the Hall needs Mel come Big East time. His talent is undeniable... let's hope lack of discipline doesn't hold him back.

For now, let's enjoy the blow out. Sail on, Pirates!! Sail on... And Dave, if you're reading, bring me back some Moroccan couscous!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks to you, Seton Hall!!


As Thanksgiving approaches, I would be remiss if I didn't express my gratitude. Pirates fans certainly have a lot to be thankful this year. So, with Dave still out of the country, grapevining with his lady across Europe like a young Dogus Balbay (did anyone watch him last night -- incredible!!) I figured it was time for a sincere, holiday-themed post. So here goes:

I'm thankful that we have two incredible point guards.

I'm thankful that our players desperately want to win, and have a coach who pushes them to achieve.

I'm thankful that we beat St. Peters, barely.

I'm thankful that John Garcia returned to play another year.

I'm thankful that Keon survived the car crash with his life, as did the other injured driver -- I'm hopeful that he learns to be more responsible as a result.

I'm thankful that Stix brings his best effort every night.

I'm thankful that the school awarded Professor Cajuste tenure.

I'm thankful that the Booster Club is such a welcoming community.

I'm thankful that Hazell continues to work hard on his game, rather than just resting on his laurels.

I'm thankful that our team plays in a first-class arena, although I wish it were on campus.

I'm thankful that Hall committed here, as his upside is huge.

I'm thankful that we have Herb Pope, because without him, we're not very good.

And lastly, I'm thankful for tomorrow's meal!! Which gets me thinking, how does our starting line-up compare with tomorrow's buffet menu?

Hazell: Definitely turkey. At the center of it all, goes with everything, best served piping hot (12 of 25), less good when served cold (0 of 10)

Stix: Mashed potatoes. Classic blue collar, roll up your sleeves, middle America. Oh you just finished gathering rebounds in a coal mine? Here, have some mashed potatoes. Love that guy.

Harvey: Gravy. Smooth, silky. An assist to any meal. May occasionally dribble onto the tablecloth - whoops!

Theodore: Cranberry Sauce. Sweet, tangy, and full of pep! Oh, wait, the tryptophan making you drowsy??? Here, have a shot of Cranberry Sauce!!

Pope/Garcia/Mel: Stuffing. Good, hearty, and clogs up your middle. Provides the necessary weight and size. Everything tastes better with stuffing!!

Fero: Pumpkin pie! What a treat! I wasn't even expecting dessert!! How thoughtful of you! And so versatile!

Well SHU nation, have a great holiday and remember the neediest!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hall Makes Puree of Big Red!!


After watching Theodore the last couple games, I knew he was due. With all the hard work in the offseason, he was bound to start producing. As predicted, JT played an incredible game last Friday, deflating the Cornell faithful and carrying the Hall to victory.

Though the Big Red got off to a solid start, our athleticism proved too much to handle, slicing and dicing them all over the court until they were nothing more than a delicious bowl of Taughannock Farms strawberry soup -- bold menu choice, RFS!! Yes, with the Booster Club there to support, our courageous Pirates couldn't be defeated.

There was however one big loser of the evening: SNY. While I'm appreciative of the opportunity to watch my beloved team from the literal comfort of my actual home, I can't say I was impressed with the broadcast. From the screaming accountant in the background who kept audibly yelling "WHERE WAS THE FOUL?!?!" to the play-by-play guy's incessant Freudian psychoanalysis of Harvey's bench posture, I was less than impressed. Also, the camerawork left a lot to be desired; alternatively, it might qualify for Golden Globe nomination, as I've never seen so many creative cuts and angles! WHAT, POPE IS GOING IN FOR A DUNK?? QUICK, LETS GET A SHOT OF GARCIA'S SHOELACES!!

Despite the Eyes Wide Shut cinematography, I did manage to make a few key game observations:

- We did a great job feeding the post. Unlike so many other games, we established Garcia and Pope on the inside, which opened things up for our perimeter players.

- Now that we have forwards who can dunk, we need to get better at the alleyoop pass. JT threw one a mile too high, and Harvey has missed a ton as well -- it's such an exciting play when executed properly.

- Can't say enough about Fero Hall. Like the endive at the Ithaca farmers' market, this kid is organically grown. Those Tennessee coaches really did a great job, because he has a very natural feel for the game.

- Jamel didn't play very much, but when on the floor, he didn't play very well. Missing two of three free throws isn't really acceptable as a reserve guard, nor is chucking up a 3 pointer with a second left and the game in hand.

- Stix is a junkyard dog, and I absolutely love it. Instead of diving for a loose ball, he chose to sit on a Cornell player's face. Fortunately, Stix only weighs 3.6 British stones.

Well, great win, and awesome defensive intensity. Proves that when we're pumped and prepared to play, we can be an extraordinary team. Also, thanks to Vinny for the Booster Club text updates!! Sorry Dave and I couldn't be there, fellas, but let's just say we're already picking out our hibiscus swim suits for the Virgin Islands!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Drive North!!


With Dave jetting off to Spain -- his fair lady Lisa at his side -- and me stuck at work analyzing the Vegas lines, we've said goodbye to our Booster Club comrades who are now en route to Cornell's campus by bus. (Thanks to Vinny, we do have some inside info to share: the movie on the ride there was "Planes, Trains and Automobiles.")

Given the firepower of this Cornell squad, we could probably use an arsenal of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, not to mention a couple Tankers and Hydrogen-Powered Gorge-Bombers. As I've said, I expect SHU to win this game, but it will not be easy. Still, we've had an entire week to prepare -- a veritable "reading period" by Ivy League standards. Let's just hope Stix made some flash cards, because memorizing the opponent's offensive sets won't be easy; who's on this Cornell team again?

The big question remains: to Keon or not to Keon? Still no word as far as we know, but it's a very sensitive issue. Either way, you can bet those Cornell fans will be auditing his every move, on the bench or not.

PS. Apologies to any accountants who might have been offended by my earlier post. My uncle is a fantastic accountant! He went to Cornell.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cornell: Scarier than the '96 Bulls?


Sure, those Jordan teams were good. But if you believe the SHU message board hype, they were nothing compared to this year's terrifying Cornell squad!!

Now, when you think of Cornell, hoops might not be top of mind. First, their stellar international relations department. Second, gorges. But third, most definitely third: basketball dominance.

Gosh, if we lose by less than 50, let's consider it a victory! How could we ever hope to keep pace with such athleticism -- an entire Ivy roster full of Konchalski 5 AP Scorers!!

In all seriousness, Dave and I have been thinking quite a lot about this game, and we're not too worried. It's true, this Cornell squad plays solid ball, and away games are scary, but Ivy league fans aren't usually too rowdy -- think a gymnasium full of would-be accountants. And even though Big Red has a good outside shot, expect our own Big Mel and Garcia to clog up the inside like a gorge stuffed with municipal waste. "EPA caught napping on the backdoor feed!!"

Here's really the million dollar question: does Keon play? We have no inside information (damn that Facebook ban!!) but our instinct says no. Let's give him a couple games to resolve all off-the-court issues before re-inserting him in our up-tempo offense. Although we're certainly a stronger team when we have his mid-range game to round out the deep threat of Hazell and Jackson.

Prediction: SHU gets off to a strong start in this game after a dedicated week of practice. Theodore has an extraordinary performance after some sub-par numbers the last two games. Cajuste tours campus and moonlights as keynote lecturer at applied mathematics conference.

Final score: SHU 71 Championship Cornell 64

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cell Phone Earns 6th Man of the Year Award; Pirates win 87-72


In the rare instance that Ben and I cant make a Seton Hall game (home or away), we usually sulk for a few minutes and begrudgingly turn on SNY to watch our beloved Pirates take the court. When the low budget OOC games aren't televised, we welcome the opportunity to listen to Gary Cohen and Dave "Wonderkid" Popkin do the play-by-play.

However, we were not entirely prepared to handle today's obstacle. For the first time in Seton Hall basketball history, neither Ben or I were able to watch or listen to the game! What were these two intrepid bloggers to do!?!? With literally dozens of avid followers around the world (hola Senor Garcia!), we knew we had to follow the game, one way or another.

Since both of us were returning from weekend commitments, we turned to the only device that we knew would keep us in touch with the game...our cell phones. Hitting refresh multiples times on our cellies, texting each other figurative fist pounds after every basket, and forwarding updates to our fellow booster Vinny, Ben and I were able to keep up with the virtually the entire game. The only thing we missed were Seton Hall's new road unis and a few Gonzo foot stamps.

While blackberrys dont necessarily provide the most colorful picture of the game, regardless of the model you have, it did seem like Hazell was able to find his shooting stroke and His Heighness, Herb Pope, put up one of the monster type games we are all expecting from him. Jackson appeared to light it up from deep when given the chance and the new kid on the block, Genghis Khan, had a solid all around game that will hopefully set the tone for a promising freshman year.

It wasn't ideal, but Ben and I were able to follow the game play by play, thanks to the miracle of the cell phone. Wouldn't Alexander Graham Bell be proud...?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hall Completely Flat; NuNu Wins on a Prayer!!!


We should've known. It was Friday the 13th. It was the first game of the year. And with my benevolent uncle driving Dave and me through Newark in his Nissan, it was destiny.

We had just sped past Don Pepe's, admiring the ornate window guards, when all of a sudden we heard something. Was it the sound of Gonzo foot stamping through the ironbound?? Was it the sound of Big Mel tricycling along the Pulaski?? WRONG! It was the sound of us getting a flat tire!! Hurray!

That tire was a metaphor for our team. In all our years of Hall fandom, never has the team looked flatter. The first half was truly atrocious -- but shockingly, the second half was just as bad. With Keon dressed as Dick Tracy in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the team looked distracted by the intricate tattoo plumage of the St. Peters point guard.

Probably the most abysmal performance of the night was Hazell. Completely out of rhythm, Jeremy played a truly horrendous game. But there was good news!! He qualified for an honorary degree from the SHU Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, as he graciously reached down to massage Pope's cramped hammy. (Umm... don't we have professionals for that??) Hazell and Kwillett will both be receiving their degrees in a special ceremony before the Monmouth game.

But I digress... despite it all, Harvey found a way to win. After receiving tons of criticism for his handling of late game situations, Harvey put up a prayer, and it was answered. With 3 seconds on the clock, Harvey pushed the ball through the net from 25 feet out, giving the Hall the lead and preserving our NCAA dreams (delusions?) alive.

As we drove back into New York, we couldn't believe what we had witnessed. We just sat in the car, shaking and trembling. Even the car was shaking and trembling. It was missing a tire.

LOVE YOU FOREVER, SETONIA!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Updated: Keon in Parkway Accident

Dave and I usually try to find the humor in things. There's nothing funny about this story.

The Herald News is reporting that Keon Lawrence was in a serious car crash on the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville. Fortunately, Keon and others involved in the crash did not sustain life-threatening injuries. The details of the accident are still being gathered.

Here's a statement from Gonzo:

“As you may know, Keon Lawrence was involved in an automobile accident early Monday morning,” Gonzalez said. “First and foremost, we are relieved and gratified that all of the parties involved were not more seriously injured. We will respond accordingly when all of the facts of this matter have been collected. Effective immediately, Keon Lawrence has been suspended from the team indefinitely.”

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seton Hall 2.0


While Ben and I are not the most technologically savvy bloggers out there, we have managed to navigate Blogspot with considerable ease (thanks Larry and Serge!). Ever since the first blog entry, we were able to figure out how to copy and paste ridiculous pictures from the internet, create polls to ask our "audience," and post hillarious pictures from our recent road trips.


Channeling our inner Lewis and Clark, we decided to push the envelope and venture into unchartered waters. Wondering what more there was to social media, we took the plunge and literally dribbled into the last frontier...Twitter!


Now you can get all your Seton Hall news bites 24 hours a day in 140 words or less! We're not sure exactly what will come of our twitter account, but be sure to check us out at @setoniablogspot! See you in cyperspace!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Hall of a Weekend!


Dave and I have dedicated our entire lives to Seton Hall basketball. But I'm not sure there's ever been a weekend that's tested our devotion more than this last one. I'm happy to say we passed with flying colors -- big ups to Robin Cunningham!!

After 4 NJ Transit round trip tickets, a couple generous carpool sessions up and down So. Orange Ave -- you know who you are!! -- Dave and I spent practically every hour shuttling back and forth from Manhattan to our beloved "almost mater." And was it ever worth it!!

The weekend started on Sabbath evening as our Pirates took on a team from Carlton University in an exhibition game. At first glance, I thought I was better than most players on Carlton. But I quickly realized that their forward Kevin "Timothy Leary" McCleery had more creative pivot moves than an actual 60's groove piper. Still, our Pirates prevailed handily.

The first half was full of energy, as Harvey and Theodore played great up-tempo basketball. Pope also completely took over the game at certain times, and Stix brought intensity that Canada hadn't seen since the French Indian War. Bonjour, Monsieur STIX!!

The only scare came when Mel was discovered to have blood on his jersey, and had to leave the game. It was okay though -- he came out for the second half wearing a fresh, clean jersey (women's petite) with a new number, which means that he must have changed uniforms in the locker room with the rest of the players during Gonzo's halftime speech. Umm... sorry coach, what were you saying about half-court defense??

Then, as if that wasn't enough, we found ourselves back on campus on Sunday to watch a little blue-white scrimmage. Now, as a Jefferson Lakes Day Camp alumnus actuallus, I can tell you, I've participated in the blue-white scrimmage: it takes place on the final day of color war, and it involves throwing eggs at counselors. This, however, was much different.

The team went a little light on each other, but the talents still shone bright as ever. JROB put on a dunk contest of one, and Hall had some athletic plays. But possibly the best moment of the day came when RFS scored us some sick bracelets, and we snuck into the meet-the-team party.

As I was busy sampling various Cabot cheeses at a forlorn booth beside the Pirate Blue ticket desk (umm, in case you're wondering, horseradish cheddar by a mile) Dave was focused on cutting a line of tweens to win some sweet autographs. Probably the best moment was when JROB voiced his frustration that Stixie had signed in what he claimed was "his spot" on the poster. Comedian that he is, JROB then decided to pen his siggy right on Stix's face -- burn!!

So yes, this is a team with lots of talent, and yes, they're already fighting for their respective spots. But at least they have a sense of humor about it??

See you soon, SHU!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Romarsi Feast


Sitting through the raffle drawing at the booster club preseason dinner a few weeks ago, there was only one thing I set my eyes on winning. No, not the team autographed basketball. No, not the "Dream Seats" to an upcoming out of conference game. And no, not even a free lunch at Bunny's with Gonzo and the coaching staff. Rather, the one thing, and one thing only, that I set my eyes on was Romarsi's famed basil sauce and olive tapenade. So when Vince announced my name as the winner of the Grand Prize, I could not believe my luck!


Then, it occurred to me. What better way than to kick off the season than to have Ben over to my new apartment for a Romarsi feast? As the first guest to eat at my newly assembled Ikea dining room table, Ben and I chowed down on some gnocchi with basil sauce and olive chabatta bread with the olive tapenade, reminiscing about our apartment, fine Italian specialty foods, and, of course, Wawa.

After briefly discussing how a simple basil leaf could produce such an amazing sauce, the conversation quickly turned to tomorrow night's exhibition game against Carlton and the upcoming season. What would the starting five be? How many minutes would Big Mel play? Would Garcia get through the game with both knees intact? With Lisa subconsciously writing the name and number of her new favorite player in her dinner plate, Ben and I could not be happier. We were finally back in our element, discussing the ins and outs of Seton Hall basketball and, perhaps just as importantly, how we would get out to the game tomorrow night.


While the mystery of the basil leaf is still unresolved, one thing is for sure. Tomorrow marks the first game of what should be an unbelievable season. With all the prep work done, it's finally time for the games to begin. All the waiting is done. The curtains are drawn.

See you tomorrow night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gonzo Appeals to Clearinghouse; Wants 6 Starters

Over the past few years, SHU has been something of a household name at the NCAA (Publisher's) Clearinghouse. Just like "Kleenex" or "Burlington Coat Factory." So they must have cringed at little on Sunday when Bobby announced that this year's squad would actually have 6 starters: Harvey, Hazell, Lawrence, Stix, Pope, and Garcia.

Now as even Dave's girlfriend could tell you, basketball is played with only 5 players. So Gonzo's request must have raised quite the proverbial eyebrow.

In truth, it's a testament to the depth of our squad. Everyone had relegated Stix to the bench, until he literally put on a clinic at the actual SHU Clinic, proving to booster club luminaries that he deserved a spot. You're my boy, STIXIE!!

At Setonia, we couldn't be more excited about the caliber of our team this year. And even though we don't expect the Clearinghouse to grant us that 6th starting spot on the floor -- those damned traditionalists!! -- we've got our fingers crossed that good things will befall the Hall.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Cereal: Cap'n Stix


We just received word that a 3rd captain has been added!! None other than Cap'n Stix!!

At Setonia we feel this is a great choice. Not only is Cap'n Stix high in rich nutrients like teamwork and unselfishness, but it's also a great balance for the two other popular cereal options: Honey Nut Nunu's and Garcia Bone-Flakes.

As his first power move as captain, Stix very graciously volunteered that Herb Pope take his place at Big East Media "My name is Adam Zagoria and I'm suddenly important today" Day. Given all of Herb's off-the-court battles and hard work, Stix thought he deserved to represent the team. You just can't say enough about Sticky Icky.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Kids on the Block


No, this isn't Step by Step or Hangin' Tough, but Seton Hall is doing it's best Marky Mark impersonation and recently received verbal commitments from two highly touted high school recruits.


DaShaun Wiggins, a 6'2 wing guard from Brewster Academy, and Jesse Morgan, a 6'4 shooting guard from South Kent Prep, are the Hall's latest additions to its proverbial boy band. Wiggins, not to be confused with the much beloved BIG EAST referee Tim Higgins, will do his best to model his game after "Neon" Keon Lawrence and Morgan, who is known by some as "The Takeover," will officially be known from here on out as "Full House."


Looking forward to seeing these newbies at the exhibition game and listening to their falsetto during the national anthem.


Monday, October 12, 2009

WE'RE BAAAAACK, BABY!!


By the end of last season, Dave and I were exhausted. We knew we needed to take a break from our beloved blog.

After an entire summer of R & R, our literal lithium batteries are now fully recharged and we're pumped for the year ahead!! So much has changed in the world of SHU basketball... For starters, all of a sudden we're a good team! With the addition of Farrakahn "Genghis" Kahn, Jamel "King of Stop n' Pop" Jackson, plus our well-dressed transfers, and the subtraction of 40 pounds of Mel, we should contend with the big boys of the Big East.

We've signed two Hazell-wannabes in Kung Fuquan Edwin and Jesse "Full House" Morgan. Welcome to you both!

We've given Gonzo an extension and salary raise. "What's that, Kim?? A new living room??"

Of course, there have been updates in our personal lives as well. Summer is the season of love, and Dave succumbed. Leaving me high and dry like a washed out hall-of-fame jersey in the rafters, Dave recently chose to move in with his girlfriend (Lisa) while I found a new apartment for me and my girlfriend (blog).

While the separation has been difficult, we've decided that nothing can come between us and our first passion du' vie: Setonia!! It was in that spirit that we attended last month's incredible Booster Club dinner in South Orange.

Now, these events are great as a way to rekindle friendships. It was a blast seeing Vinny, Dick, Dan, Vince, Professor Ed, Paul, the whole gang! (We'll be starting a SHU Fan of the Month series soon... Stay tuned!!) But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the evening? THE FOOD!!

After three delicious heapings of chicken "Kevin" murphy, as we rode Dr. Adubato's coattails to the front of the line, I thought I was stuffed. Then came the auction!! And wouldn't you know it, Dave won the best prize of all: Romarsi's Basil Sauce!

At first, you might ask yourself, why is Basil Sauce being auctioned at a SHU Booster Club event? Secondly you might ask yourself, what's Basil Sauce if not pesto? The answer? Who knows. But I can tell you this -- Dave and I have been pouring the stuff on everything from Wheaties to Linguini, and it's absolutely delicious.

So, blog, I hope you have enjoyed this nourishment. This season will prove to be another adventure for us two intrepid fans. May the journey begin...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

International Trip Unsuccessful; Will Try Again


We all know that basketball has become an international phenomenon. Dirk Nowitzki. Pau Gasol. Yao Ming. Vlade "Dade-He Like to Party-He Dont Hurt Nobody" Divac. Steve Nash. Just to name a few.


With Seton Hall's own international star already come and gone - Nigeria's great Augustin Okosun - I took it upon myself to travel the world and find the next great rising international star, a la Kevin Bacon in "The Air Up There."


With the secret already out in China, South America, and much of Eastern Europe, I thought I would go where no basketball scout has gone before...Bangkok, Thailand. For the last two weeks, Setonia's own version of Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez and I travelled the depths of Thailand in search of the next (or first) great Thai basketball star.


What we found instead were Buddhist temples, pad thai food carts, elephants, and a plethora of massage parlors. However, there is no shame in trying and we left with our heads held high. Next stop: Papa New Guinea.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What's in a Name: Farrakhan Hall


With Ben currently in London on a recon mission scouting the very best Euro-trash talent and studying the history of our very own English language, I figured it was time for Setonia' second installation of "What's in a Name." The first installation proved to be an in-depth analysis of Gonzo journalism, researching the similarities between Hunter S. Thompson's writing style and our very own Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez. In an effort to honor the Hall's most recent recruit, this "What's in a Name" will explore the peculiarities and uniqueness of the name Farrakhan Hall.

First things first, lets begin with Hall's first name. The name Farrakhan has undoubtedly become synonymous in recent years with the controversial figure, Louis Farrakhan. However, a closer look at the name Farrakhan reveals the Central Asian term for "king" or "ruler" - i.e the long lost brothers, Genghis and Kublai. Putting aside the controversial Louis Farrakhan, if Hall can somehow tap into his Central Asian roots and learn from his ancient ancestors, I'd welcome his leadership and sovereignty with open arms.

Now, for the obvious part. Farrakhan has the distinct pleasure in being named for his future school...or is the other way around? One can only wonder how much of an impact having the same name as the school he was being recruited by had on his eventual decision to come to Seton Hall. Or, you can only wonder what was going through Derm's mind when he was scouring Konchalski's ratings and noticed Farrakhan Hall's name. Can you say love at first sight?

Whatever it is - his royal roots or eerily similar last name - I'd like to welcome Farrakhan Hall aboard this great Pirate ship. Just dont go pulling any stunts and name your children Setonia....

Friday, April 24, 2009

One Good Hall Deserves Another

Recruiting is a funny game. Despite all the hearsay, you never really know why kids end up where they do. Is it the promise of playing time? A school's academic reputation?

Is it the co-ed betties strategically placed throughout campus in tennis skirts during the official visit?

Is it Dr. Adubato Roboto hiding in the bushes, whispering words of encouragement, waiting with (Epi)pen in hand?

In this case, however, the answer was clear. On Wednesday at 1:30 pm, Ferrakohn Hall declared his intent to attend Seton Hall and it was obvious that the name of the school was a leading factor. Much as Aeneas proved unable to escape his destiny, Ferrakohn decided to accept his fate and choose a university with matching surname. Yes, truly this was a signing written in the stars.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Isn't this incest? Perhaps. But the bottom line is that everyone connected to the SHU program is so excited, nothing else really matters. As an academically strong, top high school prospect from Memphis, Ferrakohn is exactly what the Doctor Roboto ordered. With any bit of luck, he'll blossom into a very solid power forward and go on to a great 4-year career.

So, Ferrakohn, I hope you're listening. We welcome you with open arms.

(Note: the recruitment of Ferrakohn Hall opens the door for Dave's next installment of his "What's in a Name?" series. Stay tuned in the coming weeks.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

2 o'clock today!

This afternoon in Walsh gymnasium, prized JUCO recruit Cliff Dixon -- the brother's mother-in-law second cousin best friend forever twice removed of Kevin Durant -- will be balling it up with the SHU team. Dave and I can't be there, as hard-working adults, but if you're going to be on campus today, you should go. Show Cliff some love by snapping some shots... If you send them to Dave and myself, we'll post them here for all the world to see.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit


With the Kentucky Derby less than two weeks away, Ben and I thought it was about time we post some pictures from our trip to Kentucky and Ohio last month.

Click on the link below to get a small flavor of what the trip was like, what we saw and where we went.

http://picasaweb.google.com/drattner07/KentuckyTrip#


Vince, please feel free to use the slideshow as some sort of photo montage to the team during the Basketball Banquet on Wednesday....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Formula Solved!! Also, Is Mitts Davis on the Move?


Coming off a season with a mere 8 scholarship players, it would be easy to let your mathematical skills atrophy. This, of course, makes the achievements of our two winners all the more impressive.

Congratulations to two of SHU's biggest fans, SPK and Merge, for cracking our mathematical puzzle below!

Based on the projections of HallDan and other assorted Hall experts, Dave and I derived this formula while trying to hang a clock above our toilet a la Doc Emmett Brown. And just like the flux capacitor, this formula offers us a glimpse into the possibilities of the future -- as well as the past?!?!


We estimate that if Big Mel weighs in at 360 next season, that roughly would mean:

40 - 360/12 = 10 minutes per game


If he's able to cut down to 324, however, he's looking at more time:

40 - 324/12 = 13 minutes per game


Mel, think about it: 3 extra minutes. That's a lifetime for some insects. That's 3 servings of minute rice.

In all seriousness though, I want this kid to succeed so badly. From everything I hear, he's a really warm, kindhearted guy with the softest pair of mitts you've ever seen. So, Mel, if you're listening, work hard for the trainer and use this offseason to get yourself in the best shape of your life. Because losing those extra pounds won't just mean you'll play better on the court -- it also means you'll get more minutes on it. Not to mention the lifelong health benefit.

In your honor, I pledge to go the gym more often this summer. Because even though my bicep definition is mildly respectable (see video on right) my abs are still completely non-existent.

Secondly, on a separate note, Goodman of FoxSports is reporting that Mike Davis is looking to transfer. While it's not surprising news for anyone who follows the team, we can't confirm anything at this point. All I'll say is that Mike is one of my favorite guys on the squad, on-court struggles aside.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Formula... For Success??

At Setonia.blogspot.com, Dave and I understand that college basketball is all about student-athletes. While it's easy to focus only on what happens on the basketball court, one can't underestimate the value of walking into the library, sharpening your pencil, and writing a term paper with your very own mitts. It's the very essence of the undergraduate experience.

And while Dave and I tend to be more humanities-focused, given our penchant for exquisitely written blog entries, we recognize that mathematics is also a very important discipline. For that reason, we've cooked up a little mathematical challenge a la "Good Will Hunting" in the hopes that a genius janitor somewhere will rise to the occasion.

With that, we give you the intentionally ambiguously titled Formula For Success:

40 - x/12 = y ; where 250 < x < 400


In this formula, what's x and what's y?


So, any guesses????

We will provide hints as necessary. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking toward next year

After an entire season of looking ahead to next year, we now do the only thing left to do: look ahead toward next year. 

The expectations are high, both for us and the team. Will Herb Pope be the inside presence we've been desperately waiting for? Will I be able to maintain this furious blogging pace while assuring the same literary standard of excellence? Will Keon Lawrence be the same electric scorer that earned him the title of "Neon Pogo Stick." Will Dave ever successfully talk to a woman?

Yes, questions abound. And there are no certainties in life. But this much is clear: next year should be another wild ride. 

Why, you ask??

Oh, just a few reasons...

1) With Big Mel now poised to join the team, Dr. Roboto and Skin will be working around the clock to recruit a tailor skilled enough to create an XXXXXL jersey and matching shorts. And while you're at it, throw in a pair of blue leather driving mitts!

2) Now that Gonzo's been around for a couple years, the fan base is itching for some serious results. Nothing more fun than a little added pressure!

3) With our incoming triumvirate of transfers, what's the impact to our starting lineup? According to John Nash's game theory principles, is it possible that Keon, Harvey and Theodore all cancel each other out, opening the door for the Falcon to swoop in and claim what's rightfully his??

4) Now that the senior cheerleader of my dreams has graduated, who will fill the void? And what about flagman?

5) Last year's November trip meant a Puerto Rico vacation. Don't forget the suntan this time, Brett -- here we come, Alaska shootout!

6) With a number of high-profile Big East stars leaving for the NBDL, is the time poised for Seton Hall to regain its former glory?!?!? Onward Setonia!!!

Yes, it should be a wild, wild ride.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seton Hall: An Extended Portrait

It was midnight. Dave and I were mentally and physically exhausted. We were standing on the corner of 33rd St and 8th Ave, shivering cold. Mike Davis was towering over a hot dog stand. Pete and Matt were chilling on the sidewalk(on?). Stix was hunched over by the Penn Station entrance, his face beaten and worn as a catcher's leathery mitt. 

After pretty much every single game, Gonzo says the same exact thing: "a scratch-and-claw, fight-all-the-way, grind-it-out, physically demanding, character-building, typical Big East battle." Well, on this night, it was true. 

Facing a tough Syracuse team, which would later knock off UConn in a truly epic contest, we gave it everything we had. Overcoming a double digit deficit, we actually managed to take the lead for a brief moment. Then, everything went Jerry Springer. 

Garcia got into a shoving match. Brandon "Jennie Finch" Walters  delivered a slider strike to the chest of the Orangemen's streaking Euro. Harvey gave Devendorf the old two-finger salute to the throat.

Amidst thousands of screaming Syracuse fans, the vast majority of whom appeared to be slightly inebriated, highly obnoxious, upper-middle class dentists and assorted trade professionals, we knew then the game was over. With a number of technicals assessed, our shorthanded squad of valiant warriors became even more depleted.  

But suddenly, a strange calm came over me. As Devendorf rained threes, his tattoos flexing with each arm extension, I realized something. This is why I love the Hall. It's not because they win. If I wanted a perennial winner, I'd root for UConn. It's because they fight. Every night. 

Our team seriously lacks discipline. We take bad shots, overall -- late in the game, early in the count, at the refs, at the opposing team. Constantly, we lose our temper, and lose control as a result. 

But not unlike the classic Shakespearean tragic hero, it's exactly this flaw that makes our team so heart-wrenchingly compelling. 

Dave and I have led a fairly comfortable existence. We've been lucky -- we were raised in a world that largely provided for us. Perhaps this explains in part our unending admiration for the sacrifice our players make on a routine basis, many of whom have had to fight their entire lives. It's their sacrifice that makes ours seem so trivial by comparison: the long drive to Cincinnati, the vacation days from work. 

Over the next few weeks and months, Dave and I will continue to post about the past season. We'll upload more photos from Kentucky... Forthcoming Facebook interviews with the Falcon... Who knows, maybe even another video? We'll look ahead to next year, and stay hot on the recruiting trail. And you can bet we'll be hosting a NIT "wishful thinking" dance party! 

But as we celebrate this team, and everything they've overachieved, let's not forget the importance of a critical eye. To learn from this season, and grow as a team, we must learn from our mistakes.

By most measures, Gonzo has had a good season. He is a better coach than he was last year, and he continues to get the most of out his players. Given the limitations of his roster, most of which fall on him, he has responded triumphantly. However, there is one player with which I do question his judgement.

Perhaps no player on our team has had to fight more in his life than Mike Davis. And while he struggled mightily on the court for the vast majority of the season, battling a severe case of stone mitts, it was frequently frustrating to watch as Gonzo would pull him from the game after only a few seconds of game-time. (In one particularly uncomfortable moment against Syracuse, Gonzo sent Mike to the scorer's table, only to call him back to the bench.)

At the beginning of this season, most everyone agreed that Mike would be the key. Now, we have a number of high-profile transfers coming. But I would argue that Mike is still critical to our future success.

If you're listening Mike, I know you must be discouraged. But all I can say is this: Keep fighting. Keep working hard. Keep battling. 

Because if you keep fighting every day, and maybe cut down a little on the hot dogs, you'll become the player we all know you can be. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Channeling Mason, Hall Beats USF

In the same arena where Anthony Mason once played with messages shaved into his head, our gritty Hall team advanced tonight with a strong victory. With Stix and Hazell both rocking the Arsenio "Hall" look, with a few subtle grill-lines above the ears, our team fought hard to hold on to this one. Jordan and Eugene played strong at the point, and Dave did an admirable job filling in for flagman. (The school would have payed for him to come, but the flag would have been an extra ticket on the PATH.)

All in all, great win. Maybe enough to secure an NIT bid? Now, we get ready for tomorrow night's battle with the Cuse...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hall Escapes Fifth Third With a Win


Dave and I expect the very best from our players. We want them to give 110% every time. 

On this particular day, however, 110% would not be enough. Given that it was senior day on Cincinnati's home floor, we would need at the very least 5/3 effort, or 166.67%. (Go ahead, check my math, Pete!!)

Yes, that's correct. It took overtime, but our team battled and battled to leave Ohio's famous Fifth Third Arena with a win. Now, it wasn't easy, and even getting to the game proved a challenge. 

After sleeping through our alarm, Dave and I had to high-tail it out of Kentucky. Stopping by Sonic for a little fast food on the way, along with a quick thirty second reenactment of our favorite "reality-style" commercials, we pulled into the arena parking lot just in time. 

You can only imagine our exhilaration when we picked up our tickets at Will Call to find we would be sitting on the floor directly behind the bench!! Yes, there is a God! 

I can say with some certainty we were a part of the team today. When Paul Gause ran out of bounds, chasing a loose ball, Dave was there to give him a high-five. When John Garcia tossed his dirty sweat rag during a time-out, I was there to catch it in my expectant mitts. 

The game was a classic thriller, with a number of blown lay-ups later redeemed with clutch free throws. And while Dave and I were drastically outnumbered, there were a couple other Hall fans in attendance, most notably Sister Stix. Let's just say it's genetic!

For those of you who couldn't make it to arena, here a couple things you might have missed:

- Pistol Pete stands up and claps all the time. So much so that the UC student section would actually scream "Sit down Pete!!" Falcon, if they're calling your name, you must be doing something right!!

- After Stix missed a critical open lay-up at the start of overtime, Coach Bobby G very calmly and soothingly screamed in a earth-shattering voice "RELAX!!!!" Psychology students, this is what we might call a textbook case of the double bind.

- Although the crowd got very noisy towards the end, it was actually a pretty poor showing. Lots of empty seats.

- Nunu missed a couple of shots driving the hoop when it was very clear he was fouled. (From where we were sitting, we could hear the slaps.) Just showin' Eu some love...

All in all, a lot of heart. Okay, well soon our roadtrip adventure will draw to a close, as we prepare for a Big East tourney matchup with South Florida. But not before Dave and I hit up Ohio's famous Camp Washington for the world's best chili. 

America: A Literal Treasure Trove


Well, many of you are probably wondering what Ben and I have been up to since Seton Hall's loss to Lou-al-ville Wednesday night (hi mom and dad!). Realizing that we still had two days in this glorious state of Kentucky before we head to Cincinnati, Ben and I jumped in our rented Chevy Aveo and did the only thing we knew how to do; we Hazarded.  Below is our own highlight reel of our last two days in Kentucky:

- After grabbing a quick morning brew at a local cafe, Ben and I decided to try and wind our way to Fort Knox in an effort to take some gold souvenirs back home.  Wondering why none of the people we met ever suggested we go to Fort Knox, we soon figured out why as 3 armed guards quickly descended upon our Aveo as we entered the post.  Seizing our camera, cardinal head and Gonzo bobble head doll, the guards continued to question us as to why two guys from Jersey would be wondering around Fort Knox. The only two words we could muster were: Seton Hall. 

- Although razzled, the Fort Knox disaster did not deter us and we quickly continued to Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world.  Apparently there are other idiots like us and we even ran into a group of college students on spring break who were taking a road trip exploring caves throughout the midwest...who needs Cancun!?!?

- Starving after exploring the caves, we travelled off the beaten path a bit and ended up in Glendale, KY, population - 300.  You know you're somewhere special when the ice cream parlor doubles as the town's visitor center. 

- Now we all know a Seton Hall trip wouldnt be complete without some sort of gambling, so Ben and I naturally found ourselves at the Horshoe Casino Riverboat in Indiana. Wawa's number came up big for Ben, obviously still riding the high of the previous night's game. Dont worry Vince, the Ritz Casino was ten times better.

- We made a quick stop back to the hotel to freshen up before meeting up with Aimee, the hotel front desk worker who agreed to serve as our tour guide for the night. Riding in her Mitts-ubishi, top down, she took us to the entertainment district of Louisville. Good times were had by all.

- With today being our last day in Kentucky, we knew it had to be jam packed.  Starting the day off at the Louisville Slugger Museum was the only way we knew how to get started.

- Naturally, a trip to Kentucky wouldnt be complete without paying our respects to Daniel and Rebecca Boone in Frankfort. Little did we expect, but we also wound up in a State Senate hearing on energy conservation and the use natural resources. Lets just hope they heard our suggestions from the balcony.

- In a desperate attempt to relive our college years, we continued on to the University of Kentucky in a vain attempt to find the loves of our lives.  We found Rupp Arena instead, which was completely taken over by 605 UK college students who were participating in a 24 hour dance marathon fundraiser. Much to our dismay, Jodie Meeks was no where to be found. Disappointed, but not discouraged, we decided to give it one last go and wound up at a fraternity Beach Party at a local University of Louisville bar.  Unfortunately, I forgot my trunks.  

Well, that's basically what we've been up to. We'll have a report up tomorrow after our post game interview with a random security guard.             

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We Made It!!


After waking up at 4 am this morning to catch the Newark airport monorail, we finally arrived at Dayton, OH, and then drove into Kentucky just in time for today's epic matchup with the Cardinals of Louisville. Still smarting from last season's upset, along with the salt in the wounds of our internet sensation YouTube video, Dave and I were prepared for a tough battle. We could have never expected this, however.

First of all, if you've never been to Kentucky, here are a couple things you should know.

1. Everyone is incredibly nice. During tonight's game, Dave and I were bedazzled in our blue Booster Club fleeces, amidst an entire sea of red. Still, the Louisville fans embraced us with open wings, inquiring about our journey not unlike when Greek heroes of yore recited tales from sea. We dined on beef dogs and ice cream... Talked country music... Simply incredible.

2. They LOVE their basketball down here. Freedom Hall was absolutely rocking tonight, including the Farm equipment exhibition warehouse that connects to it, and the fans showed tremendous love for their graduating players. Most remarkable was the pregame video of Louisville's seniors, which featured T-Will singing a tribute to Louisville a la Tom Cruise from Risky Business. 

Tomorrow, we've got a big day planned... We'll take a tour of the Louisville Slugger museum, visit a couple Whiskey distilleries, ogle the thousands of blonde girls, etc. It should be great!

But here's a quick couple thoughts from the game, that you might have missed watching the game on TV:

- From where we were sitting, we had a great view of the court, and it was clear that Walters was a man possessed tonight. After Pitino called a timeout, Walters actually stared him down and brought out his patented walrus-clap as an intimidating gesture. Classic!

- During every stoppage of play, there's a blimp in Freedom Hall that circulates the arena, dropping coupons redeemable for free chocolate milk. Suffice it to say, it makes game action feel like a let-down.

- Not sure if it was clear on TV, but the Louisville team was having a lot of fun tonight, really soaking in the moment, making extra (sometimes unnecessary) passes. We, on the other hand, just looked very tired.

- Early in the game, as Seton Hall was making shots, and got off to an early lead, you could very clearly hear Pitino turn to his bench and say, "Tonight is our pay back." It was clear he was referencing last year's Hazell crush-fest.

- After the game, T-Will addressed the crowd for about a half hour with some very moving sentiments. The highlight came when he thanked all the assistant coaches, including "Little Rick."


Well, phew... I'm exhausted. Thank you to all who have supported us thus far, helping us along this journey. Special thanks to HallDan and the SHU coaching staff who do everything possible to make us feel a part of this great team.

More updates tomorrow on our Kentuckian adventures!

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Love


Love and basketball - two peas in a pod that seem to go together even beyond its famed movie title. Just as Seton Hall is always trying to recruit the best players to join their team for the following season, I am also always trying to court the best local prospects in an attempt to join forces with them for my own future.

Upon sending a text message to my top recruit letting her know that I will be in Kentucky until Sunday, I received the following response:

"Oh my god I cant believe it's already Kentucky. You and Ben must be flipping out. I hope that hezel guys hits his threes and gets the foul call...And that sticks performs and that garcias legs stay strong. And who knows maybe Davis wont foul out in two minutes and actually grab a rebound or two. Go shu!"

What do you think? Does she pass the test? Sure, there were some typos, but who ever said love was perfect?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hall Loses to Pitt, Technically


We should have known.

As we waited outside the arena at 7:27, left in the freezing cold by security guards who seemed not to understand the enormity of the night ahead, it was clear this was not going to be easy. As expected, the ceremony for Paul was very nice, and the fans responded with a standing ovation.

By the end of the night, however, we couldn't help but scratch our mitts in confusion. How did we receive three technical fouls, all coming as a result of comments directed to one zebra? How was it possible for our own home court statistician to award 5 steals in the first half to Harvey, but only one to hero-de-noir Paul Gause, who is chasing Seton Hall's all-time theft record?

At one time, the game had looked tantalizingly within reach, but in an instant it became a blow-out. Sam "Forever" Young, with his age-worn visage and leathery mitts, threw down thunderous mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper, paying homage to our own former Pirate great, Brian Laing.

After the game, it was a different story. With everyone gathered in the Ice Lounge, clamoring for a spot near the SNY camera, the atmosphere was electric. Then the players showed up. Garcia and I chilled, discussing our forthcoming trip to KY. Dave and Pete hung out, reviewing calculus problem sets and exchanging Aeropostale coupons. Overall, it was a great opportunity to be with the guys.

So, yes, technically we lost. On three technical fouls.

But in another way, it was a victory. We went down fighting and kicking (and jawing) as usual, just as Paul would have liked.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gause: The Legend


Tonight is going to be emotional for Dave and myself. Tonight we say goodbye to a legendary Pirate.

Paul Gause is the epitome of what makes Seton Hall basketball great. He gives everything he has, running around the court like a madman, swiping at the ball every chance he gets. In many ways, he's the perfect guard for Gonzo's "system."

But that's Paul the player. What you may not know is Paul the friend.

Dave and I first "friended" Paul on Facebook simultaneously about a year ago. Since then, we've been privileged to receive frequent status updates, everything from "Paul just added new photos..." to "Paul just changed his profile picture." But while his picture may change, I assure you he is as steady a man you'll ever meet. His relationship with Amelia is a model of respect and intimacy, and I can only hope to maintain myself with such dignity in my personal affairs.

Paul, what can I say? What haven't I already said?

We are like brothers. We travelled to West Virginia, Puerto Rico... and soon we'll see you in Kentucky.

Play your heart out tonight kid. Go beat Pitt.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And The Winner Is...


….Seton Hall!! After coming away empty handed from last night’s film festival, Ben and I were comforted in the fact that the true winners of the night were appropriately rewarded with a 75-60 victory over USF. While some hardware would have been nice, Ben and I would gladly trade a miniature statue for a victory any day of the week. However, I can’t help but wonder…was the lighting too dim? The music too loud? The choreography not timed correctly? The Hazell flop not emphatic enough?...Oh well, there’s always the next one.

Last night’s game against USF was a throw back to the Seton Hall of old. Eugene Harvey returned to the court after missing last Sunday’s St. John’s game. While Ben and I failed to win any awards, Nunu earned himself Setonia’s P.O.G award. Congrats Nunu! Jeremy Hazell, despite battling an apparent chest cold, was back to making shots he shouldn’t be taking and nailing 3 pointers (4-9 from the arc). And, in classic Seton Hall form, we got absolutely murdered in the paint in the first half. While the second half offset some of the statistics, it was an absolute bloodbath down there for the first twenty minutes. If South Florida’s “Nobody #1” and “Nobody #2” can dominate us down low like that, imagine what will happen Saturday night when big, bad Pittsburgh comes to town?

Speaking upcoming games, we here at Setonia would like to make an announcement (Hear ye, Hear ye!). After the Saturday night game against Pitt, Ben and I will be stuffing our life possessions into whatever rental car we can get our mitts on and making the long trek out to Louisville, Kentucky. Why, you may ask? To see the Louisville game, duh! Realizing that the Hall’s only chance of beating Louisville is to bring the Cardinal mascot head to Kentucky, the three of us (Ben, myself and Cardinal) will be sitting courtside at Freedom Hall, using the Cardinal head as some sort of voodoo doll to cast evil spirits upon Rick Pitino and his Louisville team. After successfully casting spells upon Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, we will travel north several days later to do the same to Deonta Vaughn and his Cincinnati Bearcats team.

It should be the trip of a lifetime and stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We'd like to thank the academy...


Dave and I have been pretty taken with the Oscars this season. Between the success of "mid-majors" like Slumdog Millionaire, and the compelling performances of Kate "Cinderella" Winslet, we've had Hollywood on our minds. For that reason, we decided to enter our acclaimed YouTube video in a film festival.

Now, it's true, we're not exactly your artsy types. Our idea of a fun afternoon is an over-priced slice of La Famiglia Pizza, watching a nail-biter against Delaware. But if it means more people will watch our tribute to Seton Hall, we'll do anything.

The festival will take place in the Crooked Knife bar between Madison and Park on 30th street. Our video will be shown at around 11pm on Wednesday, if any fellow filmophiles would like to stop by. We'll be rushing to get there after the USF game, with our black berets in tow.

We've already been nominated for a number of categories:

1. Best Cardinal in a Supporting Role

and

2. Best Coaching Antics to a Kanye West Solo

Monday, February 23, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again, Hall Loses 70-65

Even more destructive than Seton Hall's trips to Marquette has been the Hall's recent trips to Carnesecca Arena in Queens to take on local rival St. John's. While it would have been nearly impossible to replicate last year's heartwrenching loss to the Johnnies, SHU managed to come close, losing this year 70-65. Other than the first 5 minutes of the game in which the Hall was 4-5 from the arc, this contest was a heated battle between two schools fighting to save face.


Carnesecca Arena, a throw back gymnasium with supposedly fewer seats than our own Vinman's high school gym, creates a great environment to watch a game and makes for a true home court feel - something that MSG nor the Prudential Center offers. With the student section bumping and Lou Carnesecca's imprint literally everywhere, St. John's was definitely fueled by the crowd's boisterous support and inspired by its own Senior Night. However, this is no excuse for our sloppy play, failure to box out and general lackluster effort.


In a game mired by turnovers and missed rebounds, there was one bright spot on the evening. After being disciplined during the Marquette game, Mike Davis used the extra time to soften up his mitts and came out strong against St. John's, having his best BIG EAST game of the season. While he only had 5 points, Mike grabbed 7 rebounds and helped anchor Seton Hall's best lineup of the season - featuring Garcia, Stix, Hazell, Theodore and Mitts of Stone himself. Hopefully this will give him an added boost of confidence as we finish up the season and head into the BE Tournament.

******

In more positive news, congratulations to Jeremy Hazell on becoming the 37th player to reach 1,000 career points. Only a sophmore, we at Setonia would love to see Jeremy reach 2,000 points. Only 1,000 more to go big guy - see you at the finish line!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SHU Forgets to Get Off Plane; Loses 79-67


Playing Marquette has turned into an ugly affair for the apartment Ben and I currently rent to run our Setonia blog operation. For the second straight away game vs. Marquette, yet another poster was devastatingly ripped from our Ikea-laden apartment, signaling a sense of frustration that one only experiences after being "oh-so-close."

After playing subpar basketball for the first 20 minutes yet still somehow leading 37-34, the team managed to somehow revert to playing at an 8th grade level and was outscored 45-30 in the second half. Were it not for a couple of Hazell rainmakers in the last several minutes of the game, the score would have been even more lopsided.

What happened in the second half of tonight's basketball game will probably be studied by scientists (Dr. Adubato), dermatologists (Derm) and economists (Kaz) for years to come. Why was it that senior co-captain Paul Gause and rookie sensation Jordan Theodore were the only two players to show up to tonight's game? Well, I'm going to try and answer that question the only way I know how...by asking more questions...

- Why was Jeremy Hazell so reluctant to drive to the hoop the way he had been doing so all seasion? Was his neck still bothering him?

- Where was Stix Mitchell tonight? Did he forget his legs in the plane's overhead compartment?

- Why did Mike Davis not play one single minute? Can he really be any worse than Wawa?

- With 5 minutes left and Marquette up 25 pts, why did Gonzo pull fan favorite Matt Cajuste in favor of Wawa? Wawa had yet to register a single positive statistic in the box score and Cajuste had just blocked a shot...

- After another solid effort by Jordan Theodore and another mental vacation for Eugene Harvey, do we see the freshman get the start against St. John's this coming Sunday?

Those were just a few of the questions Ben and I had as we watched our beloved Pirates get brought back down to earth by the Golden Eagles. Hopefully on Sunday there will be some answers.