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Non-Conference Preview: Seton Hall Pirates

Previewing the Seton Hall Pirates who are coming to Kansas City.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s nearly basketball preview season, so we’re going to keep teasing that part of the year with this weekly series of looking at Missouri’s non-conference slate. The good news is the slog of looking at boring opponents is over. All the buy games have been wrapped up, and even the so-so high major teams are done. We’re down to just three teams left.

But we’ve still got one more preview to hit before we get into the #HATE. We’re going to poke around Seton Hall prior to jumping in on Billy and Bradley.

Here are the dates (complete with any links to previous previews):

Mizzou plays Seton Hall in Kansas City in mid-December. They’re sandwiched in between the two big rivalry games and it’s one you definitely don’t want to overlook. The Hall play a lot like their coach; they’re tough and experienced and they’re looking to have a bounce-back season. Let’s dive in!

Head Coach | Shaheen Holloway | 2nd season 17-15

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

There are few college basketball fans who don’t fondly remember the St. Peters run to the Elite 8 a few years ago. They were led by a group of tough guards and athletic forwards, and they ran great offense and ran out a host of shot-makers before losing to North Carolina. Those Peacocks were led by former Seton Hall guard and McDonald's All-American point guard, Shaheen Holloway.

Holloway patrolled the sidelines and exuded confidence, and his 15-seeded St. Peters club followed his lead in taking down 2-seed Kentucky, 7-seed Murray State, and then 3-seed Purdue in the best run a 15-seed team has had in the NCAA Tournament.

Holloway didn’t need the majestic NCAA Tournament run to be offered the job at Seton Hall. He was the favorite to land the role even before the run began. After Holloway’s Hall of Fame playing career at SHU, he spent some time playing professionally before ultimately joining the coaching ranks with Kevin Willard at Iona. Willard then took the job at Seton Hall and brought Holloway with him. So when Willard left for Maryland it made all the sense in the world to bring Holloway back home, and that’s exactly what happened. The NCAA Tournament run just delayed the announcement by a few weeks. Holloway’s first season was a bit bumpy, but he’s a bright young coach who should have the Hall back in the NCAA Tournament before too long.

Series History | Seton Hall leads 1-0

How many of you were watching when the Pirates, led by Terry Dehere, pushed the Missouri Tigers around in Anthony Peeler’s final game at Mizzou? Peeler was terrific in this second-round matchup, and he dropped 28 points in 39 minutes. But it wasn’t enough to combat the more balanced attack from Seton Hall, who had five players in double figures, but one of them wasn’t current UConn head coach Dan Hurley. He only chipped in five points.

Missouri lost that game by 17 points as things got away from them in the second half. Seton Hall shot 38 free throws, which may have helped them expand the lead that much. Especially after both Melvin Booker and Jeff Warren fouled out, and every other Tiger who played more than one minute had 4 fouls with the exception of Lamont Frazier who had 3.

What about the team now?

Holloway is bringing back quite a few guys who played for him last season, including 3 of his top 4 scorers in Al-Amir Dawes, Kadary Richardson and Dre Davis. Those three players scored about 42% of the Pirates' points a season ago. Dawes is a skilled point guard who transferred in from Clemson last season. Kadary Richardson is a super-talented and sometimes infuriating player who can carry a team when he’s playing well. And Davis is a big physical wing defender.

Gone is graduate KC Ndefo, who also played at Saint Peters under Holloway, as well as Tyrese Samuel, who transferred to Florida for his final season, and Tray Jackson, the former Missouri Tiger who transferred to Michigan, and Femi Odukale, who opted for New Mexico State. In all, the Pirates lost 7 players to the transfer portal, but just Samuel, Jackson, and Odukale averaged more than 10 minutes a game. Alexis Yetna also left for Fairfield, but Yetna missed all of 2022-23 and his 7th season in College Basketball after redshirting his freshman season at South Florida in 2017-18.

In return, Holloway added players from Austin Peay, St. John’s, Santa Clara, and Boise State from the portal. Three of the four were frontcourt additions with Elijah Hutchins-Everett averaging 11.5 ppg and 5.5 rebounds at Austin Peay, Jaden Bediako averaging 6 points and 4.9 rebounds at Santa Clara, and Sadraque NgaNga barely playing at Boise. Immediate help in the backcourt should come via Dylan Adda-Wusu who averaged almost 10 ppg at St. Johns last season.

Seton Hall is likely to be picked in the bottom half of the Big East this season, but that’s really not that bad. They should be better than perpetual basement dwellers DePaul, as well as better than Butler. Likely ahead of them right now is a slate of likely NCAA Tournament teams, and possibly a couple programs hitting resets with new coaches... because those new coaches are Rick Pitino and Ed Cooley.

So yeah, I expect Seton Hall to be very good, but the Tigers will hopefully still have the advantage playing this game in Kansas City.