June 30, 2014
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The Seton Hall men’s basketball team’s 2014-15 non-conference schedule has been finalized. The Pirates 12-game out-of-league schedule features six home dates which includes meetings with archrival Rutgers and 2014 NCAA Tournament participant George Washington. The Hall will play three games in the 2014 Ezybonds Global Payments U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam taking on Nevada in the opening round, as well as road tests at Wichita State, South Florida and Georgia.
Seton Hall is slated for a total of 15 home contests as part of a 30-game regular-season with a true round-robin BIG EAST format. The Pirates open the season on Nov. 16 at the Prudential Center against reigning Atlantic Sun champion Mercer. The Bears matched a program record with 27 wins in 2013-14 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting Duke.
“This is a well-balanced schedule that will challenge us in a variety of settings and against different styles of play,” said head coach Kevin Willard. “Many of these programs are on the rise and have experienced success in recent years. We believe this mix of opponents will challenge our team early in the season as we look to build towards BIG EAST play.”
The Pirates travel to St. Thomas, USVI to compete in the Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands from Nov. 21-24. The Hall will meet Nevada for the first time in program history on Nov. 21 televised live on CBS Sports Network, and then will take on either Clemson or Gardner Webb. The Pirates and Clemson have history in the event, battling in an overtime thriller at the 2010 Paradise Jam. The Tigers are coming off a 23-win campaign and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) semifinals.
The Hall’s third game of the Paradise Jam will be against one of the four teams from the opposite side of the bracket which all advanced to the 2014 postseason in LSU, Old Dominion, Illinois State and Weber State. LSU won 20-games and played in the NIT, while Old Dominion and Illinois State appeared in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Weber State was the Big Sky Tournament champion earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
CBS Sports Network will air six games at the Paradise Jam with the remainder of the contests streamed live on ParadiseJam.com.
Seton Hall begins a three-game homestand on Nov. 29 when it welcomes George Washington to the Prudential Center. The Colonials posted a 24-9 overall record and finished third in the Atlantic 10, which produced six NCAA Tournament teams. Three days later, the Pirates will face off with the third reigning conference champion on the non-league slate hosting Mount St. Mary’s on Dec. 2. The Mount took the 2014 Northeast Conference (NEC) crown to earn its second NCAA Tournament berth in the last seven years.
Rutgers makes its first visit to the Prudential Center as a member of the Big Ten on Dec. 6 for the 66th meeting between the New Jersey rivals in a series that dates back to 1916. Eighteen of the last 20 contests have been decided by six points or less or in overtime. Seton Hall holds a 36-29 advantage all time versus the Scarlet Knights. The Pirates rallied to a 77-71 victory in Piscataway last season in the first contest of an eight-year agreement.
The Pirates will play three of their next four games away from home beginning with a Dec. 9 date at Wichita State. The Shockers enjoyed a historic 2013-14 campaign winning an NCAA record 35 straight games before falling to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament third round. Wichita State returns a highly talented backcourt in junior Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and senior Tekele Cotton who helped lead the Shockers to the No. 2 overall ranking in the final Associated Press Poll.
“Adding a perennial power in Wichita State certainly bolsters our non-conference schedule,” said Willard. “This will be an early season test for us playing in one of the most energetic arenas in college basketball against a veteran team that has experienced a great deal of success in recent years.”
Seton Hall embarks on a two-game road swing after hosting Saint Peter’s on Dec. 14. The Pirates travel to USF on Dec. 18 followed by a meeting at Georgia on Dec. 21, which guarantees at least six and possibly seven 2014 postseason qualifiers on the Pirates’ non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs recorded 20-wins last season and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
The Hall wraps up the out-of-conference schedule on Dec. 27 at historic Walsh Gymnasium against Maine. It will be the second meeting all-time between the programs.
The 2014-15 Pirates roster will feature a blend of experience and touted newcomers who look to continue the momentum from Seton Hall’s run to the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament semifinals. Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.) ranks among the top returning players in the conference in scoring (13.2/game) and assists (4.2/game), while Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) was rated one of the top freshman in the league last year earning BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors. The Hall welcomes a nationally ranked recruiting class that includes McDonald’s All-American and New York Mr. Basketball award winner Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln). Seton Hall’s 2014-15 class is rated as high as 12th in the nation according to major recruiting services.
Season tickets, which will include the five non-conference Prudential Center games and the nine BIG EAST Conference opponents, are currently on-sale. The Seton Hall Athletic Ticket Office is accepting $150 deposits for season tickets. For available seat locations and to get in on the action at the Prudential Center, call the ticket office at (973) 275-HALL (4255) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.