Want an indication of how far Seton Hall has come?
“We had Victor Cruz in the locker room,” Pirates coach Kevin Willard said with a laugh. “He wasn’t at MSG watching (the Knicks).”
“Everybody says ‘You gotta be happy about this one.’ Well, I just met Victor Cruz. I’m more happy about that,” he jokingly continued.
Cruz, a native of Paterson, N.J., received a huge cheer after it was announced that he was courtside.
With a win against Providence on Saturday, Seton Hall (13-2) likely assures itself a spot in the Top 25.
Expect UConn to take a tumble after its worst loss of the year (at least the Huskies played well for half of the UCF game).
Some other quick notes:
* Seton Hall snapped an 11-game losing streak versus UConn. Prior to Tuesday’s victory, the Hall had lost 25 of 27 to the Huskies.
* UConn turned the ball over on nearly 40 percent of its first half possessions. There were plenty of other issues, too. The Huskies couldn’t keep Seton Hall off the offensive glass, they couldn’t stop SHU’s transition and they couldn’t get the ball inside.
“They made more hustle plays at some points in the game,” said UConn shooting guard Jeremy Lamb. “They played hard, they made shots and played good defense.”
*According to Willard, Seton Hall played seven possessions of man-to-man the whole game. He threw out another interesting stat: Apparently, the Pirates aim for 40 deflections per game. Against UConn, he said they had 39.
* Obviously, the jokes weren’t exactly flying on the UConn side, but I have to hand it to Willard. He’s the funniest coach I’ve come across so far.
Here’s a quick exchange during the press conference:
Q: “In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you’d be emptying the bench against UConn?”
A: “Yeah, just the other way around…kind of like I did against Syracuse (in a 75-49 loss).”
O.K, maybe it sounded funnier in person. Trust me, the guy’s a riot.
* Willard on the whole Drummond/Herb Pope thing: “That was one of the stupidest things I’ve read. Andre Drummond…why would he know who Herb Pope was? He probably knew who No. 15 was. He probably doesn’t know the name. That’s how we do it — stop No. 2, stop No. 14. If I told Freddie Wilson to stop Vincent Council, he’d be like ‘Who the heck is that?’ It doesn’t mean they don’t watch film. You play so many games against so many great players — it’s just one of those things.”