Hoops Preview: Buckeyes Head South To Face Seton Hall In Fort Myers Tip-Off Semis

Ohio State is in Fort Myers, Florida this week to take part in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip Off featuring Beach Division Semifinals between OSU and Seton Hall as well as California and Florida. There are also four smaller schools taking part in the Palms Division. That division features a pair of semifinal matchups between Southern Utah and Yale, and also Milwaukee and Bowling Green. Ohio State beat BG in the opening round when the two teams meet in Columbus a week ago.

The championship game of the Beach Division will take place Wednesday, as will the consolation game.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked 19th in the AP poll, but that will change when the poll comes out later today thanks to last weekend’s loss to Xavier. Seton Hall, meanwhile, comes into tonight’s game 3-0 on the season with their most recent win being a 67-65 victory over No. 4 Michigan as part of the Gavitt Tip-Off Games.

Opening Tip

Who: No. 19 Ohio State vs. Seton Hall
What: Men’s Basketball
Where: Fort Myers, FL — Suncoast Credit Union Arena
When: Monday, 6:00 (FS1)
Why: Because snowbirds play basketball too.
Line: Seton Hall -1.5, O/U 138.5

The Buckeyes

Buckeye Game Notes

+ Ohio State is 3-2 all-time against Seton Hall. The teams last met in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, splitting a home-and-home series, with each team winning on its home floor. The last meeting in 2003 was a 75-59 Seton Hall win in New Jersey. The Seton Hall matchup will have a couple of interesting ties. Ohio State’s Seth Towns and Seton Hall’s Bryce Aiken were teammates at Harvard from 2016-20. New Buckeye assistant coach Tony Skinn spent the previous three seasons on the staff at Seton Hall before coming to Columbus this summer.

+ In the game at Xavier on Nov. 18, E.J. Liddell did his best to pull the Buckeyes out of an 11-point first-half hole. He finished the night with a game-high 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots. He is just the third Ohio State player in program history with at least 17 points and eight or more blocks in a game. Herb Williams had 20 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks vs. Iowa on Jan. 7, 1978. Brad Sellers did it in an NCAA Tournament game as he had 23 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks vs. Louisiana Tech on March 24, 1986.

+ Ohio State forward Justice Sueing will be out for an extended period of time after having an abdominal injury evaluated earlier this week. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native will rehab the injury and is expected to return sometime this season. “We look forward to getting Justice back when he is healthy,” said head coach Chris Holtmann. “I’m disappointed for him because I know how much he is looking forward to his senior year. I know he will rest, rehab and be ready to go when he is healthy.” The fifth-year senior is in his third year with the program. He played and started all 31 games last season and was third on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg.

The Seton Hall Pirates

What You Need To Know

+ The Pirates’ 67-65 win at No. 4 Michigan was the program’s 10th all-time win over an Associated Press top-five ranked team and their first-ever on the road against a non-conference opponent. Seton Hall has now overcome a double-digit, second-half deficit on the road against a Big Ten team in back-to-back seasons. The Pirates trailed by 11 last week vs. Michigan and last season the Pirates rallied from down 19 to win at Penn State.

+ Head coach Kevin Willard is 10-5 against Big Ten teams in his Seton Hall tenure.

+ The Pirates rank 16th nationally in adjusted defense by KenPom and have held their first three opponents to 65 points of less on 8-of-60 shooting from three-point range (13.3 percent).

+ The Pirates return four of their top six scorers from last season, add three transfers who have combined for over 1,400 career Div. I points scored and bring in a top-25 rated freshman recruiting class that will help Seton Hall once again compete for another conference championship and NCAA Tournament bid. The Pirates were picked to finish fifth in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll and senior Jared Rhoden (Baldwin, N.Y.) was named Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. In head coach Kevin Willard’s 11 seasons, the Pirates have met or exceeded their preseason poll rank eight times.

+ Through three games, the Pirates have seven players that average at least 9.0 points per game and four players averaging double figures. No Seton Hall player is averaging more than 25.5 minutes per game. Graduate student Myles Cale (Middletown, Del.) is tied for ninth in program history with 128 career games played and ranks 43rd all-time in Seton Hall scoring history with 1,020 points. Just two full seasons and three games into his Seton Hall career, graduate student Ike Obiagu (Abuja, Nigeria) is tied with Glenn Mosley for No. 8 on the Pirates’ all-time blocks list with 125.