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Syracuse vs. Seton Hall: "Sold Out" Except For All Those Empty Seats

What is it with Big East opponents and their weird ticket issues these days?

You're well-versed in the whole Georgetown kerfuffle. Now, Seton Hall is touting the news that this Saturday's game against Syracuse is "sold out." If you were hoping to show up and get tickets, don't fret. Upon closer inspection, the claim is slightly suspect.

First of all, there's the fact the Pirates don't exactly use the full seating potential of the Prudential Center, which makes it slightly less impressive than it sounds. Then there's the fact that tickets are, in fact, still available:

A very limited number of $10 tickets will be available the day of the game at the Prudential Center Box Office only.  The box office will open at 10:00 a.m. on January 8.  There is a limit of four tickets per person.  Seton Hall Student Section tickets are completely sold out for the Syracuse game.

As we noted yesterday, the Pirates will be without star Jeremy Hazell. The one guy on the roster that could strike legitimate fear into the heart of Orange fans is out after the scary shooting incident that left him wounded a few weeks back. The incident is a stark reminder for Syracuse players of the dangers that exist off the court, especially back home. C.J. Fair knows this all-too-well.

C.J. Fair learned how random violence can ruthlessly strike even the most athletic and most promising of teenagers. A day before Fair came to Syracuse last summer, his AAU teammate John Crowder succumbed to gunshot wounds. Baltimore police found the 6-foot-7 Crowder in a pool of blood in a yard in Northeast Baltimore. Crowder, who had been recruited by Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson and St. Joseph’s, later died at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 17.

"Every time I go home I do worry about stuff like that," Fair said. "I’m just happy I made it out of the environment I was in. When I do go home, I’m conscious of things. Know my surroundings. Not go nowhere by myself. Or be outside at like 3 o’clock in the morning. Once I got to high school I learned how crazy it can get sometimes."

Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson and Dion Waiters all have stories from growing up in Philadelphia as well.

As for the on-court issues that Orange players can control, The Juice has two pieces about how the Orange are benefiting from their non-Rick Jackson-y players. First up is some notice on Dion Waiters, who is impacting the game in ways that don't always show up on the stat sheet:

"He had some good secondary passes," Boeheim said. "He didn’t necessarily get assists, but he made some important plays to people. He didn’t shoot very well, but he still made some good plays. He made a couple good defensive plays and had a really good first half."

The second piece is about how the Orange benefited from a smaller line-up against Notre Dame last week. It's a match-up that could pose problems for the Pirates as well:

Rather than having Jackson chase shooters out on the perimeter, the senior patrolled the paint, collecting a career-high six blocks.

That allowed the Orange to pester the Irish on the perimter as SU held the Irish to just 42 percent from the field. Prior to the game, the Irish was the second best team in the country in shooting at 52 percent a game.

That doesn’t bode well for Seton Hall, who already has trouble scoring. The Pirates are 291st in the NCAA in field goal percentage, shooting just 40.4 percent, and 214th in scoring, at 67.9 points per game.

Over at The Blog Formerly Known As GonzoBall, South Orange Juice, they see two critical areas the Pirates must excel in to have a chance. Both involve a whole lot of movement.

The Pirates MUST get two things to even have a ghost of a chance against a defense like the Orange's: BALL MOVEMENT and MAN MOVEMENT. If the Pirates' offense stalls, they might as well give the Orange the W right now. Since the Pirates don't have Jeremy Hazell for this game like they did for the last game against Syracuse, they cannot settle for threes if they hope to compete in this game. The way to beat a 2-3 zone is with ball movement, with specific attention paid to trying to get the ball to two areas- the high post and the short corner on either side. Those are where the normal gaps are in that zone, so it is crucial that they look for Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope in those areas. If Robinson shoots threes in this game, the Pirates are doomed. They need all the help they can get on the boards against the massive Orange front line.

If you're wondering how the Hall and Cuse match-up all-time, it's not even a contest. Syracuse leads the all-time series 44-15. That includes a stretch between 1981 and 1991 when SU never lost. The Orange have won four-straight over the Pirates.