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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / April 13.
  • By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NEW YORK — Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard likes to make sure his team plays at least one game at Madison Square Garden before the Big East Tournament in March.

    This year, especially, Willard wants his young team to get familiar with the Garden environment so it won’t be completely new to them come March.

    This year, their first game at the Garden just happens to come against No. 9 Kentucky (7-1) on Saturday at noon.

    “I always like to get a neutral-site game in the Garden before the Big East Tournament,” Willard told me Wednesday at the Learfield Athletics Forum in Manhattan, where he was supporting Mike Nzei.

    “It’s such a great privilege playing in the Garden, but it’s also the first time you play in there could be a little daunting so obviously playing an unbelievable team like Kentucky is a huge challenge but it’s also a great opportunity for our guys to get in the Garden, play against a great team and see where we’re at.”

    Seton Hall is 8-3 at the Garden since 2016, including a Big East Tournament championship win over Villanova in 2016.

    Willard, who on Tuesday won his 200th career game, has never faced Kentucky coach John Calipari. Kentucky and Seton Hall last met at the Great Alaska Shootout in 1988.

    “What does he have, 9,000?” Willard joked of Calipari, who is actually coming up on 700 career wins.

    By JACOB POLACHECK

    Hunter Dickinson, the 7-foot-2 center from DeMatha Catholic (MD), has taken official visits to Notre Dame (Sept. 1) and Purdue (Oct. 19). He broke down each visit for ZAGSBLOG Tuesday:

    Notre Dame: “Their pitch centered around the DeMatha family they have there. With [assistant coach] Rod Balanis and DJ Harvey [both DeMatha products], I won’t be going into an unfamiliar situation. Also, they can offer me something none of the other schools can offer and that’s a Notre Dame degree.”

    Purdue: “They love big men. Their success with all the big men they’ve had under coach [Matt] Painter is appealing.”

    Dickinson was also on campus at Maryland last month (Nov. 28) to see the Maryland vs. Virginia game.

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