It’s called the “Fu Effect,” named for the impact Seton Hall senior forward Fuquan Edwin can have on a game. It could be bouncing around during pregame warm-ups to get himself and his teammates amped. Or it could be something like he did Wednesday night against Butler in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Part of the “Fu Effect” is being active on defense. The 6-foot-6, Paterson, N.J., product was active and disruptive in the finals seconds when the Bulldogs were looking to score the potential game-winning basket. Seton Hall led 51-50 when Butler guard Kellen Dunham drove the lane. As the Pirates converged, he tried to pass the ball. Edwin anticipated the pass and caused a deflection that led to a steal and a Butler foul with four seconds left. The next shot Butler would take was a desperate half-court heave at the buzzer that never a chance. The “Fu Effect” indeed. “I saw him drive toward baseline,” Edwin said. “I tried to read him and I knew he was running into the trouble. I just anticipated the pass and came up with it.” The 51-50 victory evened Seton Hall’s record at 16-16 and avenged two regular-season losses to Butler (14-17), including a 71-54 defeat last Saturday in Indianapolis. The Pirates hung on after blowing a 13-point lead with 9:45 left in what was the first tournament game played under the new configuration of Big East teams. This tournament might lack the marquee schools and personalities that made the league must-see television. But survive and advance means as much in the new Big East as it did before the conference was revamped after the departures of UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt, and Rutgers. The reward for the champion on Saturday remains just a valuable: a trip to the NCAA Tournament. It’s why Seton Hall, seeded eighth in the 10-team field, has hope Thursday despite playing top-seeded Villanova. “We’re trying to take it all the way,” said Edwin, who scored 10 points against Butler. “We believe in ourselves.” That’s why the Big East Tournament still means something. If the fans spoiled by the talent that passed through the Garden over the past 30 years can’t warm up to the new format, the passion of the players and coaches still runs hot. To Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, the atmosphere wasn’t much different than years past when he participated as a player and a coach. “It’s awesome. It really is,” he said. “Just playing in the Big East Tournament, just getting a ‘W’ in the Big East Tournament, it’s a great feeling.” Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino might be gone, but Cinderella might still make an appearance. At least that’s what Seton Hall is hoping. The Pirates will be given little chance of beating Villanova. They lost both regular-season games to the Wildcats, but this time of year isn’t called March Madness for nothing.
Teams are different, but Big East passion remains
New York Post | Mar 13