Does Seton Hall have enough time to make the NCAA Tournament?
Seton Hall will need a strong finish in order to get on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Seton Hall visited Indianapolis, Indiana and fell to Butler 70-68 on Saturday. Myles Powell scored 21 points, but the Pirates were unable to overcome a late deficit completely. Except for a few costly possessions, Seton Hall played a good game. They won the rebounding battle, turned the ball over only ten times and shot 48 percent from the field. It was just too little, too late for the Pirates.
The Hall now has a week off until they welcome Creighton to the Prudential Center on Saturday. At 13-9 and 4-6 in Big East play, the Pirates face an uphill battle to make their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. With eight games remaining before the Big East Tournament, Seton Hall would need to win seven of their last eight to hit 20 wins. For an NCAA berth, 20 wins would be the magic number that the selection committee would look at positively. With seven wins, that would also put the Pirates at 11-7 in the conference, another positive for the committee.
Their remaining schedule features two games against Creighton, who are currently 3-5 in conference, and a game against Xavier. The Musketeers, who lost coach Chris Mack to Louisville, sit in last place in the Big East. Add in two games against the up-and-down Georgetown Hoyas, and that’s five winnable games for the Pirates. St. John’s, Villanova and Marquette round out the remaining schedule for Seton Hall. Getting to the magic number of 20 wins is not impossible.
The issue at hand is and has been finding a second option to Myles Powell consistently. Powell will score his points and opponents know this. Opponents also know that if they can shut down other players around Powell, they will most likely defeat Seton Hall. Myles Cale and Quincy McKnight have stepped up over the last couple of games, but it has been two games. Add in a bench that is void of any scoring punch, and you are left with one explosive guard in Powell and supporting characters with no viable sidekick.
Rebounding has also been an issue as Seton Hall is averaging just 34 rebounds a game, good for 254th in the nation (eight out of ten in the Big East). With the return of 7’2” Romaro Gill, it added a big body in the middle to grab rebounds. However, he is still a raw player so that leaves Taurean Thompson and Sandro Mamukelashvili to be the guys to handle rebounding. Thompson has been a disappointment since transferring from Syracuse so now would be time to step up for the forward.
Just because Seton Hall’s schedule is somewhat favorable, doesn’t mean that they can take it easy. They are in a dogfight to return to the NCAA Tournament and their backs are against the wall. Kevin Willard is one of the best coaches in the country in getting the best out of his players in situations like this. It is time for Seton Hall to play like the team that started the season 9-3 and make the rest of the Big East remember who they are.