With all the craziness of the Big East come March, there is always a lot of talk, predictions, controversy, and shocking upsets. All one can assume is that it will not be different this year. However, if you’re looking for a team to root for that might have a shot at Madison Square Garden for their conference tournament, look no farther than Newark, New Jersey.
The Seton Hall Pirates are a high tempo team that has a lot of good shooters and takes teams out of their offensive rhythm. They are one of the most underrated teams in the Big East and may have the most potential out of the teams in the bottom of the standings.
They are a lot of fun to watch and they score a lot of points. They are in the top part of the Big East in scoring with an average of 81.5 points per game, with 22.6 of those come from junior leader Jeremy Hazell.
They started off their season red hot, getting a buzzer beater win over Saint Peters on opening night, and a week later beat #22 ranked Cornell on the road. Their first loss came at home to #21 ranked Temple.
Some other highlights to their season so far have been a 134 point outburst vs. Virginia Military and a comeback from a 10 point deficit with 50 seconds remaining to send #6 ranked West Virginia to overtime, only to come up short in the extra session.
Head coach Bobby Gonzalez has done a great job with them after being promoted from his coaching position with Manhattan College in Riverdale. He has landed four transfers, including Keon Lawrence from Missouri, Herb Pope from New Mexico St., former A-10 rookie of the year Robert Mitchell from Duquense, and Jeff Robinson from Memphis; combined those players average 36.1 points per game, 23.2 rebounds per game, and 5.7 assists per game.
Although their conference record may look bad, six out of their seven conference losses have come to teams ranked at the time. Their other loss came to a red hot South Florida team in overtime. They have beaten Notre Dame and Pittsburgh at home, and the rest of their schedule is fairly easy with the exception of an away date with West Virginia—they have DePaul, Rutgers twice, St. John's, Marquette, and Providence.
So don't count the Pirates out yet. It should be a fun run at the Garden and maybe even in the big dance.