March Madness, two words that excite college basketball fans from East to West.
Regular season schedules are now in the history books and conference tournaments take center stage. At this point, it is no longer about what teams have already done, but what they are about to do. We have arrived at the one and done, survive and advance, portion of the season. Dreams can and will be made in March. Unfortunately, nightmares will as well.
Photo: The Nation
The Seton Hall Pirates enter the Big East Tournament on a bit of a downer. They needed just one victory in their final two games to claim the regular-season conference title (all for themselves), and the #1 seed in the tourney that begins Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, they lost at home on Senior Night to conference standard bearer Villanova, and then Saturday afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska to Creighton. The final score against the Bluejays (77-60) was not indicative of the entire game, the teams were tied at halftime, and Creighton outscored The Hall 13-1 over the final four minutes of play.
Instead of winning the outright title, Kevin Willard’s charges share the regular-season crown with Creighton and Nova. A great accomplishment indeed, but an opportunity lost no doubt. So what say you, Seton Hall fans? Are you nervous and concerned with how your team is playing as Championship Week begins, or are you confident in your club now that everyone is healthy, and that you have “one of those guys” (Myles Powell) on your side?
Put me down as being in the confident category. Following a few spirited practices, and fueled by Kevin Willard’s anger at how Creighton “celebrated” its victory on Saturday (cutting down the nets), I think the Pirates are poised for a run in not only the Big East tourney, but the big dance as well.
I think you will see a team that is shot out of a cannon from the opening tip against Marquette Thursday night at 9:30 PM. The Hall plays well at the Garden, and the Golden Eagles, who were once a lock for the NCAA Tournament, are leaking oil (Steve Wojciechowski’s club has lost six of their last seven games). This is a wonderful matchup for the Pirates who should win going away, setting up another tussle with the Wildcats of Villanova (and oh how much fun that will be).
Think back to last year’s finals classic (a 74-72 Villanova victory), but put that in reverse. I see Seton Hall winning this time around, and then beating my surging Providence College Friars in the finals.
If this scenario comes true, it will be good enough to earn a #2 seed come selection Sunday. From that point, I think it would be a disappointment should SHU not reach the Elite 8 (at least the Sweet 16).
This is their year!
They have the talent!
Did I mention they have a closer?
Now go out and get it done fellas!
And that is My 2 Sense for this week. Enjoy the hoops my friends!