Analyzing Seton Hall’s 2016-17 Big East schedule

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The Big East conference released the rest of its 2016-17 schedule on Tuesday, handing Seton Hall a road opener at Creighton a daunting three-game road trip that includes Villanova and more.

The schedule in full:

Wed., December 28 – @Creighton (8, FS2)
Sun., January 1 – Marquette (4:30, FS1)
Sat., January 7 – DePaul (Noon, CBSSN)
Wed., January 11 – @Marquette (7, FS1)
Sat., January 14 – @Providence (Noon, FSN)
Mon., January 16 – @Villanova (630, FS1)
Sun., January 22 – St. John’s (Noon, FS1)
Wed., January 25 – Butler (830, FS1)
Wed., February 1 – @Xavier (9, FS1)
Sat., February 4 – @Georgetown (Noon, FS1)
Wed., February 8 – Providence (830, FS1)
Sat., February 11 – @St. John’s (Noon, CBSSN)
Wed., February 15 – Creighton (8, CBSSN)
Sat., February 18 – Villanova (1230, FOX)
Wed., February 22 – Xavier (7, FS1)
Sat., February 25 – @DePaul (2, FSN/YES)
Tues., February 28 – Georgetown (630, FS1)
Sat., March 4 – @Butler (230, *TBA*)

Five takeaways:

Seton Hall’s start to defending the Rock can build momentum. Their first three games at Prudential Center against Marquette, DePaul and St. John’s will all come on the weekend and provide opportunities not only for wins, but to boost attendance and get fans in seats to begin the conference season. The Pirates only play one weeknight home game in January, a chance to build some momentum following a massive 2015-16 campaign and a weak home non-conference schedule.

The Hall will partake in one three-game road trip (Marquette, Providence, Villanova) and one three-game home stand (Creighton, Villanova, Xavier) and I can’t figure out which one is more important. The home stretch comes later in the schedule amidst five total home games in February and includes three potential NCAA teams. Sounds like a big chance to punch a second consecutive post-season bid if Kevin Willard’s team is in the running again. The road trip that culminates in a Big East marathon clash at the Pavilion is an opportunity for Seton Hall to get in a rhythm early, or inversely, put them in a funk.

In addition to the aforementioned marathon clash against Villanova which will perhaps be the showcase of the entire lineup, Seton Hall also gets a game on FOX’s flagship station when the Cats visit Newark in February. It’s fairly obvious the Big East and FOX are promoting this budding rivalry with the obvious story lines of a Big East Tournament final rematch plus Seton Hall’s 22-year drought on the road at Nova.

Toughest stretch: The early road trip; Easiest stretch: Marquette, DePaul, @Marquette

Hall fans will get a second chance to take a game in at Madison Square Garden prior to the BET since St. John’s will call it their home instead of Carnesecca on February 11th, a noon tip. It’s the second consecutive year the two local schools will play away from Queens, which is mostly good for Hall fans and media alike.

Free throw: It’s fairly odd that Seton Hall will take on Marquette twice over their first four games. They don’t really come close to replicating this with any other opponent.