Set to face Creighton in Omaha later today in yet another important game for Seton Hall’s bubble welfare, it’s time to gauge the Pirates’ bracketology situation for the first time this season.
For starters, a huge editorial note to mention is that the NCAA’s selection committee will be using a new, semi-revealed tool known as the NET instead of RPI as the primary metric on Selection Sunday.
I’m still skeptical about it given the NCAA hasn’t revealed the formula, but it seems to be an RPI and KenPom hybrid at surface level. It’s meant to take offensive and defensive efficiency as well as margin of victory into consideration, which appears to be a step up from the RPI.
That said, Seton Hall has a NET ranking of 61st going into today, which isn’t exactly great in isolation if we are to assume the “schools with an RPI above X only make the tournament Y percent of the time” type of evaluation is going to hold true again this year.
However, we of course remember arguments of “Well, how many sub-60 RPI teams have beaten Kentucky and Maryland away from home!?” — which is also true; NET isn’t everything.
It’s impossible to dissect Seton Hall’s NET ranking without a formula, but given that the best opponent they’ve beat by double-digits is either Georgetown (KenPom: 87) or at Xavier (KenPom: 97), the Pirates have played a ton of close games, and both of their efficiency numbers (off: 80, def: 64) aren’t spectacular, it seems to make some sense.
All that said, let’s turn our attention to where some of the major bracketology outlets are placing Seton Hall with six regular season games to play.
Last updated: 2/15, morning
Opponent: Mississippi State
Bonus: John Fanta broke down Seton Hall’s situation with Jerry Palm on Twitter
Broke down @SetonHallMBB's Bracketology situation with @JPPalmCBS. Jerry stressed the importance of the road games at Creighton and Georgetown, saying The Hall will need one of those. MORE: pic.twitter.com/V9yMkSHD2Z
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) February 14, 2019
Bracket Matrix (aggregation of sites)
Last updated: Most sites updated as of 2/16
Seed: 11 (aggregate), 9 (highest), miss tournament (lowest)
Bracketville (second most accurate site on BracketMatrix since 2014)
Last updated: 2/14
Opponent: Ohio State
Last updated: 2/14
Opponent: Florida State
Starting later today, Seton Hall’s clash at Creighton appears massive given the Jays’ NET ranking (59) and the game’s road status. Seton Hall is 2-6 on the road with wins at Xavier and Maryland and that number could use a boost ahead of the remaining two road tests at St. John’s and Georgetown.
As a whole, I think the Pirates need to close out their regular season 4-2 and win at least one game in the Big East Tournament to feel comfortable as the conference’s third or fourth team in the field.
Beating Creighton, Xavier, St. John’s and Georgetown won’t be easy despite all of them sitting outside the KenPom top-50, leaving two tough home games against Marquette and then Villanova to close out the season.
Seton Hall should want to set themselves up as nicely as possible heading into those two. You never want to rely on a win over Villanova.
There’s still a lot of ball to be played, but it seems Seton Hall is in the driver’s seat as most sites have them inside the field.
For the optimists: If Seton Hall can go 4-0 or 3-1 over their next four, doing damage against Marquette, Villanova, and in the conference tournament could conjure the 8-9 game discussion again this year.
Next stop: Omaha.