Butler Preview: Seton Hall Senior Night comes with NCAA, Big East Tournament implications

One final regular season chapter will close on Seton Hall’s senior class as they host Butler in a culmination game that also means a lot in the short term.

As you may already know, Kevin Willard is juggling a series of injuries heading into this one with senior Ish Sanogo (ankle) out, fellow senior Desi Rodriguez (ankle) questionable, freshman Jordan Walker (thumb) out until the Big East Tournament, and Myles Powell now dealing with a light ankle sprain.

Down two starters and their back-up point guard in the worst case scenario, Seton Hall (20-10, 9-8) will face an uneasy Butler (19-11, 9-8) team that has dropped four of their last six including several blown leads at St. John’s on Wednesday after perhaps peaking before the mini slide. 

While Butler has been a historically tricky opponent that has yielded just a 30-percent win rate over ten games, Seton Hall has won the last two meetings, both at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

If there is one slight positive to take from the Pirates’ injury situation, the high-scoring upset in Indiana that took place close to two months ago featured a top-heavy performance.

The big three of Angel Delgado (28 pts, 15 rebs), Khadeen Carrington (29 pts, 6 asts), and Desi Rodriguez (19 pts, 5 rebs) scored 84-percent of their 90 with Myles Powell severely limited due to the flu, so the winning formula is still mostly intact. 

Big East Tournament Seeding Scenarios

Besides allowing plenty of time for fans to pack the arena early for the Senior Night ceremony, the 8 p.m. tip also provides the opportunity for Seton Hall — and Kevin Willard — to know exactly what they are up against.

The two games that also influence seeding (St. John’s – Providence; Creighton-Marquette) tip at noon and 2:30, respectively, so the seeding scenario will be further simplified based on what happens.

For example, if St. John’s were to beat Providence and Creighton wins at Marquette, Seton Hall would be locked into the 4-5 game at the Garden, leaving little reason to play anyone injured if it comes to a game time decision. 

But if the opposite results were to align, then Seton Hall gets a 7-seed with a loss, or a 3-seed with a win. Big difference.

Bracketology Watch

Similar to Seton Hall, the Bulldogs are currently in the NCAA field in the 8-10 seed range, while the Pirates are a few rungs ahead of them as a 7- or 8-seed.

As shown above, a loss tonight combined with other results could mean Seton Hall is playing on the first day of the Big East Tournament, which as a whole may push them into the 8-9 game unless they win at least two games in New York. 

On a positive note, a win against Butler and one win at the Garden looks to be enough to keep the Hall as a 6- or 7-seed; anything higher than that would at least require a run to the semifinals.

KenPom says: No. 28 Seton Hall 77, No. 25 Butler 74

Series History: 3-7 SH

Projected Butler starters
PG – Kamar Baldwin
G – Aaron Thompson
G/F – Sean McDermott
F – Kelan Martin
F – Tyler Wideman

Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Myles Cale 
F – Sandro Mamukelashvili
F – Angel Delgado

TV: 8pm, CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM970 / SIRIUS 108 / XM 201
Opening line: Seton Hall -1.5

Please use this post for all in-game and immediate post-game discussion.