Grading Seton Hall’s 2016-17 non-conference schedule

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Get your affairs in order: Seton Hall officially released the rest of their 2016-17 non-conference schedule on Monday.

If you’ve been a reader of this site you already knew who the Hall would be taking on this coming winter, but it’s nice to see the official lineup along with all game dates.

Friday, November 11 – Fairleigh Dickinson (Walsh)
Sunday, November 13 – Central Connecticut
Thursday, November 17 – @ Iowa {Gavitt Games}
Thursday, November 24 – Florida^
Friday, November 25 – Quinnipiac/Gonzaga^
Sunday, November 27 – ??^
Thurs, December 1 – Columbia
Tuesday, December 6 – Hawaii^
Wednesday, December 7 – California^
Monday, December 12 – South Carolina (MSG)
Saturday, December 17 – Delaware
Friday, December 23 – Rutgers

Schedule strength: A/A-

Seton Hall may not be facing any powerhouses during their non-conference schedule, but they have the potential to play seven high-major schools, six of which would take place away from Walsh Gym and Prudential Center.

Unlike some of Kevin Willard’s earlier seasons in South Orange, events like the Gavitt Games, a trip to Hawaii for the Pearl Harbor Invitational and the Advocare Invitational all add opportunities to pick up crucial resume-building wins in November and December.

The schedule isn’t without its potential blemishes though, as Central Connecticut, Hawaii, Delaware, Rutgers and possibly Fairleigh Dickinson will likely be duds RPI-wise, most of which bookend the entire slate.

Tough stretch. A potential four-game gauntlet at Iowa, then Florida, Gonzaga and another high-major on a neutral court in Orlando would probably be the toughest non-league stretch that I’ve seen in a while, maybe since Louis Orr? This fairly high-profile schedule was really built for an encore return from Isaiah Whitehead.

While an appetizing schedule for someone like me or a fan that will primarily watch from home, this is pretty poor for season ticket holders. The five games against Fairleigh Dickinson, Central Connecticut, Columbia, Delaware and a weak Rutgers will surely be the weakest five on the entire schedule, so there’s that. Obviously the ability to see the defending national champions and a few other really good Big East schools will balance out the value, but the weak front-end is the obvious drawback of playing in three events this season.

The Under Armour-sponsored Monday night game against South Carolina at MSG will probably be inconvenient for most (why not Fri-Sun?), but it does add another twist in the schedule, giving the opportunity for a slightly different type of game day experience.

Seton Hall hasn’t had a non-conference strength rating in the KenPom top-200 since Kevin Willard’s inaugural year at the helm, which we know was mostly a Bobby Gonzalez organized schedule. There’s a very strong chance they match that this coming campaign.

Is it November yet?