The Big East is set to tip-off Wednesday night, which means it’s time to predict how Seton Hall will do over the next three months.
As it turns out, 22-percent of you (and I) correctly predicted that Seton Hall would pick up 11 wins prior to Big East play. A large 42-percent chunk of voters were a Rutgers upset — or last minute Rhode Island bucket — away from calling a 12-win performance.
Looking to the future, the Hall has 18 tough games ahead of them in a conference ranked third behind the Big 12 and then the ACC in KenPom conference standings; the SEC and Big Ten round out the top-five.
Below are a few brief observations of how the other nine Big East schools have performed over the past two months and my prediction of how Kevin Willard’s group will fare against them.
I’ve listed each schools in the order I think the final conference standings will look like come early March.
Villanova (12-0; KenPom #1) — The Wildcats looked relatively shaky (by their standards) to start with some close games against low- and mid-majors, but they’ve done well since to earn their No. 1 national ranking. Most will remember their thrashing of Gonzaga at the Garden but they’ve also made road wins at a couple ‘Big 6’ schools and a handful of other wins away from home look quite easy.
Xavier (12-1; KP #16) — Taking a slightly different approach, the Muskies came out of the gates on fire, averaging 92 ppg and winning at Wisconsin before dropping their only game to now third-ranked Arizona State. Xavier looked very good in tests against Baylor and Cincinnati; they also turned around a 20-point second half deficit to East Tennessee State; ‘X’ will be an Elite 8 threat just like Villanova.
Seton Hall (11-2; KP #21) — I have the Hall going 12-6, which like the 11-2 prediction, I think is the default here. Xavier and Villanova are better teams than the Hall, but I do think they pick up one, maybe two wins from those four games. They should at least split the series with Creighton and then the only other games that worry me are the two against Marquette and the road trip to Butler, however Kevin Willard has seemed to have the Golden Eagles’ number of late (4 of last 5); I’m still not sold on St. John’s, which is a reservation I had pre-season.
Creighton (10-2; KP #29) — The Hall’s first Big East opponent, Creighton, have done quite well and have slightly exceeded expectations en route to a top-25 ranking. The Jays have registered four top-100 wins, but lost to Baylor and Gonzaga away from home in their two toughest tests. It should be no surprise that Greg McDermott’s team have scored 90+ points in 8 of their 12 games.
Marquette (9-3; KP #49) — The Golden Eagles have a series of solid-but-not-great wins against VCU, LSU (neutral), Vermont and on the road at Wisconsin. Markus Howard (45-115, 39%) is reinforcing his status as a lights-out perimeter threat alongside veteran Andrew Rowsey, but Marquette is perhaps a couple pieces away from being a tournament team, it seems; looks like a high NIT seed this year, and then serious NCAA talk next campaign. I think they have the potential to prove me wrong.
St. John’s (10-2; KP #47) — Chris Mullin’s team is starting to reach new heights and an NCAA tournament appearance is certainly within reach, much like Butler. The Johnnies don’t have any head-turning wins and their two losses are on neutral courts to Missouri and Arizona State; the Red Storm have allowed more than 61 points in just four of their 12 games.
Butler (10-3; KP #44) — Operating under new head coach LaVall Jordan after Chris Holtmann jumped ship for Ohio State, the Bulldogs have also done better than first thought including an overtime win on a neutral court against their former coach. Butler’s only other notable win is against Utah, so they likely have some work to do in conference play if they want to Dance.
Providence (9-4; KP #65) — The Friars’ best win is against Boston College, while they’ve lost three of their last six in part due to a series of injuries to guys like Kyron Cartwright, Maliek White, and Alpha Diallo.
Georgetown (10-1; KP #96) — The Hoyas have racked up a ton of wins, but their best is on the road against a sub-200 Richmond, which tells you something about the nation’s weakest non-conference schedule. Poetically, Patrick Ewing’s group is talented in the paint, but is rather piecemeal in the backcourt. Let’s see if the Hoyas get exposed over the coming weeks.
DePaul (7-5; KP #107) — Per usual, the Blue Demons look set on battling Georgetown to stay out of the Big East’s basement. DePaul always seem to challenge themselves in their non-conference (Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan State, Oregon, Northwestern), but they always seem to come up short (0-5), too. That said, DePaul sports their best KenPom rating in quite a few years, making them a tougher out than usual.
Seton Hall’s Big East record: 12-6
How many Big East wins will Seton Hall pick up?
- 13 (30%, 83 Votes)
- 11 (27%, 76 Votes)
- 12 (26%, 73 Votes)
- 14 or more (9%, 25 Votes)
- 10 (6%, 16 Votes)
- 9 (2%, 6 Votes)
- 8 or less (1%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 281