Seton Hall’s 2017-18 Big East schedule gets home cooking boost

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Going out on a limb, it’s safe to say that the Big East front office is well-aware of Seton Hall’s potential this season and handed them a conference schedule to match that ceiling.

For starters: No brutal three-game road stretches. Starting and ending the schedule with two-game home stands. At least three games televised on FOX instead of two. Just one weeknight home game that tips beyond 7pm. 

All of the usual gripes seem to have been wiped from the slate. Coincidence? Perhaps.

But probably not.

I wonder if the ever-critical Kevin Willard has anything to gripe about this year.

He won’t have much fuel to do so.

While a double round robin schedule can only be so advantageous, there are a few light negatives that come with the aforementioned road and home stands. 

Instead of three- and two-game road trips like last season, the Hall must embark on a trio of two-game trips to compensate, including their usual journey to Butler and Marquette in early January. 

And while the Pirates begin and end their slate with consecutive home games for the first time since 1992-93, that will be the only time they do so, making the alternating format of the rest of their schedule perhaps a bit harder to gain momentum.

Regardless of the scheduling ebb and flow, it seems indisputable that the schedule gets a surface-level boost from a year ago, with TV set to follow. Three FOX flagship games with the potential of a fourth (home finale with Butler is TBD) along with one less game on regional FSN stations will surely increase viewership.

On another positive note, the much-maligned late weeknight tips seem a thing of the past with the Hall having just one home game starting beyond 7pm: a late February home clash with Villanova at 8:30.

The perhaps dubious choice by the conference to schedule two of your top teams late in the season at such a time will cause attendance to become a focal point yet again. Will the awkward tip deter Wildcats fans from coming in droves like they did for the weekend matinee this past season? We shall see.

The full schedule along with a few more notes can be found below:

Thurs, 12/28 – Creighton (FS1)
Sun, 12/31 – St. John’s (FS1)
Sat, 1/6 – @Butler (FS1)
Tues, 1/9 – @Marquette (CBSSN)
Sat, 1/13 – Georgetown (FS1)
Wed, 1/17 – @Creighton (FS1)
Sat, 1/20 – Xavier (FOX)
Sun, 1/28 – @DePaul (CBSSN)
Wed, 1/31 – Providence (FS1)
Sun, 2/4 – @Villanova (FOX)
Wed, 2/7 – Marquette (FS1)
Sat, 2/10 – @Georgetown (CBSSN)
Wed, 2/14 – @Xavier (FS1)
Sun, 2/18 – DePaul (FS1)
Wed, 2/21 – @Providence (FS1/FSN)
Sat, 2/24 – @St. John’s MSG (FOX)
Wed, 2/28 – Villanova (FS1)
Sat, 3/3 – Butler (TBD)

Toughest stretch: I’ll go with the four games to close the season. Road tests at Providence and MSG will be tricky, especially with the St. John’s game being on FOX, while Villanova and of course Butler are not the easiest of teams to close out a season with, despite being at home.

Easiest stretch: The Big East is never easy, but I’ll roll with the four game stretch of Marquette, Georgetown, Xavier and DePaul in mid-February. A struggling Hoya team may be going through the motions by then, while home games against two teams projected in the lower third of the conference contrast a tough trip to the Cintas Center.

Notes:

It’s unfortunate the February 4th road clash with Villanova will be played at Wells Fargo Center due to renovations at the Pavilion. A game televised on FOX with Seton Hall’s best chance to snap their centuries-old losing streak at Nova’s on-campus venue? That thought is enough to wet the appetite, but it won’t happen.  Seton Hall will have a chance to break their 15-game road losing streak that dates back to 1994, but it will feel different at Wells Fargo. But different can be good — what if it happens in front of 20,000 instead of 6,500?

Seton Hall gets yet another game against St. John’s at MSG, even later this time around. This one should be treated like a Big East Tournament warm-up, with a feel similar to the gritty nail-biter against the Red Storm two seasons ago.

Like their games against Marquette last year, Seton Hall plays Creighton twice by mid-January. The two schools will also tip off the Big East slate for the second year in a row now. On the opposite end of the schedule, the Hall also closes out with Butler again.

Favorable. Of Seton Hall’s nine home games, five come on the weekend while three of the four during the week tip at 7pm.

  • Matt

    Definitely came out with a favorable schedule. No reason this team can’t win 20+ games

  • PadrePirate

    Great draw. Maybe the BE folks were tired of hearing it from KW. Although the schedule looks about as SHU friendly as you can imagine, one of KW’s main beefs has been not enough prep time between games. Somehow, anything less than a full week to prepare for an opponent stresses him. Even there, besides the Thrs–Sun games to open the season, the rest are Sat/Sun–Weds–Sat/Sun… all the rest of the way. Not much to gripe about there…

    For Pirate fans exiled in Europe, there are plenty of 12/1pm start times 🙂

    This is going to be a great year… 22-25 wins?? GO PIRATES

    • The tip times are certainly much better than what we’ve had to deal with in the past. Credit to the Big East for swiftly remedying some of the major complaints regarding scheduling.

  • fouline

    Chris, it seems like all professional and college sports, are stretching out their schedules to give the players a break. Baseball and basketball are starting early to allow more off days. So until we see what other BE schools schedules look like, we really can’t say that SHU is getting a break.

    • I’m not sure what you mean about leagues stretching out schedules, the Big East hasn’t changed anything in that respect.

      The main point is comparing the Hall’s schedule to theirs in the past. Clear upgrade in that respect.

      Glancing at Providence’s schedule, they have 1 less game on FOX and a 3-games on road (SH is part of that stretch). I then looked at Marquette, and they also have a 3-game stretch that includes SH, along with 1 less games on FOX.

      • fouline

        Chris, it seems that pro leagues are trying to give players a break by stretching out the schedule. But the BE has helped their teams by, it seems, reducing the 3 game road trips to 2 game trips allowing the team to come back home.

        • They havent done that entirely though — first 2 schools I checked have 3 game trips. Are you comparing current BE scheduling to other conferences/past BE schedules?

          • fouline

            Chris, I think any time you can be home, in this case SO, it’s better for the players. So even if it’s only a few days different than last year, it’s better.

  • SHU95

    I like this schedule, the season will be tough regardless but it looks like a favorable draw with adequate rest & no 3 game road trips …