Bubble Watch: Can Seton Hall get out of the 8-9 game?

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Hopefully we don’t jinx anything, but I’m switching up the flavor of these Bubble Watches, at least temporarily.

Instead of tracking schools that are within X spots from the cut-line, it’s time to keep an eye on schools that Seton Hall can move past in the S-curve if they continue to improve their resume (a bit of optimism despite the decade-long drought!).

Both ESPN and CBSSports have Seton Hall off the immediate bubble as well as the play-in game, but as we saw in 2004, being in the 8-9 game isn’t all that fun past the first round. A win against either Xavier or Butler plus some help elsewhere in the country should put the Pirates on their way toward more favorable regions of the bracket; a 6- or 7-seed is realistically obtainable.

As you may have guessed, this does include monitoring what a few of Seton Hall’s non-conference opponents are doing.


Ole Miss at Georgia (Noon, SECN) – Neither of these schools are on the bubble, but Seton Hall has beaten both. The Rebels are in better shape than Georgia and were defeated on a neutral court, so it’d be nice if they continue to boost their RPI of 82

Rhode Island at Dayton (Noon, ESPN2) – Dayton has slipped down to a 6-seed over the recent weeks and could fall further with a bad loss.

VCU at George Washington (12:30, NBCSN) – Little bit of everything going on here. Both schools are right on the bubble but outside of the field; it’s hard to root against VCU but that would be the play.

NC State at Syracuse (2pm, ESPN3) – Syracuse is also a 9-seed in CBSSports’ bracket and are also, well… Syracuse. Go Wolf Pack.

No. 23 Notre Dame at Florida State (4pm, ESPN2) – Hard to imagine we’re targeting a ranked team, but Notre Dame are a 7-seed and could slip down a few rungs with a loss to FSU, who are 6-10 in the ACC.


Houston at Connecticut (1pm, CBSSN) – Currently paired up with Seton Hall in the 8-9 pod in multiple brackets, (with a loss) Sterling Gibbs and UConn would probably drop behind SHU regardless of how the Pirates do against Xavier.

Saint Louis at Saint Joseph’s (1pm) – Another school that is hard to root against, St. Joe’s is currently an 8- or 9-seed and would probably slip to the bubble with a bad home loss.

No. 15 Duke at Pittsburgh (2pm, CBS) – An 8-seed, Pitt can’t really hurt their chances but can certainly help them.

Arizona State at Colorado (4:30, PAC12 Network) – Colorado are a few spots ahead of Seton Hall but like a lot of other schools on this list have a chance to take a bad home ‘L’.

Washington State at Oregon State (6:30, PAC12 Network) – Oregon State is amazingly an 8-seed with a record of 16-10 (7-8), that’s what a 6-7 record against the top-50 will do. Washington State (RPI 199) is closer to the bottom-50 than the top.

Michigan at Wisconsin (7pm, BTN) – The Wolverines are just behind SHU in the pecking order (10-seed) while Wisconsin is just ahead (8- or 9-seed). Pick your poison?

USC at California (8pm, FS1) – Another Sunday game airing from the west coast, Seton Hall is on the tail of both California-based schools. USC is an 8-seed and needs this game a lot more than CAL (6-seed).

  • Larry Karg

    Avoiding an 8-9 game… Good goal certainly… Means a 10 is actually preferable. But why not get to a 7. Win 2 out of 3 reg season and make big east final might garner a 6 or 7. But that would need to include a win tomorrow as 1 of those wins.

    • VinBick

      Projected status:
      3-0 & 2-1 in BE Tournament = 6 seed
      2-1 & 2-1 = 7
      1-2 & 2-1 = 8 or 9
      1-2 & 1-1 = 10
      1-2 & 0-1 = 11
      0-3 & 0-1 out = NIT

      Most likely finish: 1-2 & 2-1 w/ 8 or 9 seed. Is this team on a mission? We will all know a month from now…. Damn, they looked good on Thursday night. Go Pirates!

      • Joe J

        Vin, I believe you are spot on with these scenarios. 1 more win should get us in overall. I don’t want that 8-9 game. Would rather be a 10 seed if the 8-9 seed can’t be improved.

        • SHULaw05

          Vin and Joe, agree completely with both assessments. I certainly don’t want the 8/9 seed any more than the next guy. However, none of the 1 seeds are virtually invincible like we have seen in past years. All current year potential 1 seeds are susceptible to being beaten this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a first round (technically second round with the play-in games) loss for a 1 seed. Let’s get the “W” tomorrow and move down to a 7!

      • hallstorm

        I actually disagree with the 3-0 & 2-1. That would absolutely secure a 3/4 seed. Ending up 25-8 with a hot run at the end of the season (they would be 12-2 with 5 road and 2 neutral court wins to close out the season and put us in the Big East Championship) with 2 more road wins and a home win against the No. 1/2 team in the nation with Xavier? Historically, the committee loves teams that have big runs at the end of the season. This is a no-brainer.

        End up 2-1 & 2-1 and finish at 24-9? That’s a 5/6 seed.

        If they go 1-2 & 2-1? 23-10? That’s gonna be anywhere from 7, 8, 9 depending on who they beat in the tournament.

        I pretty much agree with the other scenarios.

        I think you underestimate Butler. They’ve beaten Purdue, Cincinnati & Temple and only lost to Miami out of conference to begin the season. They don’t really have any bad losses except maybe Marquette.

        Frankly, I’ll be more surprised if they beat Butler than I would if they beat Xavier. Don’t get me wrong-a Xavier win is a huge resume boost; by far a bigger win than Butler. But Butler frustrates Seton Hall and plays in a methodical, precise manner that is the antithesis of what we play. Plus, we tend to get up agains the big teams and fall into the bad habit of playing to the other teams’ tempos. Butler isn’t going to miss the open 3’s that Providence missed in the first half a couple nights ago. I worry that we will be playing from behind most of the night.

      • Fishjam

        Good post Vin. Like Hallstorm said, a 3-0, 2-1 finish probably puts them in the 4/5 seed range as RPI forecaster would put them around a #20 RPI and would mean 2 Signature Wins vs Xavier and/or Nova.
        You left some scenarios out though….what if, what if, what if…..what if they finish 3-0 AND win the Big East Tourney? We’d be 26-7 with 2 or 3 likely wins vs Top 10 opponents and RPI forecaster would be 15-17. Think that gets us a #3 seed. Still soooo many scenarios but its fun to speculate.

  • Matty P

    The Rock is going to be rocking tomorrow. Was trying to look into tickets on ticketmaster and stubhub today. Ticketmaster has 4 tickets available (3 being handicap seats) and stubhubs only got 8 tickets with all but one being $125+. Looks like the fans will be showing up in force tomorrow to make it a true home environment for the pirates.

  • Matty P

    Great article from Jerry Carino on what Derrick Gordon has meant to the program. He’s been great on the defensive end and has really shown the younger guys what it takes to get to the tournament. After last year these younger guys needed someone who’s been there and knows what it takes and hopefully that can continue to be passed down so that SHU can continue to do what it takes to make the tournament each year. http://www.app.com/story/sports/college/2016/02/26/gordons-earned-his-standing-ovation-seton-hall/80971626/

    • Matty P
      • WilponsStinkLessNow

        I read those too, great articles. Gordon has been a godsend, and it’s impressive to me how his sexual orientation really wasn’t a story this year. It’s unfortunate that once they get to the tourney (knock on wood) the national media will probably make a big thing of it, but hopefully they’ll also highlight the fact that he’ll be the first player in history to make the tourney on 3 different teams.

  • Matty P

    Another game to keep an eye on for today would be Wichita State playing Illinois State at 2pm today. The significance of this game is a loss would most likely take Wichita State outside of the RPI top 50 (currently at 47) which would remove a top 50 win from SHU’s record. Wichita State should be able to beat them at home, but did lose to them earlier in the season at Illinois State.

    • Most games they play from here on out will have the same affect on their RPI if they lose. WSU won by 16 today

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    I think the Big 12 is overrated and doesn’t deserve the 7 bids that are currently projected. Last year they also got 7 bids, and 3 of those teams went out in the first round, including the 3 seed Baylor. W. Va, Kansas and OK are all very good teams, but their mid-conference teams aren’t that much better than the Big East’s mid-conf teams. If the Big East only gets 3 teams and the Big 12 gets 7, I’ll be disappointed.

    • hallstorm

      I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year: Big 12 is overrated. How about Baylor (#3), Iowa State (#3), Texas (#11), Oklahoma State (#9) all lost first round. Kansas (#2) loses second round. West Virginia got embarrassed-absolutely humiliated by Kentucky after talking about how much they were going to win. Only Oklahoma represented a fair run of all of their seedings (and they had No 11 seed Dayton in the second round). I realize that both Texas and Oklahoma State aren’t “supposed” to win, but obviously they couldn’t beat better teams.

      The problem with the Big 12 is many of those teams cannot win away from home-and it happens often in the tournament. I’m certain it will happen again this year.

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    Off topic, but this seems the perfect venue to vent. Flag guy needs to start running the full length of the court again. This circling half-court 20 times business is not working for me and my friends. To do so, though, Willard needs to talk his timeout huddle back to the bench rather than the little stools they drag onto the court. More and more teams are doing it these days, apparently to remove the team from the noise of the crowds and the TV cameras / mics. But apparently Jamie Wright and other old-school coaches do it rarely. Personally, if I was a tired player, I’d rather sit on a cushioned bench seat with a comfortable back rest rather than those tiny little stools. What do you guys think?

  • Fishjam

    Wow, Georgetown committed 32 Fouls vs Butler and still almost won, losing in OT. Butler took 44 Free Throws!

  • GW loss, so that hurts a little. Notre Dame struggling; were clobbered by Florida State. Just 1 KenPom spot ahead of Seton Hall

  • Fishjam

    Notre Dame & Dayton took bad losses. Like Chris said, Pirates have a big opportunity tomorrow vs Xavier to put themselves in play for a #6/7 seed. A 6 seed would be ideal as it gives them a potential path to the Sweet 16 without facing a 1 or 2 seed. I think it’s good to dream big and using the RPI forecaster the path is open to a sub-30 RPI with a win vs DePaul and 1 W in the BET.
    From a “just make the tournament” POV, this is still a big game as the Pirates really need 2 more Ws (against anyone) this season to clinch a berth. In fact if they beat X, they could possibly lose the rest of their games including 1st round BET and likely get in. That would give them 21 wins, 11 in conference and a Signature Win vs a potential #1/2 seed. But finishing with 3 straight losses puts them in the 53-55 RPI range based on RPI Forecaster. The RPI Forecaster is a lot of fun to play with different scenarios.

    • LBP

      Fishjam- I do not like match-up with Xavier but with The Rock rocking this Team may have a chance. If Hall beats Xavier , I think they win out and may get a 5 seed-even with an early loss in BE Tournament.

  • Jersey Jerry

    Well here are a few GR8 scores:

    • ‘Noles over #23Irish ~ 77-56 … 21 point loss will be looked at and Irish now 19-9

    • Dayton lost @ home to Rhode Island ~ 76-66 … Flyers now 22-6

    • Butler’s win in OT is telling w/Dunham scoring 29 w/Jones & Martin adding 18 each. Then also hit 53% from beyond the arc, 8-15 … shutdown Kellen and hard “D” @ in house might just do it.

    • Georgia (15-12) beats Ole Miss (18-11) 80-66 also helps.

    • Bad loss is VCU (21-8) over GW (21-8) 69-65 … would have helped our RPI w/GW win.

    • Another bad loss is NCS going down to ‘Cuse 75-66 … Orange now 19-10 and could be a problem down the road.

    • Wichita beating Illinois State (18-13) helps our RPI some.

    We MUST beat DePaul w/Friars (20-9) putting +20 on them today.

    Looking for a nice surprise in the morning w/a PACKED house we should ROCK ‘da ROCK and who know … after all, WHY NOT US!?!?!? GO HALL ‘n remove ALL doubt about this season!

    • WilponsStinkLessNow

      Rock is sold out! Whoo-hoo!

      That Butler-Prov game was brutal. I didn’t know if anyone could win that game. But that kid Eli Cain from St Benedicts looks really good. He’d look even better in Pirate blue.

      • Fishjam

        Even STUBHUB is basically Sold Out! Should be best home court atmosphere for a Pirate game in a loooooooooooong time. Great environment for an upset.