POLL: Seton Hall 2017-18 Big East predictions

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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

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  • Andrew Herbst

    I think we’ll finish in third. I hope we can split against Nova and Xavier, but beat everyone else twice. It will be a fun conference this year. Can’t wait for Thursday.

    • VinBick

      Mr. H. you are very optimistic which is great. Just read the following at the ESPN site talking about the Big East this year.

      ” If you’ve watched Seton Hall this season, you know the Pirates possess the pieces to slide past Villanova, Xavier, Creighton and Butler in the contentious Big East battle. While the indefinite suspension of forward Ish Sanogo could impact that ambition, Kevin Willard’s team is still capable of competing with the best in the conference.

      But its issues at the charity stripe demand scrutiny. In two losses to Rhode Island and Rutgers, Seton Hall finished 15-for-27 from the free throw line. Those games were decided by a combined seven points. The Pirates entered the week shooting 65.5 percent from the free throw line, 305th in the country. That alone could cost Seton Hall in upcoming matchups against the league’s top tier and remove Seton Hall from the Big East race.”

      More than any other factor, the foul shooting will play huge in more close games that are inevitable during the Big East wars. If this team fails to live up to expectations, we will look at the poor foul shooting as the culprit. How sad that it has not improved. Missing foul shots in close games against anyone in the Big East may cost the Pirates must wins over weaker opponents, just like the RU and RIU games.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Thanks Vin. I worry about our free throw shooting as well. It’s unfortunate how a senior laden team such as ours has not done better at the charity strike. It could really come back to haunt us like it did last year against Arkansas.

      • Matty P

        I do think the free throws will have an effect on the game, but I really believe it’s going to depend on who’s taking the free throws. The overall team number will never look great considering Delgado is taking almost 25% of the team’s free throws and he only shoots 57%. I would have to imagine in late game situations they are going to move Delgado as far away from any action and rely on Carrington, Powell, or Desi to shoot the end game free throws. If the ball is in any of their hands then the free throw shooting shouldn’t be a problem in close games.

        • PadrePirate

          For me, you put your finger on a weak spot. In late game situations, they abandon their normal in-and-out and high pick-weave offense for isolation plays, mainly KC and Desi. AD tends to disappear at the end of games, but I never made the connection with FT’s.

  • VinBick

    In the first poll by Chris before the season started, my prediction was a 13-5 Big East record, but I am more inclined to pick 11-7 at this juncture. The balance in the league will add a couple of losses to most of the teams’ win-loss totals. Thursday’s game at the Rock scares me. For this team to sweep away the competition at home is a really tall order.

    Seven or eight wins should be expected. Double wins over the Johnnies, Georgetown, DePaul, and Providence are a must. The rest will be tough outs at home and away.

    A 22-9 record is the least that should be expected and 24-7 is probably the best the Pirates will do before the Big East slug fest in early March. Go Pirates!

  • SHU95

    12 W seems like the make or break number… Anything less puts them back in the dreaded 7-8-9-10 seeds or on the bubble. 12 + Likley keeps them in the top 25 when the dust settles and equates to a 5 seed or Better. I think they split with Xavier, Nova, Creighton. They will also catch a team on the wrong night, say St Johns- who always plays us tough, & lose 2 more road games along the way. 12-6 seems about right & I think would be a very successful regular season.

  • RonD

    I’m usually an optimist but this year 10-8. This is very solid, but are we that much better than last year?

    • Joe Schmoe

      Yes. Who did we lose? Madison Jones. Gains? Cale and Mamukelshville are better. Also Desi and MP are playing better.

      • RonD

        I think we’re only talking about how good we’ll be. Don’t disagree with your take. Just not sure it will translate into more wins. Hope I’m totally wrong.

        • Joe Schmoe

          If I remember correctly, last years the 1st half of the BE season went awfully, with the team dropping some winnable games. I think the team was better last year then they played, but still came within a few seconds of beating Nova in the BET and having a shot to repeat as BET champs. I think the seniors are playing with a purpose this year, knowing its their last hurrah.

    • Interesting thought. I just tweeted about this.

      Technically, YES. Seton Hall had KenPom of 50~ going in Big East last year. At No. 21 right now.

  • Joe Schmoe

    12-6 sounds reasonable for this team, but also look how the schedule shakes out in terms of who we play and when. This team should be 9-0 in conference play before heading to Philly to take on Nova.

    vs 25 Creighton W
    vs St Johns W
    @ Butler W
    @ Marquette W
    vs Georgetown W
    @ #25 Creighton W
    vs #6 Xavier W
    @ DePaul W
    vs Providence W

    Then the back half of the schedule
    @ #1 Villanova L
    vs Marquette W
    @ Georgtown W
    @ Xavier L
    vs Depaul W
    @ Providence W
    @ St Johns W
    vs #1 Villanova L
    vs Butler W

    This would be a 15-3 BEC record. 26-5 headed into the BET… We’ll have a solid picture of how the season is shaping up after the 1st Providence Game.

    • PadrePirate

      “Say it will be so, Joe.” If we can go 15-3 in the BE, I’d say this is a deep tourney team (final 8?). From what we’ve seen so far, they just don’t seem like a dominant team to me. The starting 5 talent is there, but I just don’t see that kind of a team. Maybe they’ll continue to improve over Jan-Feb and really go far.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I disagree somewhat. In the URI loss, URI was lights out shooting in the 1st half, and the Hall hung tough. They locked down on defense, closed the gap in the 2nd half, and lost at a final second buzzer beater. It happens. I think our guys went into the Rutgers game over confident. It was “business as usual”
        for the first 30 min until the jawing RU did a fantastic job of getting the hall out of their game. That happens too. It the game was 5 more minutes Hall would have been back on top. I truly believe this team will bring the laser focus that we saw at the Texas Tech and Louisville games to the BE schedule. Its their last hurrah as seniors.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Whats the word on Sanogo?

    • No update, as of Willard’s Big East teleconference this morning. He said he would re-evaluate today, as of post-Manhattan.

      Again, highly doubt he plays Thursday. I say a return at Butler.

      • VinBick

        Do hope you are wrong, Chris. Ish is needed badly on Thursday night. The crew from Nebraska is strong and we will need all hands on deck. All of the teams in the Big East Conference will be strong competition from top to bottom. No gimmies from here on out for the Hall because everyone is looking to take down our senior-laden team.

        • Joe Schmoe

          while everything your saying is true, I believe that willard is setting an example for the younger guys that certain behavior will not be tolerated. Willard sounded disappointing, but being that the incident didnt make the new like the gun-point home invasion robbery job the basketball players pulled about 10 years ago… it could be a minor offence.

          • my opinion: its a minor infraction, morals-wise, but not great decision making and against various rules.

            but yes, basketball-wise, creighton loves to score 90+ points (8 out of 12 games), making an absence of Ish’s defense costly on Thurs night, if he doesnt play.

  • I realize I may have worded my rankings a little awkwardly to begin with. To clarify, I think Butler won’t be a serious bubble team, but St. John’s and Marquette will be in the discussion, with more likely than not, only one of them making the Dance for a 5-bid Big East.

    • HallBall10

      ok.. the way it’s written you appear to have Marquette finish 5th but only make the NIT.. A top 5 finish from either St. John’s, Marquette, or Butler (most likely 10-8) has them in the tournament.
      imo what each team would need to make the tournament.
      Nova 8-10
      Xavier 9-9
      SHU 9-9 (maybe +1 game in BET or reg season)
      Marq, Butler, St. John’s 10-8 (maybe +1)
      Prov and Gtown 10-8 (+2)
      DePaul 12-6 (+1)

  • LBP

    I voted 12-6 but would have higher if Ish was available. Hall may be in for a slow start because I believe Ish would be most important against Creighton and St. Johns. I will not be surprised if the Hall lost both but at least the openers are home Games- my better view is the Hall “escapes” a sweep but finishes 1-1. With 2 wins to open , my prediction would go to 13-5.
    I also think Hall has to finish 12-6 with 2 Tournie wins to avoid the dreaded 7-8 seed.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Regardless of seeding, they are going to need to bring their A game to the tourney to get passed the first weekend. Any bit of snoozing and its over, it doesn’t matter who you are playing.

  • Fishjam

    Team is very talented and can beat anyone in the BE At the Prudential. However, I have a real concern about this team’s psyche. They have shown problems keeping their focus and concentration, especially when they are favorites against upstart teams.

    Their free throw shooting, streaky 3-pt shooting, poor 3-pt defense and lack of depth are issues that will prevent them from being a consistent team that can win the BE regular season. They are good enough to beat anyone and look like a Top 10 team for a week and then look like a team with deep issues the next week. As a result I think 11-12 wins is likely and I voted for 11-7. Hope they prove me wrong.

    • Joe J

      Agree with all your points Fishjam. When they get good point guard play and distribute the ball they look great and can beat anyone. When they play hero ball they look terrible. They are a good team but they are emotionally fragile and susceptible to collapses especially away from the Rock. 11-12 wins are likely and I too voted for 11-7. Hope they prove us wrong.

    • Bob Murphy

      I also agree with your points – the one consistent about this team playing against other strong teams will be inconsistency. If they are not turning the ball over, and can hit say 75% FT’s, they win. If not…

      So, one point I’d make is that I don’t like our chances in a close game – especially, to your point – on the road. I think our free throw issues with some key players who will be on the court in end of game situations will likely cost us some games. Both losses so far, against URI and against RU on the road were close games, lost at the end. On paper, for whatever that is worth, both are teams that SHU should beat 7 out of 10 times. And we lost both. The flip side are the wins versus Louisville and VCU.

      I really don’t know about the rest of the conference. Obviously, based on November / December, Villanova and Xavier are strong teams. I am not sold on St Johns at all – most BE predictions are made out of NYC, and despite St Johns being a mediocre program for the last 25 years, they still have higher-than-deserved regard for them. Mullin is a high profile guy who needs to prove himself as a coach. I think his recruiting based on former NBA status is a little overblown as today’s recruits were not even born when he retired.

      With all of our seniors, and likely strong play from Angel and Desi, who I think will be first team all league and a NBA-draftee this Summer, I suspect we win 12 games, and go to the NCAA. Obviously injuries, and disciplinary issues would hurt this greatly, just like any other team, but with the December we just had with Sanogo and our freshman PG, it presents some concern.

  • PadrePirate

    I hope they prove me wrong, but I’m going with 10 or 11 BE wins. My first reason is the strength of the conf. Even the worst teams are top-100 (Rutgers level of play). Every night will be a dogfight. I’ve seen them all play at least once or twice, and find the middle 3-8 teams pretty even.

    After that, the biggest weakness we’ve seen from the OoC is their emotional/mental intensity. They just don’t seem to consistently show up or stay fully engaged, as seen by the slow starts and even some 2H lulls. When pressed and challenged, they get chippy and loose focus. Whereas AD emerged as a leader toward the end of last year, this year this team lacks an anchor when struggling. They don’t bounce back easily when the momentum shifts against them, like RU. Otherwise, weak bench, poor FTs, and tendency to loose offensive movement are all weaknesses that will hurt us. MP is under used in crunch time.

    I think we’d have to go 12-6 to keep a 5 seed, but 10 or 11 wins will drop us to 8-9 seed.

  • 11yearplan

    Thanks for tweeting the note from Ish. It’s a great note and something all should read as he puts everything in proper perspective. I believe he is sincere and hopefully this puts his back in good graces with the Coach.

    I love what I see from Nezi but, without question, the team needs Ish’s defense, and now recently found scoring, to be in the top of the BE.

  • PirateLacrosse14

    As always, your analysis of not only SHU, but the rest of the Big East is one of the main reasons why this is my favorite sports blog for all of the teams I follow.

    I’m interested to see who you think needs to step up (aside from the core 4 of Angel, Desi, KC and Powell) for this team to be as competitive as we’ve seen they can be? I really like the minutes they’ve been getting out of Mamu on offense, but think his under-developed body will inhibit his defensive & rebounding abilities for the rest of the year. If Walker was no longer in the picture, I would potentially say EG, especially with the way he’s shown some improvement (which seems to have drastically increased his confidence). But personally, I think if Cale can become a reliable wing while Desi is out, it could add a lot more scoring depth, and I think you’d see less of a scoring drop-off with the second unit.

    • Thank you. That’s very kind.

      As for stepping up, I think the “1B” team will be crucial in close games. When Willard has 1 or 2 starters in the game and 3-4 subs, what will be the +/- when they are on the floor? This may be enough to swing games because you can’t always have the starting 5 logging 30+ MPG.

  • Mike Walsh

    I am predicting that Ish will be back for the Creighton game, I think his written apology will be enough to put this behind him.

    • If so, I’d be a little surprised given what I was told the infraction(s) are/were. Let’s see.

      • Mike Walsh

        Chris – I don’t have the benefit of knowing what the infraction was, but, his reaction and response shows a great deal of maturity.

  • PadrePirate

    Marquette looked very solid vs Xavier last night. MU’s guards are going to give our loose perimeter defense fits. Gtown still a big question mark, but they did take Butler to 2OT…

    • Marquette has been my pick to emerge from the middle of the pack, and they looked quite good last night. It felt like that entire game was played within a possession or two.

      As for Gtown, many are focusing on their non-conf. as reason why they couldn’t close out. Valid? I think so, as you don’t face real surges against bad teams and Syracuse/Butler both came from behind.