NEWARK — Seton Hall was banged up going into Wednesday night’s battle against Villanova, and despite the moral victories to be had, they left in even worse shape, leaving many questions with Senior Night just days away.
While now out of his walking boot, leading scorer Desi Rodriguez wasn’t ready to lace ’em up against the Wildcats, and was joined on the bench by freshman point guard Jordan Walker, who re-injured the thumb that sidelined him for seven games from November into December.
Then with 7:42 left in regulation, Seton Hall’s best defender in Ish Sanogo left the game after spraining the same ankle he rolled last season at Georgetown.
Down two starters at that point, freshman Myles Cale, who was starting his second game in place of Rodriguez, left overtime with 1:44 on the clock after sustaining a nasty cramp after a dunk.
Kevin Willard needs to make a call to the New England Journal of Medicine (if you don’t remember the reference).
“It’s going to be very important we get healthy. Once we get Desi back, it kind of puts everything back to normal,” said Willard of the road ahead.
“That’s why I don’t know if he’ll play Saturday just because I have to make sure he can play the rest of the way.”
“To be playing without one of the best players in the league, and to compete like that, they were outstanding,” said Jay Wright.
“And when they get Desi back, that’s one hell of a team.”
Aside from the obvious Senior Night theme, the regular season finale with Butler also contains major Big East Tournament seeding scenarios, including one in which the Hall can finish 7th in the conference if they lose plus Marquette and Providence win their games.
That would mean a first-day game at the Garden.
If Seton Hall beat the Bulldogs, a Creighton loss at Marquette means they can lock up the third seed.
— Thomas Chen (@thomasmchen) March 1, 2018
While there are other additional complicated scenarios, as shown above, the point is Saturday’s game is more than just a senior send-off, which puts a tad more pressure on Willard to not rest his guys for New York, if they’re capable of playing at all.
Here is everything Willard had to say about his army of injured players post-Villanova:
On Rodriguez: “Des, still probable, err- still doubtful for Saturday. He looks better, he was able to shoot yesterday a little bit, but still having a little trouble jumping, so we’ll see how he looks. He looked better today, but we’ll see.”
On Sanogo: “Ish is going to be out. He sprained his ankle. I don’t know if Ish is going to be back Saturday, probably not. … Ish rolled the same ankle as last year over (Mikal) Bridges’ foot. I just saw it, it’s pretty swollen, but he came back last year within five or six days (after injury at Georgetown), so he’ll battle through it.”
On Walker: “Jordan’s hand was pretty swollen today, I don’t see Jordan playing until the Big East Tournament.”
On Cale: “Myles (Cale) just cramped up, he hasn’t played that many (minutes), 37 minutes.”