Seton Hall’s 2016 non-conference schedule coming together

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With the addition of an Under Armour-sponsored game against South Carolina at Madison Square Garden, Seton Hall’s 2016-17 non-conference schedule is nearing completion.

The game against 25-9 (11-7) South Carolina will be part of an UA double-header that also features Boston College and Auburn and is possibly the ninth known game on the Hall’s non-league schedule.

Seton Hall will participate in the Gavitt Games (Big Ten-Big East challenge) after sitting out last season, play three games in Orlando at a loaded AdvoCare Invitational field, host Rutgers, more likely than not play Kansas in Hawaii on Pearl Harbor Day and possibly play another West Coast game just prior to that.

Kevin Willard’s scheduling has come a long way since openly saying he wanted to play a softer schedule in his first season when pitted against a mostly Bobby Gonzalez-picked slate.

It has come a long way since being ranked sub-300 in consecutive seasons by KenPom (2012-14), playing a laundry list of boring cupcakes in UMKC, Norfolk State, Maine, N.C. A&T, Longwood, LIU-Brooklyn, NJIT (when they were bad), and Niagara during that span.

Yuck. But that was then.

Since, Willard gradually upgraded his scheduling in 2014-15 to 230th with a trip to the Paradise Jam and adding home-and-home series with Wichita State, Georgia and George Washington. Those three tough schedules combined with the Charleston Classic gave the Hall a non-conference schedule ranked 244th this year.

Now, try this on for size:

Early November – Gavitt Games
Nov. 24-27 – Advocare Invitational (Gonzaga, Iowa St, Miami, Florida, Stanford, Indiana St, Quinnipiac)
Day prior to Dec. 7 – West Coast game
Dec. 7 – Kansas (in Hawaii)
December – Rutgers
Fairleigh Dickinson – rumored
Saint Peter’s – Hall’s longest-standing non-conference opponent

That can easily turn into a top-100 non-conference schedule.

The above list leaves about three more spots to be filled, which will likely be home games against mid-majors — one of which may be played at Walsh Gym. It’s unclear if the Hall will play on the road in the Gavitt Games and there are only other three games currently set to be played at home: Rutgers, FDU and Saint Peter’s.

  • Matty P

    This is the type of schedule that this team needs. It’s going to be a team full of Juniors who should be challenged throughout the season so when the BE and NCAA tournament time roll around they are accustomed to more difficult opponents.

    If I could pick one local opponent I wish they would schedule a home-home with Princeton. I saw an article, from I believe Jerry Carino, saying that Princeton has been calling schools trying to find someone to schedule with them and can’t seem to get anyone to commit or even at times call them back. Why not play a local team that has shown they have a good RPI year after year.

    • Fishjam

      Used to be their Style of play, maybe it still is. Everyone was reluctant to face that slow, 4-corner offense with backdoor passes.

    • I wrote briefly about this — obviously at the same level of depth — two years ago:

    • VinBick

      How times change. For years, way back in the 60’s, Princeton and Rutgers ignored the Hall when our AD tried to schedule in-state schools to develop sound rivalries.

      With Monmouth competitive, what a great double-header at the Rock each year. Seton Hall, Rutgers, Princeton, and Monmouth playing a mini tournament: “Rock for Jersey” as a fund-raising, all-alumni bash to kick off the season. If that doesn’t fill the joint, nothing will.

      • LBP

        Good history lesson-Raft and R.Regan wanted so much for alternating Games with Princeton and Rutgers but Carril and Young wanted no part-the Big Games were with St. Peters-

  • hallstorm

    This is a really great schedule and should prepare them better for both Big East play and any post-season tournaments. I feel that Williard has a hard time with seeing teams on video; he has shown a great track record with playing teams the second time around. I’m just thinking that-with this kind of schedule-it should give The Hall some different looks at very quality opponents and coaches who have their kids ready to play early on. Hopefully, this can have them better prepared earlier in the season I hope this also maybe even encourages better in-game management.

  • fouline

    Our OCS was always about a frightened coach. He was afraid for his win/loss record. He was afraid the team wasn’t talented enough to compete. And he was afraid that his coaching would be questioned. So it’s about time. My question is how many games did we lose because we didn’t challenge our players to step up?And how many recruits did we lose because of our mediocre record for the last 5 years?… I don’t know either. But it makes you wonder though, doesn’t it.

    • In KW’s defense, they didn’t quite have the horses during mid-KW era to play this type of schedule. Though that obviously is his responsibility.

      • fouline

        Maybe I am a little hard on him… but… What Whitehead did for the team this year was to put pressure on them to excel. He took the chance and it worked. That’s what Willard & Company should have done, ask more from the team… challenge the team. But you have to risk failure. And he was reluctant in most cases to try.

        • Between the character of guys he was left to deal with from Gonzo and KW’s failure to recruit, not sure what you can do during those middle years.

          Maybe a really, really good coach could have cultivated something. I’m sure he challenged his teams (see the Brian Oliver, Gene Teague, etc. suspensions)