Several Seton Hall opponents on early 2015-16 top 25 lists

Connect with

Apparently releasing lists of projected preseason top 25 teams the day after the title game is a thing. Several Seton Hall opponents have found their way on these way-too-early lists.

There is a handful of said top 25 lists, but I’ll stick with three: Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports’ College Basketball Talk and USA Today.

All three outlets have pegged Virginia (potential Charleston Classic opponent), Wichita State, Villanova and Butler as top 25 caliber heading into next season. CBT surprisingly has Marquette at No. 20 on their list and Georgetown at No 18; neither of the other two sources agree with that, although USA Today said they also considered the Golden Eagles.

CBT also has Georgia at No. 11 on their list, while the other two don’t have the Bulldogs at all.

What this means

Not too much, as is the case with most polls and rankings, but it’s fun to use as a speculation tool.

I do agree with CBT that Georgia will be a solid top-50 team next year that has a shot at making the NCAA tournament again, and if that’s the case, Seton Hall has the chance at playing three NCAA-caliber teams in their non-conference if they meet Virginia at the Charleston Classic. At the very least, the Hall will host both UGA and Wichita State at the Rock. Those are attractive games RPI- and entertainment-wise.

Looking at the Big East, it looks like Butler and Villanova will be favorites to receive preseason top 25 rankings going into next season. I don’t think Marquette is ready to take that leap yet despite a top-10 recruiting class and Georgetown loses four seniors (Josh Smith, Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins, Aaron Bowen) plus D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who had declared for the NBA Draft but reconsidered as I was writing this.

The Hoyas, like Seton Hall, were looking like they would have to rely a lot on the development of their current freshman classes plus incoming freshmen bigs Marcus Derrickson (247Sports No. 95) and Jessie Govan (No. 49), but DSR’s return really helps.

When considering a third top-25 caliber team to join Butler and Villanova, I was indecisive between Georgetown and Xavier since Kris Dunn looks to be leaning toward the NBA (edit: or maybe not); Smith-Rivera’s return definitely tips the scales in the Hoyas’ favor. However, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s to not count a Chris Mack-coached team out.

Like last summer, all of these teams will be previewed in-depth over the coming months.

  • Pirate On The Panhandle

    Think it’s
    GR8 to look ahead because looking back is NOT a lot of fun.

    • 11yearplan

      Well said Jerry. November can’t come soon enough.

  • fouline

    One of the biggest problems for the Willard era teams among the long list has been lack of mental toughness. Several years ago when they were ranked briefly – and the operative word is briefly – they cracked and fell out of the top 25. And we all know how they fell apart this year. But this year, it wasn’t about the talent or the short bench. It was about their toughness. Their ability to play through the pressure. I always thought the problem started with the soft OCS. A more competitive OCS would force the players to figure out how to adapt their talents to teams that might be more talented and mature. It also might help at tourney time, if they play well in the BE.

    • iratepirate

      Our schedule this year was not “that” soft. We could have had in our OOC: GW, Clemson, LSU, Wichita State, Georgia. That could have been easily five top 100 games in the Out Of Conference. Mercer, Rutgers, and USF also could have turned out better (top 150 type teams) but ended up being cupcakes.

      The big deal is exactly what you said it was. Mental toughness. This coach doesn’t have it. He is also incredibly weak in game planning and Xs/Os. Can’t make adjustments, can’t run an offense, can’t even run inbound plays. All of this starts with the coaching staff and bleeds into the players. If you can’t motivate your team to play up for almost every game, you aren’t doing your job.

      All in all, I’d be fine if we played an OOC slightly better than last year (I want an SOS around 100-150) The key is just to WIN games. Like John Madden says in his barely coherent ramblings, “You aren’t going to win if you can’t put the ball in the endzone”.

      Play the schedule we played with just one loss (to WSU, LSU, or Georgia), and you might be ranked coming into league play. You would already have four good wins under your belt for the committee and 5-6 games against top 100 teams.

      • fouline

        Maybe you’re right about the OC not being “that” bad. But ultimately it did nada for us. My other problem with the weak OC is the games played in So/Nwk. Caldwell, Mercer, St. P, Mt. St Mary’s, Maine. It does not a thing for the fan base. We have to do better. We have to bring people to the games. It has a tremendous affect on the players and the purse.

        • iratepirate

          Caldwell was exhibition and doesn’t count at all. It doesn’t matter where we play or even if it is open doors or not.

          Mercer was fine and I think Chris would back that up. Good opponent. Doesn’t really matter where we play them. They’re a 100-200 level team and a “good” to “neutral” win for us which is fine. Oh, unless you’re a Kevin Willard team and lose to them like we did the year before this past one. Unforgivable that one was.

          As for the others you mentioned, you need cupcakes in your schedule. Doesn’t matter where you play them. The key is to keep it to two cupcakes a year. Switch the third to something more stomachable against a “neutral opponent”.

          • Chris McManus

            The Mercer 2-for-1 turned out to be pretty solid RPI-wise, disregarding the loss on the road. They were a 75-175 RPI type team the first two seasons before losing a ton of talent prior to this season’s clash. Sort of the luck of the draw although 212th in RPI isn’t that bad.

          • fouline

            There are 2 parts to this issue: what can a team with a better RPI do for our team and what will that same team do for the fans. When I mentioned the small schools we play at Walsh or the Rock, I was talking about the entertainment/development value. Small schools are not a draw. And at the same time at best(except Mercer) they have a possible negative affect on RPI. A good team with a high profile satisfies both needs: a challenge to the team in terms of developing skills and attitude and entertainment. And we need a fan base to come together. I know that all schools play cupcakes. But when you’re a perennial NCAA team you can get away with it. We can’t.

          • Chris McManus

            Agree with you. I believe I touched on this in my non-conference review piece when I referred to the lack of top-100 opponents at the Rock and I did a few times on SOJuice.

            Two or three of the NJIT/Monmouth/Saint Peter’s are fine if there is two or more draws (fan- and RPI-wise) of the caliber of Georgia/Wichita State.

      • Chris McManus

        Just wanted to point out that, at least in my opinion, Mercer, Rutgers, and USF were never going to be top-150 quality teams. I pointed that out here when referring back to my predictions last summer:

        Rutgers, maybe since the B1G helps RPI if you win a few, but USF was in total rebuild mode and Mercer lost so much talent. Bob Hoffman is a good coach so Mercer strung together a solid conference run, but playing them on opening night made things easier.

        • iratepirate

          I suppose I should have said that hopefully one of three could have had a better than expected season. Still probably wouldn’t be top 150, but could be close.

  • Fathead

    Here’s to hoping the schedule in Charleston plays to our favor this year, and we can get a few quality OOC games (and wins!) in the first weeks of the season.

    Also, good to see so much of the community from SOJ here – keep up the good work Chris!

    • Chris McManus

      Would be great to play Virginia in the final. All the other teams are beatable with OK State and Ole Miss in the same boat as the Hall. Haven’t checked on all the teams but Bradley and LB State could be solid too.

      Thanks! I’m happy to see a handful of guys from SOJ too. Comments take these sites to another level.

  • Chris McManus

    Lot of great non-conference discussion, but what does everyone think re: the Big East. Who is that third top-25 caliber team to join Butler/Villanova? Is it Georgetown, Providence if they keep Kris Dunn, or perhaps Xavier as a more under the radar candidate?

  • vivonab

    signed with Arizona State as head coach today. So there goes one potential replacement for Coach Willard. If Willard fails to improve next season and he is dismissed I believe the AD will again choose to go the small school head coach route (perhaps Iona again).
    That will leave the Pirates re-tooling for several more years. That should not happen. School President Esteban needs to get involved to save the one money making athletic program at the University.

    • Chris McManus

      Seton Hall now has more funds available via the Fox Sports deal and has better infrastructure (both facilities and lack of Gonzo fallout) to sell to a potential coach. If $1.4m+ and a better foundation can’t attract some bigger-name coaches, well…

      • fouline

        Chris, a good AD would realize that a winning program brings in lots of money through tkts sales, merchandise and donations. Easy for the school to pay closer to 2 million for a coach without breaking the bank. The real problem is, pulling the trigger.

        • vivonab

          I think that they think they will make another mistake by “pulling the trigger” and wind up with another Steve Lavin or worse yet another Bobby Gonzalez. It is just a fear factor that the administration needs to get over to make the program better and a winner.

          • fouline

            It’s called fear of success. It started when PJ left. One bad choice after another. Amaker was the bold move to get back into the game. But it took John Brennen to fly down to Duke and bring him to SO. I said it a long time ago, SHU worships mediocrity. Not all, obviously. But the people who run the program do. That’s our problem.

          • vivonab

            Then the progam needs to be overhauled starting with the AD. Seton Hall needs to realize that they have had success in the past and can again if they just make some important decisions. President Esteban took a bold step when he decided to join with the other Catholic institutions and form the new Big East. Now they need to move on a coach who will take them forward. If they get in the NCAA tournament they have a chance to do great things. Unfortunately they have a coach now who is a good loser not a strong winner.

          • Biff Roughneck

            First of all, it was Bob BrennAn. This fear of success stuff is nonsense.

          • fouline

            Sorry about the John/Bob not the rest.

  • shucourtside

    Willard needs to go. Besides the fact that he’s a “good guy,” has good character, etc., he really doesn’t bring anything else to the table. We’ve flat lost games because of his (lack of) coaching. Anyone remember the Oklahoma game two years ago at the Barclays Center? That’s the one game that comes to mind. We were up by a bunch with only a minute or so to go and Lon Kruger just out coached him for the win. We have absolutely no inbound plays. Zero. I’ve never seen him call a good inbound play. He can’t recruit. Thank god for Shaheen. He has no control and leadership over his players. This is show year after year. So, why is he still here? We as fans should be outraged. He finally has the talent and there’s no excuses now. We should cut our losses now before it’s too late. I want a new coach next year. Here’s a name to throw out there: Terry Dehere. He has the St. Anthony’s connection, he’s Mr. Seton Hall, and I think he’d have the leadership. And he’s played in the NBA. Terry Dehere and Shaheen Holloway as coaches would bring players here, and put us back on the map.