Seton Hall Pirates: 20-13, 9-9 in the Big East Conference
Head coach: Kevin Willard (9th season)
Players to watch: Myles Powell (22.9 PPG, 2.0 SPG); Myles Cale (10.3 PPG, 38.1 3P%); Sandro Mamukelashvili (8.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG)
Season recap: It’s been a roller-coster season for Kevin Willard’s Seton Hall squad.
On Dec. 8, the Pirates toppled then-No. 9 Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, and Myles Powell’s 28-point effort put the All-Big East selection in the national spotlight.
Seton Hall’s fortunes then worsened, and a string of six conference losses in eight games—including two dropped games to lowly DePaul—left the Pirates at just 13-9 and 4-6 in Big East play. At the beginning of February, Seton Hall had slim odds of making any sort of postseason run.
The rollercoaster ride of a season rose to its highest peak at the best time: March. The Pirates ended the regular season with victories against Marquette and Villanova—then-Nos. 16 and 23, respectively—before narrowly falling to the Wildcats 74-72 in the Big East Tournament final after defeating the Golden Eagles again in the semifinals.
How they make a run: In the Big East tournament quarterfinal, Powell single-handedly outscored Georgetown 29-28 in the first half. With space, the 6-foot-2 guard can take over any game and a Powell hot streak pushes Seton Hall into the second weekend.
How they falter: The Pirates are susceptible to boneheaded mistakes, which has proven to been their downfall in numerous contests. In the final minute of the Big East tournament semifinal, Jared Rhoden turned what should have been a game-sealing dunk into three free throws for the Golden Eagles in comical fashion. Rhoden missed a wide open slam, and to make matters worse, received a technical foul for touching the ball while still hanging on the rim. Seton Hall is unable to fix this sloppiness and its NCAA tournament run gets cut short.