No. 4 Pirates ready for No. 5 Texas Tech in NIT opener
Following a week full of questions for the Seton Hall Pirates, their post season fate has been released.
The No. 4 ranked Pirates will face the No. 5 Texas Tech on Tuesday night at Prudential Center, according to the Seton Hall Athletic Department.
The Pirates are coming off of a loss to Notre Dame, who received a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, in the second round of the Big East Tournament, 68-56.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi did not even have Seton Hall on the bubble in his last prediction prior to the Selection Sunday show, however the Pirates still thought that the NCAAs were in their future.
“We held out hope (for the NCAAs), but its amazing how many really good teams got left out of the NCAA and how many really good teams are in the NIT,” head coach Bobby Gonzalez said.
Many experts said that the Pirates were going to be left out of Wednesday’s “win and in” loss to the Fighting Irish, but Gonzalez and Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey both said to watch out for Seton Hall.
“You know what, right now nobody is going to talk about Seton Hall,” Brey said following Wedneday’s game. “Just give it a few days. Keep Seton Hall on the board. Just keep Seton Hall on the board.”
The Pirates will be without senior forward Robert Mitchell, who was removed from the team on Sunday just hours before the team was selected for the NIT.
“It wasn’t just based on Wednesday’s comments,” Gonzalez said on Mitchell’s removal. “There’s history there. I have went through enough to make this decision. I met with him in December, before the second semester, and made him and the university aware that he is going to graduate in May.”
Texas Tech will be coming into Tuesday’s game off of a 80-68loss to No. 1 Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday.
The Red Raiders are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
They are 3-13 against teams in the top 50 in RPI.
However, their strength of schedule ranks No. 12 in the country, including eight games against teams in the top 25 RPI.
Tip off at Prudential Center is set for 9 p.m.
Tim LeCras can be reached at email@example.com.