As Seton Hall men’s basketball enters the most vital part of its schedule, the team needs to play the best basketball it has in order to put itself in position for the NCAA Tournament.
Last year the Pirates finished the regular season with 22 wins. For Seton Hall to do the same this season, it would have to win all of its games the rest of the way. However, with weaker small conference teams than previous seasons and the Big East being as competitive as it is, Seton Hall could likely finish 6-2, get to 20 wins and reach the tournament.
In order for the Pirates to go on this run, they will need to pick it up on the offensive end heading into their matchup with Providence on Wednesday, Feb. 8, specifically from three-point range. In the three games prior to Wednesday, Feb. 8, Seton Hall shot 28.9 percent from three, including a 16.7 percent game in a five-point loss to Butler. According to NCAA.com, the team’s season average of 33.5 percent has them ranked 229th in the NCAA out of 347 teams.
As a team that started shooting well in non-conference play, the display behind the arc has made the offense stagnant and been disappointing in crucial games.
Khadeen Carrington came into the season expecting to be the main contributor in scoring coming off 41.8 percent shooting last year, including 33.5 percent from three. His season totals are as hoped, shooting 43.3 percent and 36.9 percent from behind the arc; however these numbers are misleading. In conference play, Carrington is shooting a mere 36 percent and only 23.6 percent from three.
Myles Powell was brought in to be a knockdown shooter from long-range as well as any other part of the floor. He is shooting 38 percent total and 29 percent from three. Powell has shown some promise lately however and has picked up some of the slack Carrington has left for him.
Despite having only a six-point game in the Pirates’ previous matchup vs. Georgetown, Powell led the Pirates in points in a tough visiting loss to Xavier where he scored 26 and made six three-pointers. A trouble he has had is inconsistency. The first three-game road-trip in the Big East saw him shoot only 11 percent. He will need to find some consistency to get the Pirates on the road to victory.
The most impressive Pirate thus far with his shooting has been Desi Rodriguez. After shooting 38.6 percent from three last season, Rodriguez has put up a three-point percentage of 45.2 percent in conference play and has been huge for Seton Hall on numerous occasions. Against DePaul, Rodriguez made five of seven three’s and followed that up by having four in the next two games against Marquette and Providence; however, those resulted in losses.
The Pirates need to shoot better but it also needs to be a full team effort. Seton Hall ranks second to last in the Big East in three-point percentage and seventh in overall field goal percentage. In addition, the team ranks only ahead of Providence and DePaul for total points-per-game.
Kevin Willard is known as a defensive coach who can recruit offensive players to get it done, however it will take the backcourt of Seton Hall to play to its potential in order to make the run needed to reach the NCAA Tournament. If Carrington can find his way back into a shooting grove, Powell continues his momentum into the most important part of the season and Rodriguez can continue being a key contributor, Seton Hall will be dancing come March.
Keith Egan is a visual and sound media and journalism major from Tinton Falls, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.