Pirates on the bubble with NCAA Tourney in sight

After a weekend loss to St. John’s, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team finds itself in a precarious position.

As the team approached one of its most important stretches of the season, including the contest against Creighton, the Hall will have key opportunities to secure big wins against Villanova and Xavier,.

Joey Khan/Photography and Digital Editor

The Pirates entered this week knowing they will need need to deal with these games to help their fading chances of making the NCAA Tournament, but there is hope.

According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Pirates are the last team in on his last four teams in list, a list that features Marquette, Arkansas and Clemson. Teams like Indiana and Tennessee find themselves on Lunardi’s last four out, but both have compelling cases to jump Seton Hall for an at-large bid.

How do the Pirates stack up to the rest of the teams on the bubble?

According to CBS Sports, entering Wednesday night Seton Hall owned an RPI ranked 49th in the country and a strength of schedule rating ranked 48th in the country. The Pirates have a dismal 1-5 record against Top 25 teams, with the lone win coming against a South Carolina team playing without their best player in Sindarius Thornwell. At this point, the team’s best win came at the Pearl Harbor Classic against California, who seems to be safely in the tournament.

In comparison, Marquette has an RPI of 84, a strength of schedule of 63 and a 2-4 record against Top 25 teams, its signature win coming against Villanova, who was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time.

Arkansas has an RPI of 44 and a strength of schedule that ranks 66th, but is 0-3 against Top 25 teams and suffered a bad loss to arguably one of the worst Power Five teams in the country in Missouri.

Clemson has an RPI of only 56 and has struggled to a 1-6 record against Top 25 teams, but have the 18th strongest schedule in the country working in its favor of making the tournament.

On the outside looking in are Indiana and Tennessee, which each have signature wins that are equal to, if not better than, most of the other teams on the bubble.

Indiana has an RPI of 93 and a strength of schedule of 43, but the Hoosiers have knocked off powerhouses such as Kansas and North Carolina. Tennessee on the other hand, has an RPI of 47 and the fifth strongest schedule in the country. Its signature win came almost a month ago against Kentucky.

To be frank, the bubble is extremely weak this year, as is evident with some of the teams that currently find themselves on it. In a normal year, a team like Arkansas would have been written off a long time ago due to its average RPI and strength of schedule combined with an awful loss to Missouri and no wins against the Top 25.

Seton Hall still has a chance to pick up some signature wins and burst the bubble. The team must avoid bad losses down the stretch to the likes of DePaul on the road and Georgetown at home and take care of business against some talented teams if they want to avoid ending up in the NIT.

Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at tyler.calvaruso@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.

Author: Tyler Calvaruso

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