A January slump has many Pirate fans worried about the fate of this season. But only halfway through Big East play, the most important games are yet to come for the Hall.
While Seton Hall has not had the success they have had in previous seasons at the Prudential Center, there’s no question the home crowd has offered an advantage. In games like St. John’s and Butler, it was part of the impact that pushed the team towards the victory column. After the Pirates travel to Indianapolis to take on Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, they will return home for crucial games against Creighton and Georgetown.
This team cannot overlook Butler, who despite falling short in Newark, have linked together quality wins with more prove at the 3-5 record they hold. And at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler is a different team.
That being said, Seton Hall knows they can beat this team. Butler coach LaVall Jordan will certainly have a new game plan, but the Pirates know they have one as well that is proven to win over Butler and get a crucial road victory.
Picking up visiting victories put Seton Hall back where they were in the beginning of the season, where controlling their homecourt would put them on the path to the postseason. Having Creighton and Georgetown come to the Rock, gives the Hall the chance to get out of the middle of the conference standings and find themselves in the top half once again.
Here’s how they can do it.
In their first matchup, Butler was held to 25% from three-point range, while hitting none in the first half. This being an area they normally excel at, shooting just under 37%, makes it a key part of the Bulldogs game to lock down. Seton Hall currently ranks second in the Big East defensively against the three, and will need to show that again at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Creighton ends January as the top scoring offense in the Big East. In a conference that features high scoring offenses in Marquette and Villanova, the offensive talent of the Blue Jays cannot be overlooked. Seton Hall’s defense has been good at times, but shaky during others. It will come down to key players like Quincy Mcknight and Michael Nzei to secure what would be a win to keep Seton Hall on the right track.
Georgetown has had struggles but after an upset over St. John’s in the Garden, the Hoyas are 3-4 and currently at the top half of the conference. The key to their team is Center Jesse Govan, one of the most dangerous players in the Big East. In a conference that lacks dominant big men, Jesse Govan gives Georgetown the possibility to win any given night with the edge in the paint. He has the Hoyas leading the conference in offensive rebounding, where the Pirates are second to last. Sandro Mamukelashvili and the entire Seton Hall front court will need to show out, with shooting performances by Myles Powell and Myles Cale needing to be on point.
There is no question there’s a challenge ahead for the Pirates, but the possibility to take control in the Big East is still there. Each games opponent is different, which requires all points of the Pirates games to be on point for each given night.
Keith Egan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @keith_egan10.