Seton Hall has three games left on its regular season schedule, but the final two will not mean much should the Pirates falter on the road against Georgetown this weekend.
After losing to St. John’s in what initially seemed like a meltdown of epic proportion before a late surge made it a game at the end, Seton Hall’s back will be up against the wall in Washington D.C. on Saturday evening. If the Pirates come out on the wrong end against the Hoyas, there’s not going to be another chance to get it right. Seton Hall’s NCAA Tournament chances will be down the drain.
What’s it going to take for the Pirates to get back on track? Coming out with a sense of urgency may help. Far too many times this season this team has gone through the motions early in games and put themselves in a hole that is too deep to dig out of. Seton Hall cannot afford a five-minute flourish at the end against Georgetown to be the only time the Pirates put it all together on both ends of the court. It’s going to take a full 40-minute performance to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive for another day.
An on-court shakeup could also be what it takes to turn the tide. Kevin Willard hinted at a lineup change following the St. John’s game, and although it remains to be seen what that change will be, it could wind up as a crucial factor in Seton Hall saving its season.
“I am going to make some changes to the starting lineup moving forward,” Willard said. “You can’t have your starting backcourt 6-for-13 on assists and turnovers, so I am going to make some changes to maybe help that out.”
Whether Willard decides to insert Shavar Reynolds or Anthony Nelson at point guard, it will not matter if this team does not snap out of it and realize what’s at stake this weekend. Against St. John’s, the Pirates came out flat and aloof, while the Red Storm came out, as Willard put it, like a “pack of hungry dogs.” St. John’s knew what was at stake in that game and Seton Hall did not. Now, with a chance to put that loss in the rear-view mirror, the Pirates need to be the ones coming out like a pack of hungry dogs.
It’s do or die time for this team when it tips off at 6:30 on Saturday night. Not many expected much of Seton Hall this season, but the Pirates moved the needle with early-season victories over Kentucky at Madison Square Garden and Maryland on the road. Seton Hall needs to channel whatever it took to get the job done against those two powerhouses when they take the court against Georgetown. If that doesn’t happen, the Pirates can begin preparations for the NIT.
Say what you want about this group, but they play with a lot of heart. It wasn’t apparent in the first half against St. John’s, but Seton Hall does not stop fighting until the very end. With a bye week, the hope is that the Pirates recharged their batteries and are prepared to enter Georgetown as if it is a one-game playoff.
“We’ve been fighting for it all year,” said Myles Powell. “We’re not going to stop fighting for what we want.”
Seton Hall has one bullet left in the chamber. How it fires will be the difference between the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at email@example.com or @tyler_calvaruso