With Selection Sunday looming, the Pirates have one more chance to add a key win to their tournament resume before the Big East Championships with their game against Marquette at noon on Sunday at Prudential Center.
The Pirates sit at 16-10 overall (7-8 in the Big East) after defeating their in-state rival Rutgers 76-70 on Tuesday.
It leaves them hanging to the claim of being a bubble team as well as a hope for a potential at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, according to multiple media outlets such as ESPN.com.
The game against Marquette is sandwiched in between the two games against Rutgers.
The game against the Golden Eagles is also Senior Day, where the Pirates will be honoring both John Garcia and Eugene Harvey, as well as fan appreciation day.
With their final two games this season coming on the road and against weaker foes in Rutgers (14-14, 4-11) and Providence (12-15, 4-11), a win over Marquette could help secure a finish with a winning conference record.
It would also be another win to add to their resume along with their wins over Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Cornell.
Seton Hall’s RPI ranking of No. 53 as well as their No. 15 strength of schedule may help their cause, but probably not as much as a win over Marquette would.
The Pirates also find themselves playing for a first round bye in the Big East Tournament, as they are currently tied with Connecticut for eighth place.
The top eight teams in the conference receive a bye on day one of the tournament.
Fortunately for the Pirates, they have some time to get healthy before the game against Marquette. Junior Jeremy Hazell continues to recover from the cut he suffered on his shooting hand, one that required stitches, in the game against St. John’s.
Harvey returned Tuesday against Rutgers from a two game absence while recovering from a wrist injury sustained in the Feb. 14 win vs. DePaul.
Marquette (17-9, 8-6 in conference) finds themselves as one of the last teams into the tournament, according to ESPN.com.
They even received 11 votes in the AP Top 25 poll this week.
The Golden Eagles won six out of their last seven games after a batch of last second losses to start conference play.
Their first four conference losses came by a combined six points.
Their five-game-winning streak helped them recover to be one of only seven Big East teams with a winning conference record.
Marquette’s tournament resume boasts key wins against fellow Big East bubble teams Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida, conference powerhouse Georgetown, and non-conference foe Xavier.
However, they rank only No. 62 in RPI and have only the No. 55 ranked strength of schedule.
A loss to North Carolina State, who currently sits at the bottom of the ACC, could hurt their tournament chances.
Senior Lazar Hayward has become the leader of the Golden Eagles and one of the elite players in the conference, averaging over 18 points and eight rebounds per game.
Junior Jimmy Butler (15.5 points, 6.6 rebounds per game) and sophomore Darius Johnson-Odom (nearly 13 points per game) are the other key contributors to Marquette’s offense.
Tip off is set for noon.
Joshua Jongsma can be reached at email@example.com.