The days of Kevin Willard taking issue with the composition of Seton Hall’s conference schedule might finally be over.
The Big East released its 2019-20 conference schedule last week, giving the Pirates a glimpse of what they will be up against this season as they vie for a regular season title and a return trip to the conference championship game. From November to March, Seton Hall will be tested with numerous games against ranked opponents. More importantly, the Pirates have a conference schedule that will allow for the team to be relatively well-rested and at their best for each game.
In the past, Seton Hall has fallen victim to absurdly late start times and short turnarounds between games. That will seldom be the case this upcoming season, as the Pirates’ conference schedule is mostly well spaced out and friendly to a program that has dealt with the worst of the worst when it comes to conference scheduling practices.
Beginning on Jan. 22, Seton Hall will open a rare three-game homestand in the middle of conference play – a much-needed break from travel for a team that opens the season playing four of its first six non-conference games on the road. Not only will the Pirates remain at home during the midway point of Big East play, but they will also not have get on a plane for six weeks. From Jan. 15 to Feb. 29, Seton Hall is either playing at the Prudential Center or hitting the road against programs close to home like Villanova, St. John’s and Georgetown. It might not seem like a key aspect of the schedule, but constant travel tends to take a toll on student athletes. Avoiding mid-season flights and lengthy travel benefits the Pirates.
Seton Hall also benefits from the increased national exposure the conference has granted it this season. The Pirates will play six primetime games in Big East play, the most the program has ever had. Not only does playing in front of a national audience provide Seton Hall’s current roster with the opportunity to make themselves household names, but it also helps tremendously with recruiting as well. Elite high school prospects are typically drawn to programs they always see playing big-time games on national television. Now that Seton Hall is among the group of schools frequently in the national spotlight, it only bodes well for the Pirates on the recruiting front moving forward.
The only legitimate gripe Willard could have about his team’s conference slate is an 11 a.m. start time against Xavier on Feb. 1. However, he’ll have to take that one up with FOX, not the Big East office like he usually does.
Things are finally falling into place for Seton Hall schedule wise and it’s happening at the best possible time. With a team that has the potential to make some serious noise this upcoming season, the Pirates no longer have schedule excuses to fall back on. Now, it’s about going out and proving that all the preseason hype is warranted.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.