At 3-4 in the conference, the Pirates find themselves in the middle of a Big East logjam where six teams are within one game of each other. Brendan Prunty predicts that the Big East's final NCAA bid will come from one of four teams:
...it's becoming more and more clear that the league's final bid will come from this group: Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Cincinnati and Louisville. Their candidacies are all virtually the same when you factor in their positives and negatives.
Seton Hall has the advantage over this bunch as of this moment. Already posting wins over Cincinnati and Louisville, the Pirates will return from their three-game road trip to take on the Irish at the Rock. If the last bid is truly decided among these four teams, Seton Hall received a nice gift in playing all three opponents in Newark. The one team I would consider adding to this mix would be Marquette. I'm not ready to give up on the Golden Eagles, they've played every opponent tough and have had more bad beats than the Pirates. In their next 5 games, they have four winnable games in: Rutgers, Depaul, @Prov and USF, they can even afford a loss @UConn and find themselves right back in the middle of the conference.
Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, lists Seton Hall as 7th in the Big East ahead of Connecticut. He also lists the Pirates as the 'rising' team in the conference:
Rising: Does Seton Hall belong in this category because of recent wins over Louisville and Pitt? Or do we look ahead and declare the schedule is about to take a great, big bite out of the Hall? The next three are on the road, and five of the next seven, and seven of the final 11.
Not sure I agree with DeCourcy ranking Seton Hall ahead of UConn. If the Huskies had lost to Texas I would be on board, however, they just beat the #1 team in the country whereas the Pirates knocked off the #9 team in the country. Oh yeah, Connecticut also beat Seton Hall this season. Not to mention, the Huskies also have the better record, albeit, by a half game. The two programs are close, but I'd still give UConn the slight edge.
Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette answered questions regarding the Panthers and their loss to Seton Hall. He was asked about Sterling Gibbs, the Seton Hall Prep standout PG:
Homey: I heard about Sterling Gibbs (Ashton's little brother) during the Seton Hall game. What do you know about him, and will he end up at Pitt? It sounded like he's a top recruit.
Ray Fittipaldo: I know Pitt looked at him a while back, but I think Pitt was involved with other guards and there was not a need for him. Things could change, but I don't think there is mutual interest at this point.
Excellent news for Pirates fans. I assumed the Panthers were the favorites along with Villanova to land Gibbs, however Fittipaldo doesn't see the two parties as having mutual interest. I can live with less competition for Sterling. Let's go Bobby!