NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: The mascot for the Louisville Cardinals performs during their second round game of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Both Louisville and Seton Hall put forth a Herculean effort on the defensive end of the floor tonight; no two ways about it. Unfortunately, the Pirates walked away from the Worlds Most Famous Arena for the last time this year on the losing end of a hard fought battle by a score of 61 - 55.
Here's the truth, unless Jeremy Hazell was able to get his visa cleared from Kazakhstan, I don't think Seton Hall had a chance against Louisville's interior defense on this particular night. That's right, that's how good they were. Stifling like. Aaron Cosby was 0-fer from deep, and as we've said ad infinitum, the Pirates live and die by the three. Tonight, sadly, it was the latter, as Seton Hall shot a horrific 3-19 (15%) from three-land.
Nobody shot well tonight; Seton Hall shot just 33% from the field and Louisville, 38%. Since I'm on the topic of defense, lets for a moment speak about the mighty imposing figure that is Gorgui Dieng. Having watched Dieng twice now this year gives me even more cause to balk at the fact that Syracuse's Fab Melo was anointed as the best defensive player in the Big East. Rubbish, I say. Big East leader in blocks, Dieng amassed another 6 and altered countless attempts at the rim (nebulous wording, I realize) that won't show up in the box score; awful impressive.
Herb Pope had a nice night in the stats sheet with 15 boards and 11 points, but making layups continues to be difficult for the big fella to convert. I don't mean to kick a man while he's down, but these are fundamental things a player needs to be able to do if they want to continue at this level. Jordan Theodore played his heart out, per usual, but tonight was not his night. JT had a 1:3 ratio of assists to turnovers (2 assists, 6 turnovers) and he tallied a game high 17 points on 4-11 from the field. On a personal note, it's evident how much Jordan Theodore cares about Seton Hall, and the game of basketball, so on this night I truly feel for him.
What next? We wait. Insufferable waiting until Selection Sunday. Until then, there will be novices and guru's alike, cantankerously speculating on whether or not Seton Hall will receive an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. These discussions are inevitable, in fact, they have gone on for weeks within the Seton Hall community. However, I'd urge you to consider one thing on the final day of the regular season; this Pirate team amassed 20 wins. TWENTY. There were certainly ups and downs, manic level highs and depressive lows, but I'm awful proud of Coach Willard and this team for what they did on the court, and how they've conducted themselves off the court. Now don't misunderstand me, I have tremendously high expectations for the future of this program, but we must not forget how far this program has come, objectively, in such a short time.
I'm proud to be a Pirate.
HAZARD ZET FORWARD!