Kevin Willard can't seem to figure out Rick Pitino.
Pitino, however, seems to have figured out Jordan Theodore.
It was a rough loss last night at Madison Square Garden, and Seton Hall now finds themselves squarely on the bubble.
Here are the 5 Thoughts from last night:
- Shut Down
The key to Seton Hall's offense is Jordan Theodore. When he makes plays, the Pirates tend to do well. The Cardinals did a great job last time of neutralizing him, and they did it again last night. There were no driving lanes for Theodore to take, and when there were, Gorgui Dieng (6 BLK) was there to make sure he and other Pirates didn't score either. Since the threes weren't dropping either, and the Pirates had their issues with turnovers (17), that translated into a loss.
Seton Hall tried to come back late, getting up off the mat after being down by 15 at one point in the second half, but they would get no closer than 5 points. Theodore and Herb Pope engineered the comeback with some inspired hustle plays and clutch baskets, including an NBA-range three from Theodore over Peyton Siva. That last-ditch effort to save the season was nice to see because in years past, Seton Hall might have quit with the plays that Louisville was making, and just played out the string. It was helped along by the fact that Louisville isn't a great finishing team, with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith making potentially critical errors down the stretch, most of them forced by the Pirates.
- Sweating Out Sunday
With the loss, because it wasn't a bad loss (neutral floor, team that will be dancing), Seton Hall now finds themselves on the very edge of the potential field of 68. The Committee will decide their fate, and when you look at the Pirates' overall body of work, it's better than a lot of the bubble teams they're competing with. Some scoreboard-watching is in order, of course, but Seton Hall played the 15th-best out of conference schedule (when OOC play ended, though their OOC SOS at end of the year was 126) in terms of RPI and went 11-1 in that schedule. The Pirates also have 4 Top-50 wins this season, more than a good number of bubble teams do.
Theirs is a resume that will either barely get them in, or barely squeeze them out. I wouldn't complain either way, because the body of work is worthy, but the finish to the season certainly isn't. We'll just have to wait and see.