Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger asks if we're looking at another year without a New Jersey school in the NCAA tournament. The last time was 2006, when both Seton Hall and Monmouth represented the Garden State:
Q. Are we looking at another year when none of the eight New Jersey schools makes the NCAA Tournament? Hard to believe that Seton Hall and Monmouth in 2006 were the last teams from the state to be part of March Madness. But which school can you make a case for right now as being NCAA Tournament worthy? There really isn’t one. Rutgers hasn’t been to the NCAAs since 1991, St. Peter’s hasn’t been since 1995, Rider hasn’t been since 1994. It’s amazing, really, given the quality of high school basketball talent in the state.
It's looking like it Tom, it's hard to believe a team from New Jersey will be represented at this point, unless there's a conference winner somewhere along the line. Luicci also asks whether UNC should be ranked today (they're not), asks for recognition for Jamie Dixon, the Arkansas Pine-Bluff victory over USC and teams both on the rise and on the decline.
Could Seton Hall's disappointing season be attributed to their conditioning? LFBall with an interesting thought on the subject:
Again I question the strength and conditioning guys working at SHU as much as the coaches and players. I also again say Pope, Lawrence, and Mitchell are not playing as well as they should. Yes Pope is rebounding, but he has so much more potential. Maybe Bobby needs to allow Dermon Player to get into the coaching motivation thing he does so well. I have seen Dermon motivate guys into playing much better than they really are. But stupid fouls, turnovers, missed free throws, etc. are always affected by conditioning which impacts the mental part of the game.
First, everyone should add LFBall On Hoops to their blog roll, it's a great read, the author has a serious passion for HS and College hoops. Secondly, I tend to agree that conditioning seems to be a problem with this team. I mean, it's pretty apparent, outside of Georgetown, they've played their competition tight and to the wire, before falling apart at the end of the game. Whether it's letting the game slip away in overtime or the final minutes of regulation, the team has shown the tendency to let it go down the stretch. We've seen the terrible free throw shooting lose us a game or two, there have been defensive breakdowns ever since Big East play began and against Georgetown the team was committing fouls on just about every Hoya possession, all signs of conditioning. Against Georgetown, the Hoyas were in the bonus with 10 minutes left in the second half, a sign of the Pirates tiring and making lazy plays on the defensive end, resulting in careless fouls.
This year's Seton Hall squad lacks an identity, a revelation that came to the folks at the Setonia Blog, shortly after watching the Pirates defeated at Georgetown:
However, we forgot one thing. We are Seton Hall. A team that thrives when it is playing with its back against the wall and everyone has counted it out. A team that relies on creating chaos rather than relying on pure talent. The recent game against Georgetown featured a team we had not seen before. One that became complacent with its supposed talent level and forgot how to fight. One that lacked an identity.
Joe Borzello of College Hoops Net lists Seton Hall as a team to watch in the Big East Tournament while listing the Pirates as a potential bubble team:
Team to Watch in the Conference Tournament: Seton Hall: The Pirates aren’t consistent enough defensively or smart enough offensively to get an at-large bid, but they aren’t easy to play. They love to get up-and-down the floor, and they have a multitude of scorers that can get hot and hurt opposing defenses.
Bubble Teams: Cincinnati, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Marquette
If a bubble ever existed, it's time to consider it popped until the Pirates can reel off three or four in a row, heck, I'll settle for three out of four. If they're going to make a push, it's going to need to start, yesterday.
1050 ESPN announced a college basketball tour with host Brandon Tierney that will hit eight schools in New Jersey and New York, giving out career advice for those interested in sports journalism:
"The tour allows me to interact with the next wave of broadcasters, and meet with members of the school newspaper, radio station, and any Journalism majors at each school," he adds. "I enjoy helping proactive interns at 1050 ESPN and young minds looking to crack an extremely challenging field. We have a responsibility to assist those who have a passion for this business, and help them succeed."
What teams have hurt their NCAA Tournament chances with their non-conference play? You guessed it, Seth Davis lists Seton Hall:
Seton Hall (224) The Pirates are undoubtedly a tournament-caliber team, but their inability to win close games could cost them a bid. They have now lost seven of their last nine games, and even though their road win at Cornell is going to look good on Selection Sunday, they also played six games against teams ranked 250 or below. Seton Hall needs to somehow get to .500 inside the Big East or the Pirates will likely be on the outside looking in.