Coming into today's noon tip on ABC network television, Seton Hall had lost eight conference games in a row; not really the stat you want heading onto the court of arguably the Big East's best team. Make it an uneven nine. Seton Hall has now lost 13 of their last 14 games and their record stands at 13-15 (2-13) after losing to Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals today 79 - 61.
I'm a massive proponent of hyperbole, so I'll share with you that I couldn't help but thinking that this Seton Hall team reminds me of Sisyphus (on the hardwood), pushing a massive boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down again... and again.
Seton Hall matched Louisville for most of the first half's first half, but that story has become redundant. Without the horses (yes, including Russdiculous), Seton Hall simply can't complete against top 50 teams with their depleted roster as it stands. At the half, Seton Hall trailed Louisville 40 - 26, and as dreadful as it sounds, it could have been worse, as the Cardinals smothered the overwhelmed Pirates the final eight minutes of the half. All that said, Louisville is a very, very good team. Kevin Willard was simply unable to hide his teams deficiencies the way he may have been able to versus a lesser opponent, so Louisville must be given its due credit.
It's well documented that Seton Hall's roster has been decimated by injuries which have undoubtedly affected the outcome of this season; however, it's also well documented that Seton Hall has the insufferable propensity for not taking care of the ball. Granted, Payton Siva and Russ Smith form one of the best back-courts in all of college basketball and can turnover a lot of good teams, but the frequency with which Seton Hall turns over the ball is unacceptable (SHU: 19 turnovers, Louisville: 9 turnovers).
Eugene Teague battled today, shooting 70% from the field, scoring 16 points, grabbing 8 boards while also dishing out 4 assists. Talented junior Center, Gorgui Dieng had a monster game for the bad guys, dumping in a career high 23 points (shooting 10 of 11 from the field) and Seton Hall had absolutely no answer for the Senegal native. Without big men Brandon Mobley, Patrik Auda and Kevin Johnson, Seton Hall managed to match Louisville on the glass by just one fewer rebound 30 - 31.
The good news is that Seton Hall's final three regular season conference games (prior to the BET) are against Villanova, at Providence and Rutgers. By no means am I suggesting these are likely wins, but Villanova is the lone team of the bunch to have a winning record in conference, so it's conceivable the Pirates can bandage up enough of their walking wounded and give Pirates fans who have been thirsting for a good post game feeling a win or two.
In just over 48 Hours, Seton Hall takes on dashingly well dressed Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats at the Prudential Center. Until then, lets hope none of our guys get injured leaving the Yum! Center in Louisville, KT. See you in Newark for the late Monday night tip, and as always, HAZARD ZET FORWARD.