Soooo, it's finally here!
The Big East released their full slate of conference games today, and here are the game days, times and networks where you'll be able to catch all the Seton Hall Basketball action:
Tuesday, Dec. 31 - @ Providence, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, Jan. 4 - vs Creighton, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Wednesday, Jan. 8 - vs Villanova, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Saturday, Jan. 11 - @ Marquette, 2 p.m. (FSN)
Saturday, Jan. 18 - @ Georgetown, 12 p.m. (FS1)
Thursday, Jan. 23 - @ St. John's, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Saturday, Jan. 25 - vs DePaul, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Wednesday, Jan. 29 - vs Butler, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, Feb. 1 - @ Xavier, 12 p.m. (CBSSN)
Friday Feb. 7 - @ Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Tuesday, Feb. 11 - vs Marquette, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Thursday, Feb. 13 - vs St. John's, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Thursday, Feb. 20 - vs Georgetown, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
Sunday, Feb. 23 - @ Creighton, 5 p.m. (FSN)
Tuesday, Feb. 25 - @ DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Friday, Feb. 28 - vs Providence, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Monday, Mar. 3 - vs Xavier, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, Mar. 8 - @ Butler, 5 p.m. (FS1)
CBSSN- CBS Sports Network
FS1- Fox Sports 1
FSN- Fox Sports Network
The Big East Tournament will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 in its entirety with all teams qualifying from March 12- March 15. The first day will feature two "play-in" games, with a full slate of four quarterfinal games on March 13, then the semis and finals after that.
By the way, "Fox Sports Network" doesn't mean the national network (Channel 5 in the NY area). It means it will be carried by the regional FSN network (I'm guessing FSN-Midwest because both times Seton Hall plays on FSN are on the road against Marquette and Creighton).
Because this is a true round-robin schedule, the fairness of the schedule isn't as debatable as in years past. The Pirates will play every team twice, once home and once away.
They get two instances where they will get a full week between games- between road games @ Marquette and @ Georgetown, and between home games vs St. John's and Georgetown. This is nice, especially for the full week between road games because those two games against the Golden Eagles and Hoyas are part of the longest stretch away from home all year (three straight games). Not only that, but BOTH times, the Pirates will have a full week to prepare for Georgetown, always a plus considering the Princeton-style offense John Thompson III employs is very, very tough to prep for in a condensed time period.
The Pirates will also have four times where they are the only Big East game of the day. Those games are @ St. John's, vs Butler, vs Georgetown and vs Providence. You'll notice that three of those games are at home, but also that three of the four are on CBS Sports Net, making for some real nice exposure opportunities for both the team and the Prudential Center.
The slate features one rather hellacious late-season stretch after the second "bye week," with the Pirates playing Georgetown on the 20th of February, then having no more than two days between their next FOUR games on the schedule (@ Creighton, @ DePaul, vs Providence, vs Xavier). That includes just ONE day between the two road contests against the Blue Jays and Blue Demons, which I guess is the payback for getting a full week to prep for the Hoyas twice. This means the team will stay on the road for about four days, a long time for a college basketball team. This stretch could be a make-or-break stretch depending on how the rest of the season goes, so Seton Hall would do well to get a nice cushion with their games leading up to that one. Of course, none of the games will be easy. After this stretch, the Pirates have four days until their season finale at Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler.
Overall, the schedule is easier in terms of rest early in the conference season, and really hard late in the season. The overwhelming key, therefore, is to stay healthy and relatively rested in the first half of the Big East slate, and to take FULL advantage of the bye weeks, especially the second one. This means watching the minutes of everyone, with the bigs needing their rest just because of the nature of the position, and the young guards needing rest to avoid burnout (Gibbs hasn't seen college game action in almost two years, and Sina's a freshman).
Now, from what we're hearing out of workouts, the team is in pretty good physical shape, so we'll see how this keeps up and translates into the season. Looking at the non-conference schedule in combination with the Big East slate, the amount of rest between games could be a nice way to prepare for conference play, with some very short stretches between games as well as two week-long gaps.
But regardless, this just makes you wish for the season to start even more. Hazard Zet Forward!