With a pair of chances to notch a marquee road win during their non-conference schedule, Seton Hall came up significantly short twice in losses to Wichita State and Georgia over the last two weeks. While this doesn't doom the Hall's chances on Selection Sunday, should their performance in conference play warrant that sort of discussion, it handicaps their résumé in an area that is of great value to the committee.
Since RPI is volatile this early in the season, I'll be using KenPom numbers for the following, although the committee does not officially take the ratings into consideration.
Seton Hall (No. 45, 9-2, non-conf. SoS: 163) wins:
No. 69 George Washington
No. 96 Illinois State (neutral)
No. 168 Saint Peter's
No. 178 Rutgers
No. 206 South Florida (road)
No. 210 Gardner-Webb (neutral)
No. 252 Mercer
No. 260 Nevada (neutral)
No. 265 Mount St. Mary's
No. 333 Maine (presumed)
No. 11 Wichita State (road)
No. 31 Georgia (road)
Although this analysis can be completely trashed either way should Seton Hall pick up big road wins in the Big East or completely fall out of the post-season discussion, it can also play a major factor. The Pirates will likely be a gaudy 10-2 in non-league play, but only two of those wins project as notable right now in Illinois State and George Washington. Not helping Seton Hall's case is the reality that the Redbirds may suffer RPI-wise with leading scorer Devaughn Akoon-Purcell out 4-6 weeks, although they project as the third or fourth-best team in the Missouri Valley.
If Seton Hall must be pit against any similar bubble teams, they won't immediately stand out to the committee by way of an unofficial tiebreaker like a significant non-conference road or neutral court win (usually top-50) unless Illinois State goes on a tear. George Washington, who most recently lost at Penn State, must also be in the NCAA discussion to add value to the Pirates' win in that game since it took place in Newark.
In other words, we're leaving the realm of the committee giving Dancing shoes to schools who have proved they can win NCAA tournament-like games (top-75 opponents, preferably away from home) and entering one where schools back their way into the tournament. More pressure is now put on Seton Hall to win away from home in the Big East, something that the Pirates haven't shown much capability of doing in two tries. Conference play will present between five and seven opportunities for notable road wins depending on how some of the middle tier schools like Creighton and Providence shape up.
There is a long way to go until any of this will really start to matter, but we've annually seen schools with non-conference scalps get the nod on Selection Sunday over those with better records, but less meaningful wins. The Hall qualifies as the latter right now. Seton Hall hasn't come close to any 'bad losses' this season, has so far avoided a statistically weak non-conference schedule (we'll see how the numbers change going forward), but failed to take the next step of putting an asterisk on their résumé by knocking someone off on the road.
Fittingly, their next chance to do so will be during a two-game Midwest tour at Xavier and Creighton, which Kevin Willard said the trip to USF and Georgia was preparation for.