Seton Hall has what it takes for a long dance through March

Seton Hall showed everyone at the Big East Tournament why they’re arguably pound-for-pound the toughest team in the conference.

The Pirates fought their way through to the championship game where they eventually came up short in a classic to Villanova, Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The loss, a 74-72 classic, was every bit the 12-round fight fans have come to expect from head coach Kevin Willard’s team.

What we know about Seton Hall is that they surpassed preseason expectations. They didn’t finish eighth in the conference, as they were projected, they wound up in third place. The Pirates secured non-conference wins against Kentucky and Maryland along the way to spice up their resume. Then their star, Myles Powell, lit up Madison Square Garden last week with his phenomenal, record-breaking performance at the Big East Tournament.

Seton Hall is tough and they’re not afraid to take an opponent’s best shot and then hit back. Powell is their one lone star name, but he packs an explosive punch all by himself.

Powell’s impact, along with a gritty supporting cast, coached so expertly by Willard, makes them a dangerous team playing with house money in the NCAA Tournament.

Seton Hall, seeded 10th, will face seventh-seeded Wofford in the first round of the tournament, Thursday in Jacksonville. It’s the fourth-straight tournament appearance for the Pirates. They’ll have their work cut out for them with the Terriers.

The Pirates, with their NCAA tourney hopes in jeopardy, closed out their regular season with wins against Marquette and Villanova, the two best teams in the conference. Powell led them to a blowout of Georgetown in their opening round matchup at the Big East Tournament. Then they followed that up with a gritty win over Markus Howard and Marquette before falling short to Villanova.

Now it’s time to dance, and the Pirates have shown they’re ready. Wofford, and their 20-game win streak, will be waiting for them in Jacksonville with the outside shooting of Fletcher Magee.

Magee can shoot the lights out of the gym if opponents are not careful. The Pirates will need to make containing him on the perimeter a priority on defense.

If Seton Hall can get by their opening round opponents, a potential rematch with Kentucky looms.

Seton Hall will be an underdog in this game and that’s nothing new for them. They’ve thrived in the underdog role all season.

If it’s a dangerous unknown like Wofford, or a familiar opponent like Kentucky, Seton Hall has what it takes to stay on the dance floor for quite a while.




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