Seton Hall Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Seton Hall Pirates
Big East Conference (20-12, 8-10)

Losing six consecutive conference games from the middle of January through the beginning of February is usually a good enough reason to dismiss a team from NCAA Tournament talk. Not this year though. Even struggling through one of the most important parts of the season, Seton Hall never saw their name removed from the tourney bubble. In an ordinary year, a team with Seton Hall’s resume wouldn’t sniff March Madness. They would have been relegated to the NIT by Valentine’s Day. Instead, for whatever reason, the Big Dance’s floor is really low this season and Seton Hall found themselves sticking around in the conversation a lot longer than anyone would have foreseen. Most years, the discussion centers on slighted teams and who was wrongfully left out. This year, it was more settling on who can be put in and the Pirates managed to make it very difficult for themselves, with most of the scathing coming in that three week stretch at the beginning of 2012.

Big Wins: 12/17 vs VCU (69-54), 1/3 Connecticut (75-63), 2/21 Georgetown (73-55)
Bad Losses: 1/18 at Villanova (76-84), 2/25 Rutgers (72-77), 3/3 at DePaul (58-86)  
Coach: Kevin Willard (2 seasons at Seton Hall)

Why They Can Surprise:
Before their January 13 game against South Florida, Seton Hall found themselves sitting at 15-2. They had recently taken down the reigning National Champion Connecticut Huskies. As hindsight would reveal, they may have also somehow destroyed the Huskies’ season that day, as UConn has been abysmal ever since that loss. Although Hall’s record too took a dive through the coming months, they proved they had the ability to win against solid teams. Leading the way for the Pirates was their guard play and their seniors: a perfect recipe for success in March. Guards Jordan Theodore and Fuquan Edwin have been the driving force behind much of Hall’s success. Theodore, playing well over 35 minutes per game, leads the team in scoring and assists. He is so much of Seton Hall’s offense that he has nearly as many assists as the rest of his teammates combined. Jordan Theodore is the Pirates’ ship captain, as lame as that analogy turned out to be. Teaming with Edwin, a solid all-around performer with good scoring and rebounding numbers, a nice shooting percentage and a massive amount of steals, gives Seton Hall a formidable backcourt. The Pirates also have a fearsome frontcourt man though, in senior Herb Pope. Pope, averaging a double-double on the year, gives the Pirates the balance they would need to make noise in the postseason.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Although Pope and Theodore are high-performing seniors, they are also the only two seniors who give Seton Hall any production. The rest of the Pirates’ contributors are all underclassmen. Perhaps this inexperience led to such a poorly timed losing streak near the back end of the regular season. Or maybe the explanation is even simpler than that. As Jordan Theodore goes, so goes Seton Hall. Theodore has scored in double figures in every win this season except one. He happened to dish out 10 assists in that game to make up for the lack of scoring production. However, the senior point guard has conversely shot very poorly from the field in every Hall loss except one. Other than Seton Hall’s game against Syracuse, where Theodore wasn’t bad, he has shot below 40% in every loss this season. It is hard to pit the outcome of a team’s season on one man’s production, especially when he has some talented teammates, but this seems to be the case nonetheless with Theodore and Seton Hall.

Probable Starters:
Jordan Theodore, Senior, Guard, 16.0 ppg, 6.7 apg
Aaron Cosby, Freshman, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 1.4 apg
Fuquan Edwin, Sophomore, Guard, 12.5 ppg, 1.3 apg, 6.3 rpg, 2.9 spg
Patrik Auda, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Herb Pope, Senior, Forward, 15.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Haralds Karlis, Freshman, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Brandon Mobley, Freshman, Forward, 5.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.7 (156th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (93, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (156, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (110, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (89, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (83, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.2 (261, 15)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (142, 8)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (67, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (84, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Seton Hall    2010    NIT           First Round loss to Texas Tech
Seton Hall    2006    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Wichita State
Seton Hall    2004    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Arizona
Seton Hall    2004    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Duke
Seton Hall    2003    NIT           First round loss to Rhode Island
Seton Hall    2001    NIT           First Round loss to Alabama

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules