The Seton Hall Pirates have really improved on paper from a year ago, but as we know in college basketball the play on the hardwood is what makes or breaks teams that have all of the hype. It can be tough to gauge the ceiling and the basement for the blue and white this season because of how young this team is. The talent is there, but can they put it together?
For The Hall, the worst case scenario involves a word that Pirates’ fans have come too accustomed to hearing: injuries. The Pirates suffered many setbacks to some of their most important players last season including center Eugene Teague, forward Patrik Auda and guard Fuquan Edwin. They finished with a 17-17 record due to the fact that some of these players were out long periods of time. Auda suffered from a foot injury for a long period of time, Teague had the concussion after falling hard against Lafayette and Edwin had minor injuries during different stretches of the season too.
Should they lose players from their already thin frontcourt, this team could run into some big problems. Seton Hall should be able to survive a loss in the backcourt because of the depth, but only for a short period of time. One injury will not derail this team, however if they start to pile up it could be a massive issue.
Another scenario that could put the Pirates in trouble is if this team can not live up to the hype. They are a young team that is trying to get used to playing Division I basketball. This is an improved conference as well so having a resurgence this season will not be easy. If they do not adjust quickly the Pirates could struggle early, which could lead to problems in 2014-15.
Now for the best case scenarios, and there are many of them for Pirates this season. Freshman Isaiah Whitehead seems to be mature for his age and could even be one of the leaders for this team. Draft Express has him as the number one NBA prospect in the Big East Conference. With the rest of the talented guards in addition to the front court pieces, this team could bring the Pirates back to the NCAA Tournament.
According to USA Today, if the NCAA Tournament started today, the Pirates would be a No. 12 seed in the tournament and we have not even seen a game yet.
The fact that veterans like Sterling Gibbs, Jaren Sina and Brandon Mobley are coming back also really helps this team. At the Tip-Off Party, The Hall looked like a team that just loved being around each other. They even got the entire crowd to sing "Happy Birthday," to freshman guard Khadeen Carrington while Gibbs narrated pictures of the shooting guard from when he was in high school. They seem to have fun together, which could allow this group to be great.
Kevin Willard believes that this group could be special this season in South Orange and with the talent it is certainly possible. This season’s non-conference schedule gives the Pirates many opportunities to get resume building wins to form a solid case to make the tournament.
With inexperienced, yet talented players the basement could be another mediocre season, but the ceiling could be a deep run in the dance. It will likely be somewhere in between but regardless, this season will bring attention to the Seton Hall program. Whether or not this team can handle it will determine their fate this season.
What do you think is the best case and worst case scenarios for the Seton Hall Pirates? Give us your opinion in the comments section!