1) Butler is the one of the most balanced Big East teams
Butler does not have the most talented team in the conference. But, their balance on offense, and, especially, defense, is up there with the best that the conference has to offer. The Bulldogs are physical, can rebound, and have the stars in Kellen Dunham to go along with Roosevelt Jones to have a special season. Defensively, they can play with anyone and completely shut down The Hall in the second half on Sunday after the Pirates took a 37-34 early in the half.
The Bulldogs are a veteran team with players, like Alex Barlow, who have been there before and can really take opponents out of their rhythm with the half-court offense that he runs as the point guard. When the Bulldogs slow a team like Seton Hall, down it can provide huge benefits like it did today. Butler held the Pirates to just 31 percent shooting in the half. Today the Bulldogs showed that they are contenders for the Big East Championship.
2) Reminiscent of 2012? Yes. Panic? No.
Today, the Pirates lost their third straight and fourth in their last five in Big East play after a great start. Now at 3-4, The Hall is in some trouble that reminds fans of the 2012 team that started out so well, but found themselves in the NIT when all of the dust settled. Seton Hall has fallen on some hard times for a number of reasons. They are young and it has showed recently, especially when the team relies on Sterling Gibbs and Angel Delgado to carry them. The rest of the team has not been consistent of late.
Despite the youth and inexperience, things should start to get better for the Pirates. Isaiah Whitehead, with the impatience of the fan base growing, is going to be back soon. Others important players like Jaren Sina and Brandon Mobley have to be more consistent. Even in the loss Sunday, Mobley took a step in the right direction with 15 points. Should the Pirates panic? No, it is a long season. Do they need to beat Marquette? It would a huge win if they could get it. The performance as a whole today was a huge step back, but a win against the Golden Eagles can put the Pirates right back where they need to be. Couple that with a Whitehead return and look out because The Hall will be back on the right path.
3) Pirates are banged up
In the Big East, injuries are no excuse when it comes to a struggling team. But the Pirates are dealing with some problems on the injury front. We already know about Isaiah Whitehead’s recovery from the stress fracture, but according to reports after the DePaul and Butler games, Gibbs and Khadeen Carrington have been playing through minor injuries.
I cannot sit here and say that it is not making an impact, but the Pirates should not lose by 20, even if the injuries were serious. However, going forward, Seton Hall needs to get healthy if they want to get back on track. These next four games are important, but also winnable for the Pirates. A 2-2 or even a 3-1 stretch could set them up for a solid stretch run. This team can do it. It comes down to whether or not they will do it.
-Starting to put it together with balanced team.
-Can win anytime, anywhere.
-Long season, but getting back on track starts now. They can do it.
-Get healthy and more consistent.