Some have accused Seton Hall of poor nonconference scheduling in the past and a case could be made for that again this year. However, the Pirates sure know how to put together an intriguing slate of games. At one point this season, The Hall could play ACC-power Virginia at the Charleston Classic but will need to win a game to make that happen. Here are five games that are set in stone and are can't misses for Big East basketball fans.
5) Seton Hall at Rutgers (December 5th)
This game will mark the second year of this contest being named the Garden State Hardwood Classic and the first year that it will be played in Piscataway. Seton Hall won last year's affair easily 81-54 behind 25 points from Isaiah Whitehead who named the game's MVP.
The Scarlet Knights have not made huge improvements, but games at The RAC between the two in-state rivals have been known to get testy. This rivalry has tons of history that has included upsets, fights and ejections. Rutgers will want this one desperately and with the Pirates playing two tough road games in a row during this stretch it will be an early season test to see where they stand.
4) Seton Hall at George Washington (December 2nd)
The Pirates will not see him on the court, but will see former Hall guard Jaren Sina for the first time since he transferred last season. Sina is not eligible to play in the game, but just his presence on the sidelines could cause this game to be hotly contested. If seeing your old teammate who jumped ship last season does not get your team and school up for a game then nothing will.
Seton Hall won a barn burner last season 58-54 at the Prudential Center with no help from Sina who went 0-5 from the field and finished with no points. It was The Hall's best win during the nonconference season and the Colonials will look to return the favor as the two schools complete a home and home series in Washington DC.
3) Seton Hall at St. John's (February 21st)
This will be the second time that Seton Hall and St. John's will have clashed in 2016, but this time it is at The Garden. If the Pirate fans travel well, we could have a Big East Tournament-type atmosphere inside the World's Most Famous Arena.
The Pirates and Johnnies split two games last season with the home teams coming out on top in both matchups. With both teams fresh, the Pirates pulled away and won on New Year's Eve. In the rematch, the two programs looked tired. However, St. John's and their seniors stepped up and won on senior night in Queens.
The Red Storm will look completely different this season so throw those two games out the window. It is New York vs. New Jersey at MSG. In the Big East, it does not get much better than that.
2) Wichita State vs. Seton Hall (December 19th)
Last year, the Pirates went to Wichita and were smacked around by the Shockers in a 77-68 loss. Now Ron Baker, Fred Van Vleet and WSU travel to The Rock for the highly-anticipated rematch. The Prudential Center should be sold out for this one as the Shockers should come into this game ranked in the top 10 depending on how well they start. If the Pirates start off strong, this game could get national attention once again.
This is a massive opportunity for The Hall to build up their confidence and NCAA Tournament resume. The game is at home where the Pirates did beat two ranked opponents last season so mark this matchup down on your calendars.
1) Villanova vs. Seton Hall (January 20th)
Finally, the rematch of last year's overtime thriller at the Prudential Center. It was Seton Hall's finest moment from last season. The Pirates upset #6 and then undefeated Villanova 66-61 in front of 10,000 strong in Newark.
For my money, it was the best Big East game of the regular season last year and the rematch could have huge implications in the conference standings. Villanova looks different from a year ago, but Josh Hart will return to The Rock for the first time since he kicked Angel Delgado in the shin and got away with it.
Last year's classic, along with the Sterling Gibbs incident, will provide lots of hype surrounding the first meeting at Villanova and then this one. Seton Hall will most likely need to win this game. Since Gibbs hit the game-winning shot at MSG a few seasons back to beat the Wildcats, this rivalry has been reignited in a big way. Take my advice and clear your schedule for Jan. 20.