The Providence Friars will travel to lovely Newark, NJ on Thursday to take on the Seton Hall Pirates with both teams looking to notch their 20th win of the season. The two teams are in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid, but they are trending in different directions over the last month. The Friars are 1-5 in February, while the Pirates are 4-1. Seton Hall also owns a win on Providence's home floor in mid-January. Providence has used a hot start to the season and the preseason hype of Kris Dunn to be ranked in the AP Top 25 for 12 straight weeks, but that streak came to a close on Monday. Seton Hall has been playing much better of late and their name has started to be mentioned as a real bubble team. Providence is trying to avoid a trip to the bubble. This game is very meaningful for both teams. The question is, who needs the win more? Our panel will discuss and debate that very topic and you will get a chance to vote at the bottom of this article. As the discussion begins, here are the NCAA Tournament resumes of both teams:
|Overall Record||19-8||Overall Record||19-7|
|Big East Record||7-7||Big East Record||9-5|
|Expected OOC SOS||208||Expected OOC SOS||236|
|Record vs RPI Top 25||2-4||Record vs RPI Top 25||0-3|
|Record vs RPI Top 50||0-1||Record vs RPI Top 50||2-0|
|Record vs RPI Top 100||6-0||Record vs RPI Top 100||4-4|
|Record vs RPI Top 200||4-3||Record vs RPI Top 200||5-0|
|Record vs RPI 200+||7-0||Record vs RPI 200+||8-0|
|Last 12 Games||5-7||Last 12 Games||7-5|
|Record in Tier A||6-4||Record in Tier A||4-4|
|Record in Tier B||2-2||Record in Tier B||2-3|
Sean Saint Jacques: Just looking at the resumes of two or more schools in order to determine who needs a win more is difficult. The selection committee will have to do that when it comes time to decide which teams should make the dance and which schools are out. It is very tough, which is why so many things have to be taken into account.
The resumes of Providence and Seton Hall are almost identical. However, a major difference is the expected out of conference strength of schedule and overall strength of schedule that both favor the Friars by a large margin. Despite that and all of the numbers we look at, I like to weigh much of my decision on the eye test. As a broadcaster, writer and reporter for Seton Hall and the Big East, I have seen both of these teams play just about all of their games this season. At this moment in time, based on the way these teams are playing, I see both of them making the NCAA Tournament. However, as far as who needs it more I would have to give the edge to Seton Hall here. It is not only based on the fact that the Pirates could use another quality win against a top-25 team, but also that Seton Hall’s wins that looked to be quality when they happened, like the wins over Wichita State, Georgetown, Creighton and others, have looked a little less impressive because those teams have fallen off a little bit.
The Friars were one of the few teams and the only Big East team to beat Villanova so far this season. Nova, of course, is now the number one team in the country. Providence has the two best players in the conference and their losses in Big East play have not hurt them as much as Seton Hall’s non-conference play defeats have hurt their resume.
Once again, I believe that both teams will get in, but the Pirates need this one more than the Friars. It is on their home floor and they need to show the committee that the way they played in the first half against St. John’s at MSG on Sunday is who they really are as a group. Not the second half. I believe the Pirates need it more and if they continue play solid defense inside like they have all season I think they will win this game in Newark.
Clayton Sauertieg: We’re gonna throw out the numbers here, because I’d like to take a look big picture. Seton Hall is located in a hotbed of high school basketball talent. Providence, Rhode Island is, well, not. Seton Hall had relatively middling expectations going into this season, Providence did not. Lastly, the Pirates are going to return a large part of what makes them so dangerous next season, the Friars will not.
The Friars need this win because not making the tournament this year will be an absolute calamity for them. Considering the hot start to the season and the remarkable amount of talent they have in Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, the second half of this season has been nothing short of an abject failure.
When’s the next time the Friars are going to get a player like Kris Dunn? And if they do, how likely is it that this person is only the second best player on the team for much of the season? It’s inconceivable to me that Ed Cooley is staring another season with double-digit losses in the face given the team he has in front of him. As long as Cooley can recruit he’ll have a job at his hometown school, but he has to start making some quality meals with the caliber of ingredients he has and right now we’re being served packaged ramen noodles and saltine crackers. The Friars and Cooley need this one.
Christopher Novak: One colleague of mine says the Friars, one says the Pirates. I guess I’m the effective tiebreaker to this point aye?
I’m going to go with Seton Hall. And I only say that because I think the Friars still have some breathing room. Seton Hall’s non-conference slate is good, not great, and Providence’s featured a win over Arizona and a loss on a neutral floor to Michigan State. That’s not too shabby, and although the win over the Wildcats came without Kaleb Tarczewski on the floor, that win keeps looking better with each win that Arizona gets down the stretch.
So I think Providence is still boosted by that and still finds themselves in the NCAA Tournament right now. At the moment, Seton Hall? I’m not so sure. While I think they should be in, it seems across the board that they’ve been talked up as a fringe team. So, a fringe team should probably need to win some ball games. Thus, I think Seton Hall is in a bigger need of a victory in this one than Providence. Though at this rate, the Friars could be in the exact same position soon if they’re not careful.
Vijay Vemu: By the numbers, this is a very close race and one could argue that this is an important game for both teams. Providence has been on a huge slump and haven’t looked like the same team we saw at the start of conference play. Seton Hall has shown to be a dangerous team but a tough out of conference record (with exception of the win over Wichita State) and a struggling offense has the Pirates in desperation mode as well. But since I have to choose one I would go with this game being a must win for Seton Hall.
Both of their resumes look the same. But you have to look at the wins and the qualities of the wins here. For Providence, it was wins over Arizona and Villanova, the best team in the country. For Seton Hall, it was wins over Wichita State, one of the best mid major teams in the country, and over Providence. I would give to the edge to the Friars considering that both Arizona and ‘Nova are two of the top teams in the country right now.
But Providence came out hot to start the year and Seton Hall did not. We saw the Friars at their best and they are very good. The duo of Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil can take the Friars places. Both can take over games and if they get good production from their supporting cast, a deep NCAA run is in their future. We have yet to see the best of the Pirates however. Seton Hall also needs this game considering who they play in the two games after that. After this game, Seton Hall play Xavier and Butler. They need some momentum heading into that matchup. After watching their games against St.John’s and Georgetown, the Pirates need to win this game.
Marshall Marks: My Providence buddies have boycotted the season and are currently in a deep dark depression, however I still think Seton Hall needs this win more.
It's simple, The Friars have been Top 25 for more of the year than not, big win over Arizona and played Michigan State to the end. They have definitely exceeded their preseason expectations, but preseason predictions are preseason predictions, now is now.
Seton Hall at 19-7 and Providence 19-8 I believe Providence has a little better body of work and the can afford a little wiggle room. Seton Hall’s biggest win is against Wichita State, or Providence. They are lacking a big statement win (they play Xavier Saturday). I think Seton Hall needs this win more. Providence has a statement win, Top 25 prestige for majority of the year, and big time player in Kris Dunn (also this Bentil guy isn't too shabby either). Seton Hall needs to prove why they should be dancing in March. Don't believe this game is make or break for either, but would be a big leap forward for Seton Hall.
Mike Hopkins: For me, both teams are on the bubble. Providence is fighting to keep themselves out of that conversation, while Seton Hall has fought just to get there. These two teams aren't separated by much in terms of resume and you have to go kind of far into the numbers to make meaningful contrasts. Providence certainly has a slightly more robust resume due to some of their key wins and the Friars could certainly use this win from a mental health perspective after losing to every team they've played that isn't named Georgetown over the last month, since they knocked off Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center.
My colleagues above have outlined excellent angles from the eye test to the big picture to the upcoming schedules to perception.
My angle here is that Providence is likely to win two of their remaining games against DePaul, Creighton and St. John's and all three will have Providence as the favorite. That should be good enough with the rest of their resume to get them into the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall may only win one more game of their final three against Xavier, Butler and DePaul. The RPI Wizard at RPIForecast.com says that Seton Hall losing this game, losing to Xavier, losing at Butler and beating DePaul would give the Pirates a projected RPI of 62. That isn't likely to be good enough.
While both teams need this win, Seton Hall needs it more.
Who do you think needs this win more? Vote in the poll below.