The season is less than a month away, and in a critical year for the Seton Hall Pirate, they will be posted with the task of making it through a daunting nonconference schedule.
The Pirates opens up with two games at Walsh Gymnasium, although in a quirky order. The first game is against the Wagner Seahawks, followed by an exhibition against New Haven. One of those games will count, the other will not. Then starts and 11-game rocket ship of a schedule, in which six of these 11 games will be played away from home.
Onward they will go, as they enter the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Fullerton, California. Their opening round matchup is against the Grand Canyon Antelopes. The result of the game determines whether or not they play the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors or Utah Utes. They will then face one of four opponents: the Fresno State Bulldogs, La Salle Explorers, Miami (FL) Hurricanes or the Northwestern Wildcats.
Four of the last six games will be played at home. The Pirates play the Louisville Cardinals in what will be Chris Mack’s first trip to the Prudential Center as coach of a team not named Xavier. Seton Hall will then have a tune-up game against the lowly New Hampshire Wildcats before their biggest test for the season. The Pirates will play the Kentucky Wildcats at Madison Square Garden as part of the Citi Hoops Classic.
These last two games are against Big Ten opponents. The face off against their in-state rivals, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at home in the Garden State Classic. Last but not least, they will head to College Park to play the Maryland Terrapins to cap off the nonconference portion of their schedule.
Seton Hall has two true road games on the schedule: at Nebraska and at Maryland. Seton Hall did not play either of these teams the previous season. They have, however, played Louisville, and they did beat the Cards a season ago. They also played Wagner last season and won.
This is a challenging schedule for the Pirates to say the least. Not only will they have to face tough competition in Maryland and Louisville, but they face Kentucky at MSG. Expect an up and down nonconference leg for the Pirates. They could surprise us however, and be a one- or two-loss team entering conference play. If nothing else, at least they tested themselves.