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Big East schedule not doing Seton Hall’s skid any favors (yet)


Mike Miller

What happened to Seton Hall?

The Pirates were once 15-2, had sneaked into the Top 25 and were right on Syracuse’s heels in the Big East.

Now they’ve lost four in a row – both at home – and face Marquette and UConn this week, hardly a way to improve a team’s outlook. The Big East has never been a forgiving place for struggling teams, but it is possible to earn small reprieves and even pull out win streaks. (See: Pitt.)

Could Seton Hall do the same?

“We were talking about how we need to pull it together,” Brandon Mobley told the Star-Ledger after Saturday’s loss to Louisville. “We need to come back. We need to focus on what got us here. Slowly, but now we have to play with a sense of urgency.”

The obvious culprit is the Hall’s offensive issues.

The Pirates’ 42 points in the loss to Notre Dame were their lowest since 2005, when they hit just 26 percent of their shots and made 2 of 14 beyond the arc. Stars Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore combined for just 16 points and missed 24 field goal attempts.

But the Louisville loss was just as bad. Pope and Theodore were slightly better (30 points, combined 10 of 33 from field), yet Seton Hall managed just .698 points per possession, which was even worse than what it scored (.705) vs. the Irish.

It’s never been a strong offensive team – Pope and Theodore are the only real scoring options – and when their shots aren’t falling, things get rough. The defense is capable of keeping them in games, but that only goes so far.

Even the once-hyped home crowd has grown disenchanted. They booed during the loss to Notre Dame – and that was only after three straight losses.

“I heard the boos,” Aaron Cosby told the paper. “It (stinks). It’s a bad feeling. It’s high expectations because we played so well before.”

Theodore says the team simply has “to work harder” and can’t take any success for granted. That’ll be easy to say, harder to pull off. The Pirates won’t get back to a glossy record – not with five of their nine remaining games on the road – but the season’s far from over. Especially with a schedule that still features two games against Rutgers and one vs. DePaul, Pitt and St. John’s.

An NCAA tournament berth? Definitely doable. NCAA glory as befitting a 15-2 team? Not so much.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.