After a weekend loss to St. John’s, it’s do or die time for the Seton Hall Pirates.
The team is entering a key stretch with three straight home games against Creighton, Villanova, and Xavier, with Creighton coming to town on Wednesday night to kick things off.
The Pirates will need to take at least two of those three games to help their fading chances of making the NCAA tournament, but there is still some hope.
According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Pirates are the last team in on his last four teams in list, a list that features Marquette, Arkansas and Clemson. Teams like Indiana and Tennessee find themselves on Lunardi’s last four out, but both have compelling cases to jump Seton Hall for an at-large bid.
How do the Pirates stack up to the rest of the teams on the bubble?
According to CBS Sports, Seton Hall currently owns an RPI ranked 49th in the country and a strength of schedule rating ranked 48th in the country. The Pirates have a dismal 1-5 record against top 25 teams with the lone win coming against a South Carolina team playing without their best player in Sindarius Thornwell. At this point, the team’s best win came at the Pearl Harbor Classic against California, who seems to be safely in the tournament.
In comparison, Marquette has an RPI of 84, a strength of schedule of 63, and a 2-4 record against top 25 teams, their signature win coming against Villanova, who was ranked number one in the country at the time.
Arkansas has an RPI of 44 and a strength of schedule that ranks 66th, but are 0-3 against top 25 teams and have a bad loss to arguably one of the worst Power-Five teams in the country in Missouri.
Clemson has an RPI of only 56 and have struggled to a 1-6 record against top 25 teams, but have the 18th strongest schedule in the country working in their favor.
On the outside looking in are Indiana and Tennessee, who each have signature wins that are equal to, if not better than most of the other teams on the bubble.
Indiana has an RPI of 93 and a strength of schedule of 43, but the Hoosiers have knocked off powerhouses such as Kansas and North Carolina. Tennessee on the other hand has an RPI of 47 and the fifth strongest schedule in the country. Their signature win came almost a month ago against Kentucky.
To be frank, the bubble is extremely weak this year as is evident with some of the teams that currently find themselves on it. In a normal year, a team like Arkansas would have been written off a long time ago due to their average RPI and strength of schedule combined with an awful loss to Missouri and no wins against the top 25.
Seton Hall still has a chance to pick up some signature wins and they will have a crack at three teams safely in the field starting with Creighton on Wednesday, but there is still work to be done. The team must avoid bad losses down the stretch to the likes of DePaul on the road and Georgetown at home and take care of business against some very good teams if they want to avoid ending up in the NIT.