NEW YORK–Late in the first half of Seton Hall’s matchup with Louisville in the second round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, a voice rang out from the back of the Seton Hall student section.
“I just wanna dance!” a fan yelled. Well, not so fast.
Following the Pirates’ 61-55 loss to Rick Pitino’s Cardinals on Wednesday night, Seton Hall will have to sweat out Selection Sunday before they know whether they’ll be in the field of 68.
“I’ve always been under the belief that it’s the total year, it’s not just two games that you played bad maybe at the end of the year,” said coach Kevin Willard. “Our total resumé is as good as anyone’s out there.”
Wednesday night was Seton Hall’s chance to solidify a spot in the tournament, after a Tuesday night win over Providence did little to boost their resumé and, instead, only did well to avoid another bad loss.
Louisville, with their pressure defense and help from center Gorgui Dieng, who had six blocks, fended off a late Seton Hall run to divert the Pirates into a holding pattern until Sunday.
Guard Jordan Theodore finished with 17 points for Seton Hall, but pressure from the Cardinals forced him into six turnovers.
A visibly emotional Theodore, towel draped around his neck in the postgame press conference, tried to describe the state of his team and how he will pass the time between now and when the committee will rule on his team’s fate, Sunday.
“For me and Herb [Pope] at the end of our Seton Hall career, especially leaving it up to the selection committee…we came up short tonight,” he said. “I’m not going to watch TV, I’m just going to get better, go to school, and live my life.”
Seton Hall’s resumé is as follows:
Overall record: (20-12, 8-10 Big East)
Strength of Schedule: 51
Wins vs. RPI Top 50: 4
The question that remains is, will the committee favor Seton Hall over a mid-major team with more wins, like Drexel or Iona? Do the Pirates have enough to make it?
After a big win over No. 8 Georgetown on February 21, it looked like they had punched their ticket, but bad losses down the stretch to Rutgers and DePaul keep them in this limbo for the next four days.
There’s not much else to say now, and Theodore realized it.
“It’s up to the selection committee, so we’re going to see what happens on Sunday.”
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_