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Everything you probably didn’t want to know about Seton Hall

It’s Jayhawks vs Pirates in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Seton Hall v Arkansas Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We did this a few days ago with Penn, and it was so much work so much fun that I thought I’d do it again! Yeah, it’s the second round, but it’s still March Madness, and that means sometimes you’ll run into a school you’ve never heard of, or at least, know nothing about. That said, let’s take a closer look at Seton Hall.


Location: South Orange, NJ

Basically New York City. Seton Hall is just west of Newark, NJ a few miles, and is 27 miles closer to NYC than Rutgers. If the Big 10 was serious about adding the New York City television market, they obviously should’ve gone for Seton Hall.

Mascot: Pirates

The official definition of a Pirate is: a person who attacks and robs ships at sea.

This contrasts slightly with the Jayhawkers, who were basically gangs from Kansas who fought against pro-slavery factions from Missouri in the 1850s, prior to the onset of the Civil War.

If this comes down to a mascot fight, there’s no way KU can lose, as Wichita’s Intrust Arena is approximately 564 miles from the nearest salt water.

League: Big East

Established: 1856

Enrollment: 9,627 (2014)

Acceptance Rate: 79.2% (2015)

SB Nation Blog: Big East Coast Bias

Cool Tradition: I don’t know if this really counts as a tradition or not; about all I could find was that there is an engraving of the university seal in the middle the university green. Students avoid stepping on it because the superstition is that if you do so, you won’t graduate on time.

Better than KU in football? Haha, trick question. Seton Hall disbanded it’s Division 3 football program in 1982 due to “the team’s past losing season, inadequate facilities, decreased attendance and a general lack of support for the program.” Sounds a lot like Kansas, actually.

Ok, fine, the answer is yes.

Series History

Kansas and Seton Hall have met twice over the years, with each team winning once.

Nov. 27, 1988 - Seton Hall 92 vs Kansas 81 (Anchorage, AK)

Nov. 21, 2001 - #4 Kansas 80 vs Seton Hall 62 (Maui, HI)


22-11, 10-8 T-3rd Big East

Seton Hall was picked to finish second in the preseason coaches poll, receiving one first place vote (presumably from Villanova coach Jay Wright who couldn’t vote for his own team).

Last time out: Defeated NC State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Pirates have won 5 of their last 7 games.

2016-2017 Record: 21-12, 10-8, Lost to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Head Coach

The Pirates are coached by Kevin Willard, who is 150-112 in his 8th year at the helm of Seton Hall. Willard has a career 195-161 record with a previous stop at Iona.

Willard was named the Big East co-Coach of the Year for the 2016-17 season (aka last year). He was also the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2010.

How scary are they?

On a scale of 1-10, how about a 5? As the #27 team at KenPom, they definitely have the talent to pull the upset. Additionally, KP has them as the highest-rated 8-seed. They are a top 20 offense per adjusted efficiency, but not so great on defense. They are also a top-30 offensive rebounding team, picking up 34.1% of their misses. KenPom has Seton Hall’s win probably at 36% and predicts an 80-76 Kansas victory.

Common Opponents: Seton Hall beat Texas Tech on a “neutral” floor (Madison Square Garden) back on November 30 by an 89-79 score.

There are no other common opponents for the Jayhawks and Pirates, but of the other interesting scores to note: Seton Hall got wins against Indiana, Vanderbilt, and Louisville in the non-con. They also lost to Rutgers in “The Battle for New York City” (at least I assume that’s what the locals call it).

As for top competition, Seton hall lost to Villanova twice, by 16 and by 1 (in OT), and lost to Xavier twice, by 9 and by 12.

Three Man Weave

  1. Defensive rebounding is probably going to be first on just about every preview. On the season, Kansas has allowed teams to rebound 31.2% of their misses on the season. As mentioned above, Seton Hall has rebounded 34 .1% of its misses this year, making them a top-30 offensive rebounding team per KenPom. In fact, Angel Delgado is statistically one of the best rebounders in the country. It would behoove the Jayhawks to control the glass on both ends of the floor in this matchup.
  2. Seton Hall comes in as an experienced bunch, with four seniors, one junior, one sophomore, and one freshman who see the majority of their minutes. They will not be intimidated by the pro-Kansas crowd, and the Jayhawks will have to match the intensity and #Motivation of the visitors.
  3. Seton Hall takes less than a third of its shots from behind the arc, which could be good for a Kansas team that likes to leave outside shooters lots of space (sigh). It would also conceivably give Kansas the ability to limit runs, as a team hitting 5 threes in a row is much more dangerous than a team hitting 5 consecutive twos. Of players who have attempted 40 or more threes on the season, the Pirates don’t have anyone shooting over 38% from behind the arc.

Yet Another Wrong Prediction

There was a lot made about how Penn was the best 16-seed ever (but in reality it was just in the last six years). Likewise, Seton Hall is the highest-rated 8-seed in this year’s tournament. The Pirates will be fired up to finally break through and get that win over a top program this year, in the process returning to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000.

By almost every metric, Kansas is the better team here, and a loss in Wichita would be... disappointing. Seton Hall shouldn’t be able to slow KU’s offense down much, although they may be able to keep with the Jayhawks due to KU’s... disinterest... in playing defense at times.

I think Kansas should probably win this game more than 2 out of 3 times, especially considering the location, and I’ll take the Jayhawks 88-80.