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Monday, March 01, 2010


Forgive the Seton Hall fan you know if he is a little cranky this morning. After all, his beloved Pirates took one in the gut yesterday on their home floor in the Prudential Center in an 84-83 overtime loss to Marquette. For the Golden Eagles, it was their third consecutive road win, all coming in overtime. When their three-game stretch began, they were 7-6 in the conference and very much on the NCAA Tournament bubble as SHU, who was 6-7 with two of their next three at home at the same point.

But the Pirates lost two of their three and yesterday's loss dropped them to 0-4 in overtime games as the scene unfolded in a familiar pattern on Sunday. Seton Hall's Bubble Pops After Coach Loses Cool (NY Post) and Bobby Gonzalez added to his league leading total of technicals in the first half, costing his team a point, one I am sure he wished he had back.

For Pirate fans the loss seemed to be as agonizing as seeing the dealer pull 21 from the deck in a hand of blackjack to better your hand of 20. This was a game that Seton Hall needed for their NCAA Tournament chances as they were facing another bubble team on their home floor with an emotionally charged crowd on senior day.

Following the Bubble Burster (Hoops Haven) there was fingers pointed for the loss, mostly from the coach in direction of his two front court starters (quotes provided by Jerry Carino):

“John Garcia is a wonderful guy, it’s Senior Day and I’m glad I started him," Gonzalez said after the game. "Unfortunately this might have been the worst team in the league to start him against because of the match ups. We really didn’t have anybody to put him on. Lazar Hayward took full advantage of that and made threes. I had to make a change right away. We got off to a rough start at home in a very important game, and then we played from behind pretty much the whole afternoon.”

--John Garcia played two minutes. Watched a Marquette game about a week ago against Pittsburgh, Gary McGhee, not the most nimble player defending on the perimeter, was a dominant force at 6'10, 240 against the Golden Eagles and Hayward struggled.

“I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get more out of Herb today," said Gonzalez. "I don’t know what it was. He kind of had an uneventful game. I keep asking him if he’s fresh, he looked fresh in practice. We gave them a couple of days off after the Rutgers game. He seemed bouncy. I don’t know . . . I expected Herb to do more.”

--Pope would seem to be the player that would give MU the most fits inside with his size, but the Pirates have no understanding how to get him the ball, and haven't all season.

Marquette plays small and if you play to them, they take advantage. SHU got a big game from Jeff Robinson, but Robert 'Stix' Mitchell, often their best all-around player this season, only got nine minutes. Keon Lawrence, their best perimeter defender, only played eight minutes. Lawrence seems over-used in most games, then nearly disappears today while the MU back court players carry the Golden Eagles offensively. Lawrence was in during the final SHU possession, done by three, despite being a 13% shooter from beyond the arc on the season, while Jordan Theodore, who was four of four on the day on three's, was not on the floor.

The Pirates are 7-9 in a season with high hopes. They could win their last two and finish 9-9 and have the talent to make some noise in Madison Square Garden. However, they have to go on the road against Rutgers and Providence in what will be emotional atmospheres as both teams look to send off their seniors in style, liking nothing more than to beat the rival Pirates. The heart-breaking loss on Sunday can have this team go in many different ways. Can Gonzalez survive two losses and another 7-11 conference mark? 7-11 was not good enough for a NIT bid last season and might not do it again this year. That would be four consecutive seasons of not making the NIT as well as an NCAA. Do not forget, his predecessor, Louis Orr, made the Big Dance in two of his last three seasons, including the year he lost his job...


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