One of this season’s darlings little more than a month ago-in fact, a team that proved it could beat top 10 teams like the one it faced Monday night-Seton Hall’s once-promising year has fallen apart.
Fair or not, it’s going to be hard for anyone to not see the Pirates now as a team that is spinning out of control. It’s not a hard conclusion to come to after Seton Hall was defeated by Villanova 80-54 on Monday in a game that was ugly in far more ways than one.
The Pirates shot 32.3% for the game, allowed the Wildcats to shoot 49.1% and were out-rebounded 35-30. SHU trailed by as much as 30. And it wasn’t even the score or those statistics that left the worst impression.
What will have Seton Hall suddenly in the national news again Tuesday morning is the elbow chop by sophomore guard Sterling Gibbs to the face of Villanova guard Ryan Arciadiacono in a scrum for a loose ball late in the game. Gibbs was ejected from the game with a flagrant 2 foul, and he could certainly be facing a lengthy suspension after the Big East office reviews the tape.
The video is not pretty. It goes without saying that what Gibbs did was wrong and does not reflect well on him. There’s really nothing more to add to it than that, no need to pile on, and one trusts the Big East will deal with it appropriately. Clearly it was done out of frustration from a frustrating game and, some will extrapolate, what has become a frustrating season.
(It was good to hear that Gibbs expressed remorse for his actions to reporters right away after the game. And while his and Arcidiacono’s respectful Twitter apology and acceptance is getting most of the attention, here’s hoping these two connect by phone very soon as well or in person at the Big East Tournament. Even when they are well-meant and cordial, virtual bro hugs are still no substitute for human interaction.)
Seton Hall has now lost five straight games and eight of its last 10. One of its starting guards left the team last week amidst well-publicized rumors of internal divisions on the team amongst players. And now this.
Mostly, the stunning turn of the Pirates’ season is just sad and tough to watch, because clearly this team had the talent to be so much better. In fact, it was. It’s hard to remember at this point, but this is the same team that defeated Villanova on Jan. 3 in overtime in one of the more intense and exciting games of the season. It once was a legitimate top 25 team. Suffice to say, it is nowhere near that anymore.
- West Virginia needed some good news after a bit of a rough patch of late, and the Mountaineers got some with a 62-61 win over Kansas on a buzzer-beater by Juwan Staten. Another buzzer winner took place in Omaha, where Butler nipped Creighton 58-56 on a basket by Roosevelt Jones with 1.9 seconds left.
- No. 2-ranked Virginia ground out a 61-49 win against Pittsburgh in a game that played out about exactly how one would’ve expected a game between these two to look. Malcolm Brogdon had 18. Also in the ACC, Miami (Fla.) kept its NCAA tourney hopes alive at least for a while, pulling out an 89-86 double-overtime win at Boston College.
- Easily the most entertaining game of the night was Coppin State outlasting Delaware State 96-92. The Eagles are going to be fun to watch the next couple years under coach Michael Grant, who is pledged to an up-and-down style. Coppin won despite another outburst from Del State’s Amere May, who scored 39 points.
- The SWAC is becoming interesting at the top. Alabama State, Texas Southern and Southern are separated by a half game, with ASU and TSU 10-2 and Southern right behind at 10-3. Texas Southern grabbed a 71-70 overtime win over Jackson State on Monday while Southern won at Mississippi Valley State 68-56.
- North Carolina Central continues to steamroll the MEAC. The Eagles are three games in front of their nearest competitor and are 12-0 in league after a 73-48 win over Florida A&M.
- Coastal Carolina fought back to defeat Radford 65-59 in a critical Big South game. Both the Chanticleers and Highlanders are half a game behind league leaders High Point and Charleston Southern.
- Stephen F. Austin’s remarkable 32-game Southland win streak ended on Saturday at the hands of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but the Lumberjacks started a new one on Monday with a 90-76 win at Incarnate Word.
St. John’s at Georgetown (7 p.m. EST, FS1) Good old fashioned Big East battle. And a win here for St. John’s would be huge for postseason chances, too.
Texas at Oklahoma (9 p.m. EST, ESPN2) Longhorns look to have righted the ship with three straight wins (against the bottom of the Big 12) but are still an unsightly 1-8 vs. the RPI top 50.
LSU at Texas A&M Tigers are the team that looks the part, but Aggies won the first meeting.
Kentucky at Tennessee (7 p.m. EST, ESPN) Mild chance of a challenge to UK here from the Volunteers.
Michigan State at Michigan (9 p.m. EST, ESPN) The Wolverines continue to be a tougher out than their record and injury troubles suggest they should be.
Stony Brook at Albany Would be no surprise if these two are meeting in the America East tourney final-again-next month.
San Diego State at New Mexico (10 p.m. EST, CBSSN), Wyoming at Nevada The first game is the better contest and features the again-ranked Aztecs, but the second one is the trickier one, as the Cowboys may again be without Larry Nance, Jr.
Enjoy your Tuesday.