Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Seton Hall Loses to Butler at Home, Falls to 3-5 in Big East
NEWARK — Through eight Big East games a year ago the Seton Hall Pirates were .500 and in the beginning stages of what would become their most successful league run in 20 years.
Fast-forward one year and this version of the Pirates currently sits at 3-5 in league play after losing Wednesday night on their home court to No. 11 Butler 61-54.
Even with the departure of their star player from last season, current Brooklyn Nets point guard IsaiahWhitehead, the Pirates were expected to return to the NCAA tournament again this season.
If the Pirates are going to recreate their tournament run magic from last season, it will need to come soon. Just don’t expect head coach KevinWillard to admit to the growing pressure.
“We have 10 league games left,” Willard said. “We’ve got a lot of opportunities, that’s the great thing about this league. It’s not like this is the only one you’re gonna get. In certain leagues you only get one, just about every night right now you’re gonna have an opportunity.”
Last season the Pirates’ run was sparked by an NBA caliber point guard, this season the team will hope to look towards their NBA caliber rebounder for the extra push.
AngelDelgado recorded the first ever back-to-back 20 rebound games in Big East league play history, per John Paquette of the Big East.
After securing 20 boards against St. John’s on Sunday, Delgado pulled down 22 Wednesday night.
The junior forward added just 12 points on the other end on 3-8 shooting from the field. On a night where his teammates shot 28 percent from the floor, Delgado feels it is his place to step up.
“Sometimes I gotta step up,” Delgado said about his offensive performance. “I’m supposed to get the big buckets when the guys are playing bad. But sometimes stuff happens.”
Already owning five losses in their conference, the Pirates are in a precarious position in terms of returning to March play for the second time in as many seasons. But Delgado, who serves as the teams de facto leader, thinks short-term memory loss can help his team return to form.
“I feel like we’re still good,” Delgado said. “It’s a lot of more games left. We just gotta forget about these five games we lost and just focus on the other ones that are coming up.”
With an overall record of 13-7 and 3-5 in Big East play, the Pirates sit at 7th in conference standings. Prior to their loss Wednesday night, ESPN’s JoeLunardi slated the Pirates as the sixth team from their conference to make the Big Dance and a 10-seed in the Midwest region.
Earning that spot in the tournament picture begins all over again when the Pirates square off with No. 24 Xavier on Feb. 1.
IsmaelSanogo knows he can’t turn back time and win games that are already lost, but to return to the biggest party in college basketball, he believes in one step at a time.
“What’s done is done,” Sanogo said. “We can’t go back in the past and change those. We’re just worried about Xavier right now.”
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