Seton Hall has Final Four look

The ingredients are there for Seton Hall to play in the Final Four.

These last few years represent the golden age of Seton Hall basketball after seasons of awful basketball and mediocrity. For the school-record tying fourth year in a row, the Seton Hall Pirates qualified for the NCAA tournament after coming off their first tournament win last season since 2004.

The bar gets higher. It always is after a team tastes success, which players, coaches and fans seek more. Seton Hall has put itself in a position where winning a postseason game or making the tournament is not enough anymore. That’s a great thing since it shows Kevin Willard’s program has finally arrived where expectations are created.

This season has been successful no matter how anyone slices it. From a Seton Hall perspective, it’s about going as far as they can in the tournament.

Seton Hall would love to play next weekend in the Sweet 16. They know they can do even better. A Final Four appearance is not out of the question.

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The Pirates have all the ingredients to get there. They feature a transcendent star that is a difference maker in Myles Powell. They have a big man who can create offensive rebounds and second-chance scoring in Sandro Mamukelashvili. Freshmen such as Jared Rhoden, Anthony Nelson and Romaro Gill provide valuable minutes by scoring and defending. Myles Cale and Michael Nzei fill the veteran leadership void when it comes to production.

Defense makes up Seton Hall’s identity. They have length and size to create havoc, and that’s so overlooked when assessing their strengths and weakness. Seton Hall won games this season based on their defense, and that’s why they have a shot to go far. With Seton Hall going through shooting lapses at times, defense helps them stay afloat in games.

Most of all, Seton Hall shows what makes them higher than the sum of its parts. They work together to be successful, and they feed off on each other whether it’s defense setting up the offense or guys passing the ball.

This is a well-prepared team that brings it every game, so there’s no reason to think they will overlook Wofford in the first round. They are well-coached to the point no one should worry about overconfidence.

No one in the nation knows much about Seton Hall since they play in the Big East. When the causal college basketball fan thinks of that conference now, he or she thinks only Villanova is that great team that play there. It’s hard to argue when Villanova has won two of the last three national championships and winning the Big East Tournament often.

This year’s NCAA tournament should give Seton Hall the opportunity to show how good they really are. Powell gets his chance to show the nation and NBA scouts that he is one of the best players in the country. Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard can establish himself as one of the best coaches in college basketball.

The Pirates faced enough tough competition such as Marquette and Villanova that they should be seasoned enough to face better competition in the tournament. Going as far as the Big East Tournament championship game can only make them ready for NCAA tournament play.

There is that inner confidence within themselves that they can go far. They should feel that way after the success they have had this season. Beating Kentucky, Villanova and Marquette does not mean they are lucky. It’s because they are a good team that can beat anyone on a good day.

WIth a player like Powell who refuses to allow his team to lose, Seton Hall’s confidence skyrockets for a reason. Players like that don’t come often. Players have to develop into productive players for a school like Seton Hall, and sometimes a school has to be that lucky to have a player like Powell who has transformed into a star.

Watching the Pirates play this season and writing about them for this proud site, it is by gut feel that this team has it in them to go to the Final Four. So much special brewing within this team. They have something extra going for themselves.

Talented teams such as North Carolina, Houston, Kentucky and Iowa State standi in Seton Hall’s way. No matter. Those teams are not Duke or Gonzaga that can overwhelm the Hall. They don’t have a player like Powell.

Something extra will propel Seton Hall to the Final Four.

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