Chart Week here at Play For The Garden will be displaying one chart per Big East team; two a day in alphabetical order spanning the week.
The last season Seton Hall finished above .500 in the conference, which also happened to be the last time the Pirates went to the NCAA Tournament, was the 2005-06 season. They looked set to earn a berth two years ago, but they took a terrible loss to DePaul late in the season. There seemed to be some hope last season entering the season, but a slew of injuries through the roster made it for a long season.
Seton Hall could be in line for a bounce back season if they can stay healthy, but they must learn to take care of the ball.
Last year they turned the ball over on nearly 24% of their possessions, or once every four times down the floor. Their turnover percentage ranked them 333rd in the country out of 347 Division 1 teams. That is unacceptable for a major conference team.
For four seasons, from 2007 to 2010, the Pirates were one of the best teams in the nation at protecting the ball. That was when Bobby Gonzalez was the head coach. Current head coach Kevin Willard took over the team before the 2010-11 season and the Pirates have only gotten worse and worse at keeping possession.
This year’s point guard duties could be bestowed upon three players: Tom Maayan – a sophomore, Sterling Gibbs – a transfer from Texas, and Jaren Sina – an incoming top-100 recruit. One of them may take the job and run with it from the get-go, or it could be a revolving rotation all season long. I would have normally been inclined to think this is Maayan’s job (at least at the start), but he was the main problem last year as his turnover rate was a whopping 54.1%. That is not good to put it very lightly.
But whoever ends up handling the rock in any given situation this season has to do a much better job at protecting the ball compared to last year. It doesn’t matter how talented your team is or how depleted a team is, giving away possessions at the rate Seton Hall did last year is a recipe to lose and to lose often.