Going into Thursday's matchup against UConn in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, Seton Hall knew that their NCAA Tournament fate was already decided. According to multiple Bracketologists, the Pirates are solidified as a mid-seed in March Madness. Any wins, or even a Big East championship, would only improve their seeding for the selection committee.
Despite 17 points and six rebounds from Myles Cale, Seton Hall saw their run in the Big East Tournament end after a 62-52 loss to UConn at Madison Square Garden.
The key to the game was the 13-rebound advantage (46-33) that the Huskies held over Seton Hall, which included 18 offensive rebounds. While both teams did not shoot well from the field (36 percent for each school), the intangibles became the game's decider, and rebounding was the end all, be all in the loss for Seton Hall.
"I think our defensive effort has been really good. We haven't been finishing possessions the last couple of days," said Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard.
For Cale, this was his final Big East Tournament at The Garden. In a losing effort, he ended his run at The World's Most Famous Arena in grand fashion.
"Every time you come here, there's always a good crowd. People come out. New York City, a lot of people come out and they're rowdy. They talk a lot of stuff. It's just fun playing here, playing in this atmosphere."
Where Will Seton Hall Land In NCAA Tournament
Now the wait begins for Seton Hall. According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, The Pirates are slotted as a nine-seed in the East Region facing Memphis. Thursday's loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Seton Hall, which solidified their standing in the NCAA Tournament, which was murky about one month ago.
While Selection Sunday will be a celebration for Willard and Seton Hall, the question will turn to how far they can advance in The Big Dance. The last time the Pirates appeared in the NCAA Tournament was in 2019 when they fell to Wofford in the first round. The last time The Hall reached the Sweet 16 was in 2000 when current Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was leading the way.
While their Big East Tournament is done, Seton Hall knows they are not done with the season and are already looking ahead.
"A couple of days off, Selection Sunday, and then kind of get refocused, that is not going to be a bad thing," said Willard.
"Like Coach (Willard) said, I think a couple of days of rest, getting back, practicing some more, and I think we'll be all right," said Cale.