2020 Seton Hall Pirates NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
If experience counts for anything in college basketball, then Seton Hall has a leg up on almost everyone this year. They return eight of their nine top scorers from last season - a year in which they made the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season. The lone departure was senior forward Michael Nzei, who averaged nine points and 5.2 rebounds last year. That is a stunning amount of returning experience. It looked like the losses would be much more severe, as star guard Myles Powell flirted heavily with the draft. In the end he returned because while his offense is explosive, he needs to be more of a creator. It also seemed like coach Kevin Willard was going to head to Virginia Tech to replace Buzz Williams, who left for Texas A&M. Instead, though, Willard leveraged the Hokies' interest into an extension at Seton Hall. It's hard to blame him with this much experience coming back. Expectations are very high, but the schedule certainly could be easier. What can we expect from this squad?
Seton Hall Pirates Additions/Losses
There really isn't too much to discuss here. Four full-time starters are back, and so are three guys who started at least a game. Nzei will have to be replaced, but he was far from a centerpiece. If you want to bet on a guy to take a step forward from among the starters, the money should go on forward Sandro Mamukelashvili. The awkwardly named big man scored 8.9 points per game last year, with 7.8 boards. He'll face more responsibility as a junior this year and could be in a position to really shine.
Despite keeping so many players, the team did add two interesting players. Big man Ike Obiagu, a generous inch over seven feet, comes off his redshirt this year after transferring from Florida State. The center doesn't have much of a scoring touch, but he averaged 2.1 blocks in just over 10 minutes per game as a freshman for the Seminoles, so he adds an inside presence that the team lacked last year. And the lone high school recruit is another forward who could fill a role. Tyrese Samuel from Montreal is a three star forward who, like a lot of freshmen, needs to add bulk. He played for Canada at the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer, though, and looked solid, averaging 9.1 points and 6.4 boards against strong competition. It's a good omen, and the team has the luxury of not having to rely on him to fill any more of a role than he is ready for.
Returning so much talent is a positive, but the team can't rest on that. They still ranked only sixth in the Big East in both scoring and defense, so they can't just get more of the same from what they have and hope for better results. Powell will have to become more of a well-rounded quarterback, and the other players will have to step forward. The team returned less than 30 percent of their scoring last year, so the experience this year is a big boost over last year, and it is reasonable to see them move forward this year. They will have to take big strides to live up to the massive expectations that come with being ranked 12th in the preseason poll.
Seton Hall Pirates Schedule
This is one tough schedule. They opened with a big win over Wagner, and Stony Brook will be less of a test. But then they face top-ranked Michigan State in Newark. Then they head to the Battle 4 Atlantis, which is just a brutal tournament. They open against 15th ranked Oregon. Beat them, and they likely faced eighth ranked Gonzaga , with either ninth ranked North Carolina or unranked but tough Michigan the likely third opponent. All in three days. They also play seventh ranked Maryland before Christmas. And it's not like things ease up once Big East play starts. Villanova and Xavier are both ranked right now, and Marquette, Creighton and Georgetown could all play themselves into the top 25 with some luck.
Seton Hall Pirates Futures Odds and Trends
Oddsmakers aren't as excited about this team as poll voters are. They are at +5000 to win the national title, which has them behind 22 other teams, and tied with squads like Xavier, Marquette and Creighton. They are tied with Marquette as the second choice to win the Big East at +450, behind Villanova at +225.
The team went 20-14 straight up last year, with a less impressive - and less useful 17-17 ATS mark last year. They went under the total 18 times and over 15, so they weren't particularly useful on that front over the long term, either.
Seton Hall Pirates Predictions
The team feels a little undervalued. Not by pollsters, but by oddsmakers. I see a lot of upside here and see a dangerous team. The schedule is brutal, but they are going to be a tough out. They have not made it to the second weekend of the tournament in their last four years of dancing. I expect them to make it this year.
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