SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Round-robin conference play used to be the norm: Play everyone twice; once home, one on the road. Now with the proliferation of leagues morphing into mega conference, such a situation is not feasible. There are simply too many members in some groups, allowing for the traditional home-and-home. Fans lose out on the opportunity to see some teams they may have looked forward to. Traditional rivalries can also be more difficult to maintain.
The Big East, with its ten members, still allows for a traditional format: Play every member twice. Beside being attractive to fans, it also allows a good barometer of a team’s success and/or improvement. An example of this latter point was Seton Hall defeating Butler, 65-63, at Walsh Gym on Sunday. The victory finished off a Pirate sweep of Xavier and Butler. Beyond winning the two home games this weekend, a further note of observation - these are two teams that handled the Pirates significantly the first time around.
In the weeks that followed those losses, it is obvious Tony Bozzella’s group has stepped up and is working on eliminating any deficiencies they had earlier. Naturally, there is still a month of the regular season to play. The opponents will all be teams Seton Hall has already faced, another way to gauge progress and another reason the traditional Big East schedule is attractive, especially to coaches.
Seton Hall director of player development Nick DiPillo and assistant coach Lauren DeFalco watch the Pirates go through pregame warmups:
Seton Hall and Butler after a scramble for a held ball:
The broadcast booth of John Fanta, who had the call for the Big East Digital Network:
Butler head coach Kurt Godlevske observes the action:
Seton Hall setting up the offense:
Butler on the attack:
Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella, perhaps in deep thought:
Martha Kuderer describes her effort to Chris Pierre-Louis of the Pirate Sports Network: