The Seton Hall Pirates are the only undefeated team in Big East men’s basketball conference play. They were rewarded with an AP poll boost.
The Seton Hall Pirates have raised their flag over Big East men’s basketball.
Seton Hall (14-4, 6-0 Big East) is the lone undefeated team left in conference play after a stellar week. The Pirates took down No. 5 Butler in Indianapolis on Wednesday before holding off an 82-79 challenge from St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The Pirates were rewarded on Monday with a 10th-place posting in the Associated Press poll. Seton Hall has reached the top 10 for the first time since they finished sixth in 1993’s final ranking.
The Pirates moved up a poll-best eight spots from last week’s posting, which saw them ranked 18th.
A promising season seemed poised to end in disaster after an embarrassing 20-point loss to Rutgers on Dec. 14 that left the Pirates at 6-4. The Pirates immediately followed that defeat up with a win over then-No. 7 Maryland, a victory that kicked off an active eight-game winning streak.
The West Orange resurgence has been ignited by guard Myles Powell. The accoladed senior missed the win over the Terrapins but has given the Pirates the necessary spark in conference play. Powell has reached at least 23 points in each of his last four games, including 29 each in the aforementioned wins over Butler and St. John’s. His 22.4 scoring average is second in the Big East behind Marquette’s Markus Howard. Center Romaro Gill complemented the Saturday performance with 13 rebounds. The Jamaica native also leads the Big East in blocks per game (3.1).
Despite their big week, Seton Hall still trails conference foe Villanova (14-3, 4-1) in the AP poll. The Wildcats have won the Big East regular-season title in five of the past six years and have taken home the conference tournament title at MSG in four of the past five editions. Seton Hall provided the lone outlier in 2016 with a 69-67 victory over the Wildcats in the final. The teams will first meet at Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 8.
Seton Hall is now one of just 19 teams in the nation to own an undefeated record in conference play. The Pirates will next open a three-game homestand at Prudential Center on Wednesday night against the Providence Friars (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490