Thursday In Newark, NJ, the sentence, "best start in program history since 1992-93," doesn't mean what it used to, as the Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball program lost their second straight game Wednesday night, 84-76, to host Villanova Wildcats in a Big East Conference contest at The Pavilion.
After being ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll and sitting in second place in the Big East basketball standings last Thursday, the Pirates (15-4, 4-3 Big East) have officially reached the rising action act of their storybook season, which last Friday scripted a loss, 56-55, at the South Florida Bulls and now a ugly showing against a struggling Villanova program (9-7, 2-5), which had lost five of its last six entering Wednesday's contest.
The current two-game skid has Pirates fans to asking the question: Should we start panicking?
"This team started 15-2?!," wrote the SB Nation blog South Orange Juice early Thursday morning. "You wouldn't know it after tonight's extremely poor performance on the Main Line. It's their worst loss of the year, and the worst they've looked since Syracuse."
The clear-cut blame for the Pirates' recent struggles (besides taken 36 3-pointers against 'Nova) will be put on the shoulders of senior guard Jordan Theodore, who last Friday, with Seton Hall down one-point, missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line that could have tied and possibly given the Pirates the lead; and then he went 2-for-16 from the field Wednesday.
"I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean tonight," tweeted Theodore after the game, which featured him hitting just two 3-pointers in the second half, the last coming with about three minutes to go and helped cut the Wildcats' lead to 71-64. The deficit with poor shooting, however, was just too much to overcome.
|2011 - Jordan Theodore||19||36.5||5.2||13.3||39.3||1.3||3.8||32.9||4.6||5.6||82.1||0.8||2.5||3.3||7.3||2.6||2.2||0.1||1.6||16.3|
Before his current two-game slump, Theodore averaged 19.3 points per game and 9.8 assists per game in his previous four contests, which featured Seton Hall defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers, No. 11-ranked (then No. 8) Connecticut Huskies, DePaul Blue Demons and Providence Friars, respectively.
What does this all mean? Well, the obvious conclusion is simple: As Jordan Theodore goes as does the Seton Hall Pirates.
"He's tried to be Kemba Walker," wrote South Orange Juice, "and he just plain isn't that type of player. Two games in a row this has happened. Trying to lead a young team is one thing, but trying to do everything yourself is another thing altogether."
However, Seton Hall fans shouldn't panic too much because a similar situation happened to the St. John's Red Storm last season.
The 2010-11 version of the Johnnies began the year 10-3 overall and 3-0 in the league play, but then hit a terrible slump that featured St. John's losing five of its next six games. During the skid, senior guard Dwight Hardy -- who was the heart and soul of that team (much like Theodore is for the Pirates) -- averaged just 9.4 ppg.
Before the losing streak, Hardy netted 21.3 ppg in his previous four games.
After the losing streak, Hardy averaged 26.5 ppg in his next four, which feature him netting 33, 32 an 26 points in three of the contests with the latter helping knock off No. 3-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 93-78.
Now, granted, Theodore is more of a late-game play-maker and distributor, while Hardy was just a stud scorer but the situations are much the same -- if St. John's main point guard wasn't playing well the Johnnies were not going to win.
The moral of the story? If Theodore is a good enough guard to lead Seton Hall to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004 he will turn it around and do so. If he doesn't, then you know this team just wasn't good enough.
Pirates Basketball Schedule
Next 5 Games
|Notre Dame||Wed 01/25||8:00 PM EST|
|Louisville||Sat 01/28||8:00 PM EST|
|@ Marquette||Tue 01/31||8:00 PM EST|
|@ Connecticut||Sat 02/04||12:00 PM EST|
|@ Rutgers||Wed 02/08||9:00 PM EST|
Last 5 Games
|@ Villanova||Wed 01/18||L 76 - 84|
|@ South Florida||Fri 01/13||L 55 - 56|
|DePaul||Tue 01/10||W 94 - 73|
|@ Providence||Sat 01/07||W 66 - 57|
|Connecticut||Tue 01/03||W 75 - 63|
For more on the Pirates, visit South Orange Juice, while Big East Coast Bias has everything on Big East basketball. Would you like to comment? E-mail: JaredSmith16@gmail.com; Or Twitter: JaredSmithCNY or SBNationNY.