After being manhandled by the nation's No.1-ranked men's basketball program, Syracuse University, last Wednesday, 75-49, in the Big East Conference opener, Seton Hall University head coach Kevin Willard stood at the post-game podium and took questions he didn't really want to answer.
What happened? How did the Orange allow senior forward Herb Pope to just four points? Do you learn anything from this game? What's the next step for this team?
By the time Willard finished answering six minutes worth of questions inside the Carrier Dome media room, he had dropped a few profanities -- of course, all in a joking tone -- and basically admitted that the Pirates' strategy was to burn the SU-game film, not even think about the Orange and move onto the their next opponent, the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Well, whatever Willard said to his team on the bus ride down New York's I-81 toward home it worked, because Seton Hall went on to beat WVU, 67-48, Friday and then Tuesday upset No. 8 Connecticut Huskies, 75-63, in dominating fashion.
After earning two votes in this week's AP Poll, the two consecutive victories Seton Hall earned in the last five days should help the Pirates sneak into the college basketball rankings come Monday, Jan. 9. If so, it would be the first time Seton Hall would be ranked since January 2001.
"It's a great win for the players," said Willard after the UConn victory. "That's a heck of program. They're history and the players they have now are tremendous."
Last year, it was St. John's University. This year, its the Seton Hall Pirates. New York-New Jersey hoops fans, here's your 2011-12 Cinderella squad.
For more on the Seton Hall Pirates, visit the SB Nation blog South Orange Juice, while The UConn Blog has everything on the Huskies. For more coverage of Big East basketball, visit Big East Coast Bias.