Ones team's misfortune is another team's road to the NCAA Tournament, and that's the case for the Seton Hall Pirates and South Florida Bulls men's basketball programs Wednesday after the Providence Friars upset the Connecticut Huskies, 72-70, on Tuesday.
The loss was UConn's ninth in 12 tries and has puts the Huskies (17-12, 7-10 Big East) on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
The UCONN loss is more damaging. There's really no excuse losing to a 4-13 Big East team when they're playing for nothing but pride. UCONN is now the last team in the field, whereas coming into the today, they were somewhat sturdy 11 seed. A win by UCONN over Pitt to close the regular season doesn't really change their fate much. They need a good showing in NYC and other teams to falter.
Meanwhile, Seton Hall (19-10, 8-9), which defeated UConn in early Jan., 75-63, is reaping the benefits from UConn's struggles, as its basically secured a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament -- beat the DePaul Blue Demons on Saturday and its official -- and now can basically say to the NCAA Tournament selection committee, "Hey! We have a better conference record and we weren't as bad as them at the end of our regular season. We're better than them!." And all of that would be true because of UConn's loss on Tuesday.
As of Wed., almost every Bracketologist has the Pirates in the NCAAs, however, there's very little room for error because that Jan. victory over UConn, which was then a March Madness resume builder, is no longer considered a badge of honor, instead, its more like earning a Cub Scout patch for tying your shoes. (SI.com's Andy Glockner, Feb. 28.)
With the West Virginia and UConn home wins weakening rapidly, the Pirates' profile is not that good. They have to win at DePaul in the finale and then make the Big East quarters and see.