Let’s meet the Pirates.
Seton Hall is Arkansas’ opponent in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. This is only the second time the two schools have faced each other (Arkansas won the first one in 2010 - a rare Pelphrey era victory) but the stage will be a little bigger this time.
The Pirates have a 21-11 record and went 10-8 in the Big East, which put them in a 4-way tie for 3rd place. Their RPI is 45, about 20 spots below Arkansas, and their best wins were at Butler and against Creighton, Xavier, and South Carolina. They had four losses outside the top 50 and one outside the top 100, an 8-point loss at St. John’s. They’ve only lost 4 times since February 1st, and two of those came to overall #1 seed Villanova.
Arkansas will need a bounce-back performance from Moses Kingsley. Arguably Seton Hall’s best player is center Angel Delgado, a 6’10” junior who averages 15.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He’s made 54.8% of his shots this season. The Hogs will need to defend him as well as they defended Ole Miss’ Sebastian Saiz last Friday.
Seton Hall is not a great 3-point shooting team. In conference play, they made 32.8% of their longballs, compared to 37.5% from Arkansas. The Pirates have no players who can match Dusty Hannahs and Daryl Macon from that range, though Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez are pretty solid.
Seton Hall is not a fast team. They are a few possessions per game slower than Arkansas’ slower-than-normal pace this season. They are a very good rebounding team but they are susceptible to turnovers and aren’t a great shooting team. Arkansas has advantages there, especially from the free throw line, where the Hogs combined have a 10% advantage over the Pirates.
Arkansas isn’t quite as tall as Seton Hall, and the Pirates have similar experience to Arkansas. The Hogs have a deeper bench as Seton Hall only regularly plays 7 players in their rotation, but both teams will have close to a week off since this game isn’t until Friday, so that may not matter.
Overall, if Arkansas plays as well as we’ve seen them play, I think they have a great chance to advance. It seems like a good matchup for Arkansas. KenPom gives the Hogs a 54% chance of victory. As we all know, Arkansas has shown a frustrating ability to go through dry spells against teams as bad as Missouri, so take nothing for granted, but I like the Hogs in this matchup. I’ll be picking them on my non-homer bracket.