Big East Tournament: High expectations for St. John’s and Seton Hall

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Myles Powell, Seton Hall Pirates. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Seton Hall Pirates

For Seton Hall, a three-way tie for the regular season conference hardware may be viewed by some as a disappointment.  SHU was given a slight edge over Wright’s Wildcats to take home the top honor in the preseason coaches poll. Kevin Willard’s Pirates

squad may still be the favorite to win the title at Madison Square Garden this week.

While the Pirates program is headlined by senior Myles Powell and the sensational play of junior Sandro Mamukelashvili, the real X-Factor for Willard has been the play of St. Thomas, Jamaica, native Romaro Gill. The 7-foot-2 senior recently took home the Big East’s Most Improved and Defensive Player of the Year, per the New York Post’s Zach Braziller.

Starting in 26 contests, Gill raised his average in rebounds (2.7 to 5.6), blocks (1.3 to 3.2) and points (2.3 to 7.8).

It’s a completely new season for Willard’s squad. Despite dropping the final two regular season contests to Villanova and Creighton, the Pirates can get themselves back on track very easily.

With a quarterfinal showdown against the Big East’s all-time leading scorer Markus Howard and Marquette on Thursday, college hoop fans will be salivating. It should be noted that despite dropping six of their last seven contests, the Golden Eagles are still a lethal scoring team.

However, Seton Hall isn’t the only local team poised to make a run at the Garden this week.