NEW YORK — Seton Hall just won its first Big East title game in 23 years and will make its first NCAA Tournament in 12 years.
And it’s going to enter the Big Dance as the hottest team in the country.
SHU won an absolutely thrilling game on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, upsetting No. 3 Villanova 69-67 and capturing the third Big East championship in program history. Seton Hall is now 3-for-3 all time in Big East title games.
The game was won at the end when budding Hall superstar Isaiah Whitehead converted an and-one attempt with 18.5 seconds to go to give Hall the lead. Villanova’s Josh Hart was clearly hit on the ensuing Villanova possession, but no foul was called.
The old Big East. Physical to the end; whistles optional.
This was one of the better environments the Big East has seen in recent years. There’s been great crowds, but you could easily argue this was the best Big East Tournament game since the conference reformatted to 10 teams.
Seton Hall moves to 25-8 with this win. It lost just twice since Jan. 23. It could very well end up on the No. 4 line because of this, meaning the Pirates will move into geographic preference for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and wind up playing first and second round games in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.
Villanova’s loss could mean the Wildcats get bumped off the No. 1 line. We’ll find that out at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, when CBS airs its two-hour Selection Show. Villanova is now 29-5. It went 18-3 in the Big East this season, including the league playoff.