Andre Barrett and Mustafa Shakur could account for the game's premier matchup. Barrett is considered one of the nation's better point guards. A senior, he has the experience advantage over his freshman counterpart, but can cause problems in other regards as well. The chink in Shakur's armor in an otherwise steady season has been his ability to defend. Barrett is capable of getting into the lane at will.
Barrett leads the team in scoring and assists. He accounts for nearly 18 points and six dishes a game, and has had to handle more of the scoring load because his teammates aren't exactly sharpshooters. Seton Hall converts on just 43 percent of its field goal attempts and shoots just 32 percent from three-point range.
Sophomore forward Kelly Whitney could cause problems for Arizona's thin interior line. At 6-8, 240, Whitney is a surprisingly athletic forward, not generally in the mold of what one might expect from the Big East. In addition to his 14 points per outing, he also leads the team with nearly seven rebounds per game.
All told, Seton Hall is the second best rebounding team in the Big East, which accounts for its No. 3 league spot in scoring, despite the poor shooting, most notably due to second-chance opportunities, an area that plagued Arizona during its two-game stay in the Pac-10 Tournament.
The Hall is also well-rounded. Five players average double figures, a testament to Barrett's ability to find the open man. John Allen averages 12.2 points and nearly five boards a game while inside presence Andre Sweet chips in 10 points and six rebounds an outing.
J.R. Morris is the last of Seton Hall's double figure scorers. He averages 10 points a game.
The Pirates also have better depth than Arizona. They can go four deep on the bench. Marcus Toney-El gets as many minutes as some of the starters while averaging six points and nearly six rebounds a game. Donald Copeland is the Hall's best three-point shooter, but Barrett will take most of the big shots.
As is the case with most Big East teams, Seton Hall started off fast in non-conference play. However, it lost by 12 at Purdue and nine at Louisville. Its most significant out-of-league win occurred against DePaul.
In conference, the Pirates have beaten Syracuse, Providence and Pitt, although UConn clubbed them by 22 on March. 1.
Tempo will be instrumental in this first-round matchup, and it is here where the play of Barrett will be key. Whereas Arizona leads the nation with an 87-point-per-game average, Seton Hall has eclipsed that mark on just three occasions this season, all against lower-Division I competition. Barrett has a 2.6/1.0 assist to turnover ratio, so if Seton Hall can keep the turnovers down, it will likely be in a position to keep the score within its range as well.
While solid at every position, the Pirates don't possess the UA's sheer athleticism and can't hope to match Arizona in a running game. It could also struggle in the halfcourt if the Pac-10 representative moves the ball and gets good looks.
The UA's more significant issue might be the temptation to look ahead. As the No. 9 seed, the lowest for a Wildcat team in nearly two decades, Arizona is slotted with a potential second-round clash with Duke, seeded first in the Atlanta Region. A Duke/Arizona encounter is probably the marquee game in the field of 32 as two of the nation's top five programs, and two of the nation's best offenses, would battle. Whereas the Seton Hall game is a matchup of tempo, the UA/Duke clash would more represent a track meet.
The UA would have no problem getting up for that game, but projecting the bracket is a recipe for quick elimination, and this is an Arizona team that has struggled with focus and mental toughness all season long.
For the Wildcats this is not a time for what if, but what must be done to make what if a reality.