8. Seton Hall
- All-Time Record: 1,516-1,087-2 (.582 Winning Percentage)
- NCAA Tournament Appearances: 13
- Final Fours: One (1989)
- National Championships: Zero
- Notable Alums: Bob Davies, Bobby Wanzer, Glenn Mosely
If you look at the numbers, it’s fair to question why Seton Hall is on this list. The Pirates have by far the fewest tournament appearances of any school on here, they don’t have a championship to their name, and outside of 1989, the school has only advanced beyond the Sweet 16 once.
These facts are all true, but that doesn’t mean that Seton Hall isn’t a winning program. The Pirates were basketball independents for a long time, remaining out of a league until the 1960s, but they were still a regular presence at the NIT in the 1950s, headlined by an NIT championship in 1952.
The NIT doesn’t mean much now, but back then the NIT was an event that was arguably more prestigious than the NCAA Tournament, with schools often turning down bids in order to participate in the NIT. Seton Hall continued to win enough to catch the eye of the newly forming Big East conference, becoming a charter member back in 1979.
The Pirates struggled to compete early on as they had to fight for recruits with programs like Syracuse, Georgetown, and St. John’s, but they put together a nice run in the late ’80s, reaching the national title game under coach P.J. Carlesimo. That team lost to Michigan in the final, but the core of that group made another deep run two years later, getting back to the Elite Eight in 1991.
Seton Hall has a difficult task getting players to come to Northern New Jersey when schools with bigger name value like St. John’s and UConn are nearby, but they have found a way to win consistently and are a program on the rise. Coach Kevin Willard has done a great job at Seton Hall, taking the Pirates to four straight tournament appearances and is poised to inherit a pre-season top 15 squad next year, so the best could be yet to come for Seton Hall.