March Madness lives on. Following the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, The Post projected the final bracket and will spend the rest of the week presenting round-by-round results produced via online simulation, thanks to our friends at whatifsports.com.
Myles Powell may want to shield his eyes. In another universe, his prophecy remains right on track.
Starring in Seton Hall’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 20 years, Powell put on the performance of a lifetime, scoring 32 points — hitting 6 of 9 3-pointers — to carry the No. 3 Pirates to an 80-74 win over No. 2 Florida State in The Post’s NCAA Tournament simulation.
Earlier this week, Powell — Seton Hall’s first Big East Player of the Year since 1993 — reiterated the belief he carried throughout his incredible senior season.
“We had the type of seed where we feel we were in a situation to make a run,” Powell said. “I feel like we would have made a run to the Final Four. All year everybody said we were a Final Four team, and I think we would have lived up to it.”
Seton Hall hasn’t made the Final Four since finishing seconds away from winning the 1989 national championship.
Under Kevin Willard, Seton Hall was certain to reach a school-record fifth straight NCAA Tournament. In his first five seasons, the team went 82-80 without ever making the Big Dance, but the program broke its decade-long drought in 2016 and reached new heights this season by winning a share of the Big East regular-season championship for the first time in 27 years.
Seton Hall won a total of one game in its previous four trips to the NCAA Tournament, but held this year’s ultimate wild card with its superstar sharpshooter.
“Some GM is going to make himself look like a brilliant man for drafting that kid,” Willard said of Powell this season. “I watch all of college basketball and I see all of these great players and there’s a lot of good ones, but I’ll take that dude over anybody, every day of the week.”
In Willard’s final (fictional) run with Powell, Seton Hall next faces No. 4 Louisville, which knocked off No. 1 Baylor, 78-75. Willard was an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville (2001-07) — his father, Ralph, coached there, too — before getting his first head coaching opportunity at Iona, where his former mentor has recently resurfaced.
Following the vacancy of its 2012 Final Four trip and 2013 national championship run, Louisville’s 2005 banner is the most recent one still hanging. The memories are still fresh for Cardinals fans, though.
The Pirates have no such recent moments to cherish.
Seton Hall hasn’t made the Elite Eight since 1991, when it was eliminated, 77-65, by undefeated, reigning national champion UNLV. The Pirates made the Sweet 16 for a third time in 1992, when they lost to No. 1 Duke, which was en route to its second straight national title.
After P.J. Carlesimo left for the NBA in 1994, Seton Hall missed the NCAA Tournament the next five years. Then, as a No. 10 seed in the 2000 NCAA Tournament, Tommy Amaker’s team opened by winning back-to-back overtime games — first defeating No. 7 Oregon, then beating No. 2 Temple — before losing to No. 3 Oklahoma State, 68-66, in the Sweet 16, while shooting 7 of 34 on 3-pointers and playing without injured point guard Shaheen Holloway.
“Any time you’re right there you can taste it, feel it,” Amaker said at the time. “We didn’t capitalize when we had the opportunities.”