Seton Hall's run through the 1989 NCAA tournament, which went all the way to overtime in the championship game against Michigan, startled most non-hardcore basketball fans. The school was an original member of the Big East, but was seen as a sparring partner to conference heavyweights such as St. John's, Georgetown and Syracuse. The hiring of coach P.J. Carlesimo changed the Pirates' fortunes. They slowly improved their record each year, and by Carlesimo's sixth season, the program qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time and reached the second round. Then the following year in 1989, the Pirates knocked off perennial powers Indiana, UNLV and Duke to reach the prime-time Monday night stage.

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