The St. Joseph’s Hawks will enter conference play with a 10-2 record after taking down Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday. They’ve now won 6 straight games and boast a pretty solid non-conference resume with some wins over good teams. The Hawks will play their first conference game at Richmond this coming Saturday. Here’s a look at how St. Joseph’s did overall during the non-conference portion of its schedule.
St. Joseph’s ranks 4th in the conference and 38th overall in terms of ESPN’s RPI. The Hawks certainly had one of the tougher non-conference schedules and was able to beat some good opponents pretty easily. The best win for St. Joseph’s thus far was a 66-65 overtime victory on the road over Temple. That win will serve the Hawks very well, especially if the Owls become legitimate competitors in the AAC.
The Hawks also got very good wins in the month of December over Illinois State and Virginia Tech. They easily won both games by double digits and were led by Isaiah Miles each time. St. Joseph’s also boasts an impressive home win against Old Dominion back in November. All of these matchups were games that the Hawks needed to win if they wanted to have a good showing in the non-conference play. With a 10-2 record, St. Joseph’s has to be happy heading into Atlantic 10 play.
St. Joseph’s may have been one of the only Atlantic 10 teams without a bad loss in the non-conference portion of its season. The two blemishes on its record came at the hands of Florida and Villanova, two very good, tournament teams.
St. Joseph’s put up a decent fight against Villanova, but the Wildcats were clearly the better team. St. Joseph’s loss to Florida is interesting, because looking back, it seems like that could’ve been a win for the Hawks. The Gators took down the Hawks 74-63 in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off, and even though St. Joseph’s hung around in the first half, Florida’s 46-35 advantage on the glass gave the Gators the nod down the stretch.
St. Joseph’s: A-
There’s no denying that St. Joseph’s had a very good showing in the non-conference portion of its schedule. The Hawks won all of the games that they were supposed to and even managed to win some close games on the road. Were the Hawks able to beat Florida in the Naismith Tip-Off, they’d probably be more in the A range. For now, St. Joseph’s needs to worry about finishing third or better in the Atlantic 10 for a good shot at an NCAA Tournament bid.