The Saint Joseph’s Men’s Basketball program has announced their non-conference schedule yesterday, Thursday August 26th, for the upcoming 2021-2022 season. The much anticipated schedule includes twelve games, eight of which are home games in Hagan arena. Saint Joe’s non-conference schedule also includes two ‘away’ games at the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, CA. Those games are scheduled to take place over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The final two away games for the Hawks will be played at both Bradley and Villanova.
The full schedule for Saint Joseph’s can be seen below:
|vs. Mount St. Mary’s||11/13/2021|
|USC (Wooden Legacy)||11/25/2021|
|Georgetown/San Diego St. (Wooden Legacy)||11/26/2021|
|vs. Holy Cross||12/22/2021|
At first glance this new schedule is a major change from last year, when Saint Joseph’s had one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. The Hawks played Auburn, Kansas, Villanova, and Tennessee which counted as four of their five non-conference games. It is worth mentioning that three of those four teams were ranked within the AP Top 10 at the time SJU played them. Luckily, this year will be different as the Hawks look to take on a favorable non-conference schedule.
Last Year’s Trade Off
As mentioned, Saint Joe’s did not balance their non-conference schedule well last year. The Hawks navigated a once in a generation pandemic with head Coach in his second year and a relatively new roster reliant on underclassmen. With opportunities to tame their non-conference schedule, the Hawks continued to double down last year. After the team’s first quarantine in November, Coach Lange and the Hawks pushed the boundaries as they added a ranked Tennessee to their schedule.
I had written all last season that while it was great seeing SJU get TV exposure, the trade off wasn’t worth it. It was more important for the team to gain confidence than to be on television with the biggest teams in college basketball. That type of scheduling should’ve been reserved for a team ready to break out of its shell. Not a team that was still forming one.
Balance is Key to Building Momentum
Luckily, this year SJU has got the scheduling right. They secured their TV exposure with the Wooden Classic, not to mention a significant opportunity to face great competition. Yet, Saint Joe’s also scheduled winnable games which will help the roster build momentum as they head into A-10 play.
However, I think Coach Lange said it best in the statement Saint Joseph’s saying, “We have put together a strong non-conference schedule that will continue to elevate our program. We’re excited for the opportunity to compete in Hagan Arena with our passionate fan base supporting us, challenge our team with high-level road games, play in a nationally recognized showcase event, and for all of Hawk Hill Philadelphia to be a part of the next chapter in the story of Saint Joseph’s Basketball.”
There has never been a better time for Coach Lange to win. This favorable schedule should work to help the Hawks build momentum into conference play. Coach Lange said is ready to take Saint Joseph’s into its next chapter. The question is, will he be able to make this one better?