Last season, Saint Joseph’s finished fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. This upcoming season should be a fun and interesting one to keep an eye on, especially if you are a big Philadelphia college hoop fan.
St. Joseph’s tips off their 2018 season against Old Dominion on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m ET and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.
The “must see” games for St. Joes this season include an underrated one on November 12 when St. Joe’s hosts Monmouth University which will be a 7:00 p.m tip-off time. On November 15, the Hawks face off against Wake Forest in the Myrtle Beach Invitational at 11:30 a.m on ESPNU. They visit Jay Wright and Villanova on December 8 at 2:00 p.m on Fox Sports One at the Finneran Pavilion. In another Big Five showdown, St. Joes travels to the Palestra to face Penn University on January 26 at 7:00 p.m. All of these games will be ones to keep a close eye on as the season goes.
Looking Back and Looking Ahead:
The Hawks will have sophomore forward Charlie Brown and junior guard Lamarr Kimbel back healthy to help St. Joes have a boost to their start of the season. Kimble was averaging 15.5 points per a game and had 107 assists when he broke his foot late in the 2016-17 season. Brown was an Atlantic 10 all-rookie team honoree when averaging 12.8 points last season. It’s also going to be interesting to see how well transfer Troy Holston will make the transition from South Florida. He was out with an injury last season.
The Hawks lost some solid contributors from last year, however, including guard Shavar Newkirk (averaged 17.4 ppg), guard James Demery (16.9 ppg), and forward Nick Robinson (7.7 ppg).
Last year, St. Joes finished 16-16 and advanced to the Atlantic-10 semifinals before losing to top-seeded Rhode Island, 90-87. Look out for this same matchup during this season in their second-to-last game of the regular season. It could go a long way in determining seeding and confidence heading into the postseason conference tournament.
The Hawks will also try to be better on the road and not end up anywhere near last year’s record of 6-13 away from the friendly confines of Hagan Arena. This isn’t always a great bet, however, when you’re relying on freshmen as much as St. Joes projects to be this season.
The key players to watch during this season for St. Joes are freshman guard Jared Bynum and sophomore forward Taylor Funk.
Funk will have a breakout year. He’s going to be a disaster for defenders to keep up with because of the way he gets opportunities to put up points. It will be interesting to watch him grow as a player as the season progresses, hopefully peaking by the time of the Atlantic-10 Tournament.
St. Joseph’s also added a transfer junior guard out of University of Delaware, Ryan Daly. However, Daly isn’t eligible to play this year.
I predict that St. Joes will have a similar season to last year and finish fourth in the A-10 this year. I think they can make a run at another semifinal appearance in the tourney. Also, they will get a spot in the NIT Tournament and potentially make a deep run in that tourney as well.