When the preseason media poll is released next month, Saint Joseph’s likely will be among the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 this season.
But the Hawks – and every other team in the A-10 – won’t have it easy.
The addition of Virginia Commonwealth and Butler, a pair of schools who have combined for three Final Four appearances in the last three seasons, has created a buzz about the league for this season while also making getting to the top rung more difficult.
St. Joe’s will get a taste of the new league right away, opening the A-10 portion of its schedule on Jan. 9 at home against Butler. The Hawks will follow a trip to Pittsburgh for a game against Duquesne with a visit to Richmond, Va. for a meeting against coach Shaka Smart and VCU in their third league game.
Hawks coach Phil Martelli knows the league will provide a stern test this season.
“The addition of Butler and VCU make this a highly entertaining basketball conference,” Martelli told Philahoops on Friday. “It challenges you in all ways. Butler and VCU did not enter this league to finish fifth; we’re not playing to finish fifth, either.”
To be successful, Martelli said his players will need to be focused.
“They have to answer the bell in the court, the weight room and every area in a newly improved and dangerous A-10,” he said.
Prior to conference play, St. Joe’s out-of-conference slate features one of the most anticipated games in the city this year as the Hawks will make the short trip to the DAC to face Bruiser Flint and Drexel.
The Dragons, coming off a highly successful 29-7 campaign, sent Martelli and the Hawks home unhappy two seasons ago when they beat St. Joe’s 62-50 at the DAC.
“I’m impressed with the growth of the Drexel University program in fan support, media coverage and excelling in the league,” said Martelli, whose team defeated the Dragons 62-49 last season at Hagan. “They brought the tough guy mentality two years ago at the DAC and we were embarrassed. New Year’s Eve is a special day for Philadelphia basketball.”
Click HERE for a printable St. Joe’s schedule.
Click HERE for Philahoops’ coverage of the Hawks.
2012-13 St. Joe’s Schedule
Mon., November 12 YALE (C v C Classic)
Fri., November 16 C v C Classic (New York)
Sat., November 17 C v C Classic (New York)
Tue., November 20 HARVARD
Wed., November 28 AMERICAN
Sat., December 1 @ Creighton
Tue., December 4 @ Coppin State
Tue., December 11 @ Villanova
Sat., December 22 FAIRFIELD
Fri., December 28 IONA
Mon., December 31 @ Drexel
Sat., January 5 @ Morgan State
Wed., January 9 BUTLER
Sat., January 12 @ Duquesne
Thu., January 17 @VCU
Sat., January 19 Penn (Palestra)
Wed., January 23 St. Bonaventure
Sat., January 26 XAVIER
Wed., January 30 @ Fordham
Sat., February 2 TEMPLE
Wed., February 6 @ Dayton
Sat., February 9 @ Massachusetts
Wed., February 13 RICHMOND
Sat., February 16 @ La Salle (Palestra)
Sat., February 23 GEORGE WASHINGTON
Wed., February 27 @ Saint Louis
Sat., March 2 FORDHAM
Wed., March 6 RHODE ISLAND
Sat., March 9 @ Charlotte
March 14-17 Atlantic 10 Championship (at Brooklyn, N.Y.)
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