Ok, I’ll take the blame: I was responsible for ranking the men’s Atlantic 10 basketball field in our Basketball Preview way back when in November. With the A-10 Tournament looming, what better time than the present to simultaneously pat myself on the back while kicking myself over the path taken by my prognostications? All comments, insults, and compliments (especially compliments) are welcomed.
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Our prediction: 1
Final place: 7
It’s hard to figure where Dayton’s season went awry. They started out 13-3—with a win over a ranked Georgia Tech and two narrow losses at other ranked opponents in New Mexico and Villanova. But the Flyers stumbled down the stretch, going 6-8 in their final 14 games, including losses in five of their last seven outings. Defense’s penchant for keying in on Chris Wright successfully has limited his ability to take over games. He hasn’t been the superstar he’s needed to be, and the supporting cast has been unspectacular.
Our prediction: 2
Final place: 2
Bull’s-eye! I’ll take any victory I can get. It didn’t look that way early on, with the Musketeers stumbling out of an extraordinarily tough nonconference slate with an 8-5 record. But this young squad, led by A-10 scoring champ Jordan Crawford and the rapid maturation of Jason Love into a premier big man, has meshed down the stretch. They’ve crept into the Top 25 thanks to a seven-game win streak, and could end up with a high seed in the Big Dance if they can buck their trend of poor showings in the A-10 Tourney in recent history. Continue reading
St. Joe’s guard Garrett Williamson was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive team today, the only Hawk to garner any postseason recognition.
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Richmond’s Kevin Anderson was named Player of the Year, while Fordham’s Chris Gaston was honored as the Rookie of the Year. Damian Saunders earned recognition as the Defensive Player of the Year, and Temple’s Ramone Moore was named the Sixth Man of the Year.
Temple’s Fran Dunphy took home Coach of the Year honors, while Dayton’s Chris Johnson earned the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player award. Yves Mekongo of La Salle was named the Student-Athlete of the Year.
Anderson leads a first team comprised of all underclassmen, including A-10 co-scoring champ Jordan Crawford. Ricky Harris of UMass, who finished tied with Crawford at 19.7 points per game, landed on the third team.
Williamson struggled early on, but has turned in some tremendous performances down the stretch, solidifying his reputation as one of the best on-ball defenders in the conference. The season highlight for him and the Hawks was his emphatic block in the waning seconds against Dayton to seal the upset over the Flyers. Continue reading
2:40 Looking back at the game, the Hawks put out one of their best efforts on the court this season, both offensively and defensively. In the second half, they came out firing on all cylinders defensively, with Phill Martelli not waiting around for players to warm up. “In the first half I was waiting for guys to play,” said Martelli, “I didn’t wait for guys to play in the second half.” Both Williamson and Govens led the offense today with 20 and 21 points, respectively. The problem for the Hawks, however, was Ramone Moore, who had a career-high 24 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Martelli admitted, “Every guy gave us something, but we didn’t do enough with Ramone Moore”. Despite finding a way to tighten up their inside defense, the Hawks couldn’t stop Ramon Moore and Juan Fernandez in Overtime, which ultimately led to heir demise today. Looking ahead, Phil Martelli summed it all up, “We have to be better on Monday than we were today. We have to go on the road an be an impact team.” If the Hawks want to have a chance to make it to Atlantic City, this will have to be the case: they’ll need to play well against Charlotte and later George Washington on the road if they want a chance to play in the conference tournament.
Well, that about wraps it up from the Palestra. This is Tom Hagan signing off after a rough loss for the Hawks by a score of 75-76 in Overtime.
2:15: With a Govens miss, it’s now foul time. Prescott misses a 3 and Fernandez gets fouled by Williamson. He makes one and another Williamson miss seals this loss for the Hawks. Temple wins, 75-67. More postgame to come soon. Continue reading
Who ever came up with the idiom “once bitten, twice shy” was never a St. Joe’s basketball fan. Keep that in mind as I jump in my inner tube and float out into the shark tank that is optimism about this program.
Last night’s win over Penn puts the Hawks at 8-11 with 11 games to play. And a crazy little thought popped into my head on the walk from the Palestra to 30th Street Station: what does this team have to do to salvage a .500 season?
The obvious answer, which hit me not unlike a splash of water from the 42 bus heading up Walnut Street, is to go 7-4. But is that something that this team, who looked dead in the water and could have folded after losing eight of nine and were on their way to another loss at halftime at the hands of Fordham at home, is capable of?
Here’s what’s left for the Hawks: Continue reading