NCAA tournament team previews: St. Joseph's Hawks
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 24-9, 11-5 in Atlantic 10
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 110.3 (68th) / 98.2 (56th)
Seed: No. 10 in East
Impact player: Langston Galloway, senior guard. 17.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 43.9% three-point shooting
The Case For:
What a difference a week can make. The Hawks, a solid team by numerous metrics but without any signature nonconference wins, were on the bubble after a home loss to La Salle on March 9 to end the regular season. But three wins in three days in Brooklyn -- including a second victory over No. 23 VCU in as many meetings in the title game -- gave Saint Joseph’s the Atlantic-10 crown and an automatic ticket to dance.
Saint Joseph’s is a quality team, if not an elite one, on both ends of the floor, but what makes it so dangerous is the inside-outside combo of versatile forward Halil Kanacevic and guard Langston Galloway. Kanacevic, a 6-foot-8 Staten Island native and Hofstra transfer whom coach Phil Martelli describes as “fascinating,” can stuff the stat sheet -- he averaged 10.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 blocks this season -- while Galloway generally leads the scoring charge, with a knack for outside shooting and game-winners. Kanacevic is complemented inside by Ronald Roberts Jr., an efficient scorer around the basket and a capable shot blocker in his own right (1.4 per game). Coming off the program’s first A-10 title in 17 years, the balanced Hawks could continue their roll.
The Case Against:
Saint Joseph’s is balanced, yes, but also does not truly stand out in many facets. The team’s efficient offense can be disrupted by sending it to the line, where the Hawks ranked 335th nationally in free throw percentage and start four players who shot south of 66 percent. They also don’t force very many turnovers, instead limiting opponents’ opportunities by grabbing defensive rebounds; but if opponents aren’t missing, there won’t be many to be had. The Hawks’ most impressive wins were all within the conference -- home and away against Dayton, and home and in Brooklyn against VCU -- and they were blown out by potential Round of 32 opponent Villanova and even underachieving LSU earlier in the year. To put together a tourney run, they will need to beat opponents that are both high quality and unfamiliar. And with a short rotation -- no team in the country used bench players for a smaller share of minutes -- they will have to make sure they stay far from foul trouble to do it.
SI Prediction: Lose in the second round to UConnView complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts