The Saint Joseph's Hawks made a late run into the NCAA tournament thanks to their win in the Atlantic 10 Tournament over the past weekend in Brooklyn. How will the Hawks be able to refocus after their big weekend?
The Hawks can win because...
They are getting balanced contributions from their roster. All four members of the Saint Joseph's roster who average in double figures in points were productive for the Hawks this past weekend in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Langston Galloway, Ronald Roberts, DeAndre Bembry, and Halil Kanacevic all worked together with great precision, and they all made big individual plays on their own when they were placed in one-on-one situations. Galloway and Bembry operate more on the perimeter, but they can attack the basket. Roberts is a remarkable athlete with a lot of leaping ability. Kanacevic is a thoughtful, clever post player with an assortment of moves and shots that are very effective. This team has so many weapons on offense that Connecticut won't easily be able to guard Saint Joseph's. The Hawks are equipped to not only cover the NCAA basketball odds but beat the Huskies because of their offense.
The Huskies can win because...
They are likely to be quicker and more active on defense than Saint Joseph's is expecting. Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli will probably tell his team that Connecticut is going to come out and be aggressive on defense in this game. The members of the Saint Joseph's roster might nod their heads and say yes, thinking that they know what's coming, but that might not be enough to fully prepare the Hawks for what's actually likely to come their way.
Connecticut just came through a punishing American Athletic Conference Tournament in which it survived a defensive war against Cincinnati but was then too tired and worn down to handle a surging Louisville team in the championship game on Saturday. Connecticut played really well on defense in this tournament, roaring past a good Memphis team and then beating Cincinnati in a pure slugfest. Connecticut is so active at the defensive end of the court that it can bother and crowd Saint Joseph's all game long. The Hawks are simply going to have a very tough time running their normal offense in this game.
Outlook & Pick
Saint Joseph's had a great run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament but Connecticut did a lot of good work in its own conference tournament, even though it didn't win. The Huskies are underappreciated on the NCAA basketball odds and they might win this game more easily than you'd first think.NCAA Tournament Pick: Connecticut -4 at SportsInteraction