Sept. 6, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will follow up on its run to the 2005 NIT Finals with one of its most challenging schedules in recent seasons, as it takes on 10 teams which reached postseason play last year. The Hawks will make seven appearances on national television (ESPN or ESPN2), which is the most ever for an SJU team during the regular season.
Saint Joseph's, led by four-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Phil Martelli, will face 2005 NCAA teams Bucknell, George Washington, Gonzaga, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Saint Mary's and Villanova in addition to NIT squads Davidson, Drexel and Temple.
Another highlight of the schedule is SJU's participation in the annual Jimmy V Classic on December 6, as the Hawks face Kansas in Madison Square Garden on ESPN. The second game of that event pits Boston College against Michigan State.
"Our non-conference schedule will prepare us for the challenge of the Atlantic 10. With the many All-League players, returning top scorers and starters in the league this season, the Atlantic 10 will be as challenging as anytime in my tenure," said Martelli, who owns a 203-111 record in 10 years, including an impressive 77-21 mark in the past three years.
The Hawks will play seven games on campus in the sold-out Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, with the season opener set for Friday, November 18 against Lafayette.
There are six games slated for The Palestra, the historic "home away from home" for the Hawks. SJU plays Drexel on November 30, and hosts Ohio State in an ESPN game on December 10. Saint Joseph's faces Temple on January 8 and La Salle on January 21 in Atlantic 10 matchups and then plays Pennsylvania on January 28 in a Big 5 contest.
This year's SJU-Villanova game at The Palestra on February 7 will hold special significance, as it is one of the featured events in the year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the Philadelphia Big 5. The two schools played in the first-ever Big 5 game on December 14, 1955. This year's contest will be televised on ESPN2 as part of the network's annual "Rivalry Week".
SJU will travel to California for the fifth consecutive year when it visits Saint Mary's on December 28. The Hawks will stay on the West Coast to resume the series with Gonzaga on New Year's Eve, in the Zags' two-year old McCarthey Athletic Center.
Saint Joseph's, which is tied with Massachusetts as the only team in league history to win five consecutive A-10 regular-season titles, begins its quest for the conference-record sixth title when league play begins on January 4 against Xavier at the Fieldhouse.
With new members Charlotte and Saint Louis in their first year of competition in the conference, the Atlantic 10 will be a one-division league. SJU will play home and away games with Xavier, Temple and '05 A-10 Tournament Champion George Washington. The Hawks will host Charlotte, Fordham, La Salle, Richmond and St. Bonaventure and travel to Dayton, Duquesne, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Saint Louis.
The four conference games to be televised nationally on ESPN2 are home games with Charlotte (Jan. 17) and George Washington (Feb. 11) and road games with Temple (Feb. 14) and Xavier (Feb. 28).
Game times and a complete television schedule will be announced at a later date.