By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – St. Joseph’s continues to roll towards an NCAA Tournament bid, but there is still plenty of work to be done in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The streaking Hawks have won 17 of their last 20 and have two regular season games remaining. Tourney talk has been making it’s way around Hawk Hill for the past few weeks, but head coach Phil Martelli continues to focus on the task at hand as opposed to what may happen on Selection Sunday.
“You cannot avoid it,” said Martelli. “But in 24 hours, I try to do a lot of things. I try to get a lot done. My number one thing is my team and my family and anything else. I just don’t have the energy for it, and I have not talked to them about it.”
The players are also having a hard time ignoring NCAA Tournament scenarios. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic admits to keeping an eye on the process, but knows he won’t hear anything about March Madness from his coach.
“He doesn’t talk about the tournament,” Kanacevic said. “He’s been great at just keeping us on track for the next game and the task ahead of us.”
The task ahead on Wednesday will not be an easy one for Kanacevic and company. The Hawks will travel to George Washington and face a Colonials’ squad with a similar 21-7 record. Martelli says there are plenty of similarities in addition to their records.
“George Washington is like looking in a mirror,” said Martelli. “They have two big guys, we have two big guys. They have limited play off their bench. We have limited play off our bench. They have a point guard that’s a caretaker. We have a point guard that’s a caretaker. The thing that we have is that we’re older.”
A win for the Hawks would clinch a first round bye in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament, and would enhance an already impressive NCAA Tournamnet resume which players such as Langston Galloway continue to find hard to ignore.
“It would be big,” Galloway said. “There would be a lot of excitement. We know what the end goal is, and that’s to get to the tournament.”