By Ed Benkin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – College basketball is right around the corner, and expectations are high at St. Joseph’s.

The Hawks were picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll. Head Coach Phil Martelli knows winning the conference won’t be easy.

“That’s what some people thought,” said Martelli. “But six teams got votes in this league. There are a couple more that were capable of receiving votes. Our team has handled it well. They haven’t gotten ahead of themselves, and we’re just interested in being better tomorrow than we are today.”

There is reason for optimism at St. Joseph’s. The Hawks return all five starters from a year ago. Among those are the talented backcourt of Senior Carl Jones (17.0 ppg) and Junior Langston Galloway (15.5 ppg). Also returning is Ronald Roberts, who was named the Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year last season.

“This is certainly an exciting time,” Martelli said. “When you have a lot of players back, sometimes guys own agendas can get in the way. You only knock on your date’s door the first time. Get it right. This is no longer about any individual here. It’s about team.”

The Hawks won 20 games last season and earned a birth in the NIT Tournament, but players such as Galloway made it clear they have a different tournament on their radar this year.

“We want to get to the NCAA’s and make a run,” said Galloway. “That’s our main goal this year.”

St. Joseph’s opens its season on November 12th with a home game against Yale.