The St. Joseph’s Hawks will open their season with a home matchup against the Old Dominion Monarchs Friday night from the Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena. The Monarchs went 25-7 last season, and they opened their season with a 67-44 win over Navy on Tuesday night. The Hawks went 16-16 with a 10-8 mark in A10 play last season. These schools last met in 2015 in a game St. Joseph’s won 66-64.
Monarchs Defense Shines in Season Opener
The Old Dominion Monarchs are expected to make some noise again this season after a successful 2017 season. They went a dominant 15-3 in C-USA play last season behind outstanding defensive play. The Monarchs tipped off their season with a decisive 67-44 win over Navy on Tuesday night. Ahmad Caver was outstanding in the victory, sinking 24 points along with five rebounds. The senior guard is going to be a force this season after averaging 14.2 points last season. Caver was named to the C-USA preseason team coaches poll which highlights the best players in the conference.
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The Monarchs also return B.J. Stith this season. The senior guard is solid defensively and he is a threat from beyond the arc. Stith averaged 14.2 points last season, and he collected 14 points in Tuesday’s victory. Xavier Green is also expected to contribute this season. The sophomore guard had an encouraging freshman season, recording an average of 5.1 points on the year. Old Dominion was voted to finish in third place in the C-USA in the preseason coaches poll. The Monarchs averaged 73.3 points last season, placing them 182nd overall. Old Dominion’s defense is their greatest strength as a team. They limited opponents to 62.8 points last year, good for seventh in the country.
Hawks Ready to Make Noise
The St. Joseph’s Hawks are poised for a big season. They were selected to finish in second place in the 14 team A10 conference in the preseason media poll. The Hawks had two big injuries that put a big damper on their aspirations last season as both Lamarr Kimble and Charlie Brown missed the entire season. Kimble suffered a season-ending injury in the Hawks season opener last year after posting 15.5 points in 2016-2017. The junior guard is in for a big season, and he should lead the Hawks in scoring. Kimble is questionable for this one with his foot injury. The Hawks also return Charlie Brown who did not play last season due to a wrist injury. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the 2016-2017 season.
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St. Joseph’s are dealing with the departure of their top two scorers in Shavar Kewkirk (17.4 PPG) and James Demery (16.9 PPG), although they have enough talent to fill their void. Taylor Funk returns after an outstanding freshman season. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last season. The Hawks will be in contention for a conference title along with Saint Louis and Davidson. St. Joseph’s averaged 74.1 points last season, ranking them 165th overall. They allowed an average of 72.2 points last year, pegging them 170th in the country.
The St. Joseph’s Hawks are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
The Old Dominion Monarchs are:
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 Friday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking the points with Old Dominion in this one. The Monarchs feature a stifling defense that should be able to neutralize the Hawks scoring. They held opponents 40.7% shooting from the field last season, and defense is again their greatest strength. While the Hawks are a solid team, their top two threats in Lamarr Kimble and Charlie Brown both shot below 39% in 2016-2017 before missing last season due to injury.
Prediction: Old Dominion Monarchs
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is a strong play in this one. The Monarchs feature an elite defense that consistently stifled opponents last season and this season will be no different. They held opponents to an average of only 62.8 points last year, and they limited Navy to 25% shooting in their season opener, plus the under is 3-0-1 in their last four games overall.
Furthermore, Old Dominion isn’t a high-scoring team. They only scored 66 points in their season opener, and the Hawks are a decent defensive team, plus the under is 16-5 in the Monarchs’ last 21 Friday games.
Full-Game Prop Bet
I am taking the under on the Hawks team total. Old Dominion slows the pace very effectively and they should contain the Hawks scoring. The Hawks only shot 42% last season, and they will have a tough time making shots with any consistency against a defense that just held Navy to a 25% clip from the field.
Prediction: St. Joseph’s Team Total: Under
Half-Time Total Bet
I am taking the under on the halftime total as well. The Monarchs limited opponents to an average of only 28.9 points in the first half last season, and they held Navy to 20 points in the first half in the season opener. Furthermore, St. Joseph’s also played sharp defense in the first half last year, limiting opponents to 33.7 points.