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NCAA Basketball Atlantic 10 Basketball

Bubble Watch: Saint Joseph’s Securing At-Large Bid With Conference Tournament Run

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Saint Joseph Hawks were squarely on the bubble before the start of the Atlantic 10 tournament, but after a pair of victories, Saint Joseph’s has secured a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Saint Joseph’s has been very impressive so far in their conference tournament, dispatching Dayton and a St. Bonaventure team that was on a roll. Langston Galloway and Halil Kanacevic have led the way for the Hawks, as Galloway scored 31 against Dayton and Kanacevic had 26 points and 17 rebounds against St. Bonaventure.

The Hawks will have a chance to claim an automatic bid in Sunday’s conference tournament final, but they should be a part of the Big Dance regardless.

Saint Joseph’s have a very respectable resume this season. They rank 39 in the RPI and 56 in the BPI, playing a schedule that ranked 71st in strength of schedule. What makes their schedule even better is the fact that only one of their losses came to a team outside the top 100 in the RPI. The Hawks have three victories over fellow bubble member Dayton, as well as wins over both VCU and Massachusetts, who are both in the top 25 of the RPI.

The season didn’t start out great for the Hawks, as they began 4-4 in their first eight, but followed that stretch by winning nine of their next 10. The Hawks finished tied for third in a tough Atlantic 10, and that bodes well for Saint Joseph’s.

The two victories in the A-10 tournament were key to the Hawks’ tournament hopes, as they had lost their final two regular season games and saw their chances slipping away.

With Galloway providing a big-time scoring threat and Ronald Roberts Jr. and Kanacevic providing a solid inside duo, the Hawks could be a team to watch in the tournament.

Spencer Impellizzeri is a MLB writer for Rant Sports. He also covers college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @Spence_I.