Despite coming off an 11-20 season, Saint Joseph's was picked to finish third in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll released this week.
It's the highest the Hawks have been picked to finish since 2012-13 when they were the preseason favorite.
St. Joe's went just 4-14 in the conference last season after winning the A-10 with a 13-5 conference record the previous year. The Hawks have won the A-10 twice in the last four seasons.
Phil Martelli enters his 23rd season as head coach, and he has all five starters coming back. The Hawks lost some key players last season. Shavar Newkirk was averaging 20.3 points per game until he tore his ACL in the conference opener. Lamarr Kimble was averaging 15.5 points and leading the team in assists when he fractured his foot in February.
Newkirk was named to the preseason All-Conference Second Team; Kimble and Charlie Brown Jr. were third-teamers.
St. Joe's begins its season on Nov. 11 at Toledo, with the Hawks' home opener coming the following Saturday, Nov. 18 against Princeton (see schedule).
Ian Boyd picked up a loose ball at the top of the key and drilled a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to give George Mason a 79-76 win over Saint Joseph's in an Atlantic 10 battle on Wednesday night.
The win pulls George Mason into a tie with Saint Joseph's, Dayton and Richmond for sixth place in the conference standings with three games left to play.
Taylor Funk hit three straight free throws to get Saint Joe's within a point, 75-74 with 15 seconds left and Shavar Newkirk tied it with :06 left with two free throws to make it 76-76.
Justin Kier scored 19 points to lead the Patriots (13-15, 7-8). Goanar Mar added 16 points, Otis Livingston II 13 and Boyd 12.
Newkirk scored 23 points to lead the Hawks (12-15, 7-8), with Chris Clover adding 21. Nick Robinson scored 13 points and Funk grabbed 13 rebounds.
Shavar Newkirk had 26 points and a career-high ten assists and Saint Joseph's rolled in an 82-75 victory over Duquesne on Saturday night for its third-straight win.
Newkirk was 7 of 15 from the field, made 10 of 11 free throws and collected his third double-double. Nick Robinson had season highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Saint Joseph's (12-14, 7-7 Atlantic 10 Conference).
Rene Castro-Caneddy scored 21 points to lead Duquesne (15-12, 6-8), which has lost six of its last seven. Eric Williams Jr. added 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Robinson's 3-pointer gave the Hawks a double-digit lead with 11:44 remaining in the first half, but Duquesne closed the half on a 10-4 surge to pull to 36-31. The Dukes stayed within single digits before Saint Joseph's pulled away with a 12-3 surge and had a 13-point lead with 2:45 left.