In just its second year of existence, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men’s basketball program has risen to national prominence, cracking the D3Hoops.com Top 25 Poll, which was released Monday evening. The Blue Jays break into the Top 25 in the 22nd spot after receiving 91 poll points in the week 10 national poll. USJ received 55 poll points last week and narrowly missed being nationally ranked by one point. It marks the first time in school history that a USJ program has been nationally ranked.
The Blue Jays, under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun, are 19-2 on the season and currently on an 18-game winning streak. The streak is the fourth longest in Division III behind only Swarthmore, St. John’s, and Yeshiva. Swarthmore and St. John’s have each won 21 straight and are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Top 25, respectively, while Yeshiva has won 20 straight and is ranked just ahead of the Blue Jays at No. 21.
Additionally during the streak, Saint Joseph is 7-0 to start Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play after picking up a pair of convincing wins last week. To start the week, USJ won the battle of the remaining GNAC undefeated, taking down Lasell, 94-57, on the road Tuesday night before handling Saint Joseph’s (Me.), 113-73, at home on Saturday.
In non-conference action, USJ has most notably gone 3-1 this season against New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) opponents, picking up wins over Trinity College, Bates College, and Williams College. Its lone NESCAC loss – and last loss to date – was at Tufts University on November 23. Tufts checked in at No. 18 this week in the Top 25 and has been nationally ranked for the past four weeks.
Entering Monday, the Blue Jays rank in the Top 10 in Division III in seven different statistical categories. They currently lead the nation in scoring margin, defeating opponents on average by 20.8 points per game. USJ also ranks in the Top 10 in defensive rebounds per game (2nd – 32.19), rebounding margin (3rd – 12.3), field-goal percentage (3rd – 51.5%), field-goal percentage defense (7th – 37.8%), rebounds per game (7th – 44.62), and won-lost percentage (7th – 90.5%).
The D3hoops.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly. Points are awarded on a 25-24-23-22-etc. basis.
The USJ men’s basketball team will have its final two-game road trip of the season this week before returning home for the last two regular-season games of 2019-2020 next week. USJ plays at Regis next on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:00 p.m.