Saint Joseph's is finished trying to impress its critics.
The Hawks think they've done enough -- a 29-1 record, a top seed in the NCAA tournament and two decisive wins on their way to the round of 16.
So don't expect them to put any extra emphasis on the fact that vocal critic, and Wake Forest graduate, Billy Packer will be broadcasting their game against the Demon Deacons.
"People are going to say what they're going to say," All-America guard Jameer Nelson said Wednesday. "They've been saying things about us all year. We don't take it as motivation. We just play through it. I think we do a great job of blocking things out."
Any questions about the Hawks' strength of schedule could be answered in East Rutherford, the only regional where the top four seeds advanced. Second-seeded Oklahoma State (29-3) plays No. 3 seed Pittsburgh (31-4) in the first game Thursday night, before Saint Joe's plays fourth-seeded Wake Forest (21-9).
"We kind of just fit in," Martelli said. "We're not as fast as Wake. We're pretty good defensively. We're not as good defensively as Pitt and Oklahoma State. I think people have a tough time really touching and feeling us."
Despite the talent of the teams, the presence of Packer was hard to ignore. When the tournament field was announced, Packer went on national television and quickly rattled off several teams that he felt were more deserving of a No. 1 seed than the Hawks.
Martelli shot back, calling the announcer a "jackass."
On Wednesday, the coach jokingly feigned ignorance when asked about Packer broadcasting his team's game.
"Is that right? I didn't even know that," Martelli said. "I'm a really big pizza fan, so I figured he might bring us a couple Papa John's and we could sit around the hotel and discuss things."
Packer, who appears in commercials for Papa John's pizza, finds the hoopla surrounding he and Saint Joseph's both comical and aggravating.
"There are a lot of people that had the same opinion I did, so I don't feel like I'm out on an island," said Packer, who still believes the Hawks deserved a No. 2 seed. "This game and this tournament has nothing to do with Billy Packer. I did not interject myself into this tournament and never have. I prepare to do the games and say what I see."
There was a friendly moment Wednesday. Martelli walked across the court at a certain point to shake hands with Packer and chat briefly.
"I think it was just Martelli's master plot to get more media attention," Hawks guard Tyrone Barley said of the feud. "Little schools don't get enough credit. The bigger schools, they're going to get the media attention and everything."
It will be the third meeting between the two teams in the tournament, and the first since 1962, when Packer was a star guard for the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest, in the round of 16 for the first time since 1996, has no scholarship seniors on its roster and is led by freshman guard Chris Paul.
"I think the easy thing would have been to think, next year is our year. We'll be good down the road," coach Skip Prosser said. "We've been good at times and less so at other times. Fortunately, we've played well here in the tournament."
The game between Pitt and Oklahoma State will feature a stingy defense and a potent offense. The Cowboys lead the nation in shooting percentage (51.7 percent), while Pittsburgh has the third-rated defense (56.5 points).
"We don't have really any weaknesses on defense, I think that's why we're real good" Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said.
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but