On December 17, the Hawks of St. Joe's will take on the Wildcats of Villanova on Hawk Hill. For the first time since the Big Five was created in 1955, the Holy War will be played on the campus of St. Joe's.
According to St. Joe's athletic director Don DiJulia, "This is the Army-Navy of basketball." That should give you an idea of how heated this rivalry is, especially among Philadelphia natives.
Villanova has dominated the series as of late, but click ahead to see why this will be the year the Hawks can finally beat their Big Five foe.
The junior guard is averaging 19.9 points per game including a season high of 38 against Seton Hall. In addition, he is also shooting 52 percent from behind the arc. Villanova's highest scorer, Maalik Wayns, is averaging just under Jones with 18.7 points per game.
Jones, who some scouts are starting to compare to NBA star and SJU alumni Jameer Nelson, has the play making ability the Hawks have been yearning for. His vision is second to none and his shooting skills continue to improve each game.
If Jones can play smart and within his game, the Wildcats could have a tough time defending him.
To date, Nova's record is 6-2. While that doesn't seem too bad, their losses came against St. Louis and Santa Clara, both which are not strong programs this year.
While Nova lost a lot of players from last year's team, they are still very young and have many players with raw talent. Give Jay Wright a year or two with players like Achraf Yacoubou, JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard and this team will back as a national contender.
The Wildcats are not ranked as a team. They are ranked 131st in field goal percentage while the Hawks are ranked 55th.
Also, SJU is third in the nation as a team in blocked shots and has the leading shot blocker in the nation on their squad (keep reading to see more on this).
In years past, Nova has had the more talented team, but in 2011 the Hawks seem to be too much for the Wildcats.
St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli has taken a lot of heat in the past couple years due to the Hawks poor performance. Many SJU nonbelievers think Martelli should have been ousted at the end of last year's season.
Therefore Phil is in a must win season. Many are predicting for the Hawks to win the Atlantic 10 and win this year's Holy War.
Martelli has never been content with just being an average team. Ever since the Jameer Nelson and Delonte West days, many say all his teams have been just average.
If there is a year for SJU to prove they are back to being a national contender, beating Nova on Dec. 17 would be a step in the right direction.
C.J. Aiken has been lights out this year. The Plymouth-Whitemarsh grad leads the nation in blocks per game. Let me re-state what I just said in case you were not paying attention, C.J. Aiken is leading the entire country in blocked shots.
Also, he is averaging 12 points and is shooting 40 percent from three-point land, which is pretty good for a big man.
His very presence has been dominant in itself. He creates a nightmare for his opponents and knows how to take over a game.
If Aiken can be the freak of nature he has been all season, I don't see how Villanova can stop this lean mean fighting machine.
For the first time in Holy War history, the game will be played on St. Joe's campus in Hagan Arena. Usually the game is either played at The Pavilion on Villanova's campus or at the cathedral of college basketball, The Palestra.
Phil Martelli said it was important for the game to be played on SJU's campus, and this will most certainly be the biggest reason why the Hawks will beat Nova this year.
Hagan Arena is a small venue, but that doesn't mean it won't be rowdy in there. If anything, the small venue will make it even louder. The SJU student section will be in prime form as they know their Hawks have a legitimate shot at beating their Big Five rival.
Tickets are already going for astronomical prices on various websites so you can be sure there won't be an empty seat to be had.
Mark my words, come Dec. 17, Hagan Arena will be the loudest it has ever been as the clash of titans takes place, and as the Hawks triumph to victory over Wildcats in the Holy War.