All apologies to the rest of the Greater Middlesex Conference, but St. Thomas Aquinas has not faced much of a challenge in league play this year. And that’s without Seton Hall-bound senior Jaquan Harris, who’s still recovering from knee surgery due to tendinitis that sidelined him late last season.
Not that out-of-conference opponents are faring much better, but in 13 league games – including just one divisional crossover against St. Joseph-Metuchen – the Trojans (18-0) are outscoring opponents 79-37. Take out the 64-57 win against the Falcons, and they are winning White Division games by an average 80-35, a whopping plus-45.
They’ve beaten their five non-conference opponents – Shawnee, St. Joseph-by-the-Sea (NY), Archbishop Carroll (PA), Plainfield and Morris Catholic 64-42 on average, “only” a plus-22.
Thursday night – in a game to be broadcast live by Central Jersey Sports Radio – top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas will host No. 4 Colonia (13-2), maybe the only team left in the division this regular season that has a shot to beat them.
The Patriots – themselves ranked No. 1 at the time – fell 12 points shy in a highly-anticipated January 11th matchup at Colonia, and that’s the closest any divisional opponent has come to knocking off the Trojans. (St. Joe’s-Metuchen lost to them by seven in December.) Colonia’s only two losses have come to Aquinas, and non-conference opponent Lenape.
Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action, beginning with pregame at approximately 6:45 pm. Tip-off is at 7, and you can click here to listen for free.
Of course, the last time these teams met in Aquinas’ gym was last March in the de facto GMC Championship Game, the top-grouping Karl -Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod final, and that one saw Aquinas lead for much of the first half, only to have Colonia rally in the second half to win, fueled by some big three-point shooting.
Should Aquinas win, it would sweep the season series, and barring a loss elsewhere in the division – highly unlikely – they would be the top-seed in the GMC Tournament, having beaten the first-place team in the next division up, St. Joe’s in the Red.
A loss, and they would have a split with Colonia, which didn’t play St. Joe’s, leading to a potentially interesting debate next Thursday morning when the GMC Tournament is seeded.
Click below to hear St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Bob Turco talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about the Trojans’ season so far, and Thursday’s matchup with Colonia: