TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Seventh-seeded Saint Joseph's may be shorthanded on Friday when its makes its second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years and meets No. 10 seed Auburn in the first round of the East Region.
Hawks guard Delonte West is still recovering from a stress fracture in his lower leg. West, who averages 17.6 points, will likely come off the bench and insists that he will play.
Saint Joseph's (23-6) has won nine out of 12 games and last played in the NCAAs two years ago. The Hawks beat Georgia Tech in the first round before losing a tight contest to Stanford in the second round.
That season was point guard Jameer Nelson's coming-out party. Nelson has turned in a fine junior season as he is averaging 19.3 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Hawks.
The rest of the team for St. Joseph's features a bunch of roles players, led by sharpshooting Pat Carroll. Carroll is the younger brother of Notre Dame's Matt Carroll, is averaging 11.9 points.
Auburn (20-11) was among the questionable selections to the NCAA Tournament field. The Tigers lost six of their last nine games, but apparently were impressive enough in those three wins to receive their first berth in three years.
Leading scorer Marquis Daniels returns to his home state for Auburn. Daniels, an Orlando native averaging 17.9 points per game, should have plenty of supporters in attendance from Central Florida.
The frontcourt features center Kyle Davis, Auburn's all-time leader in blocks with 276. Marco Killingsworth is shooting 57 percent from the floor to lead the Southeastern Conference and is averaging 13.6 points.
Tigers coach Cliff Ellis is 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament in a pair of appearances with Auburn.
Auburn posted a 66-64 victory over Saint Joseph's in the only meeting between the schools on December 18, 1956.
The winner will face Wake Forest or East Tennessee State in Sunday's second round.