Philly Sports Live

LaSalle Explorers vs. Wichita St Shockers (Preview) – 10:17 pm TBS

LaSalle Explorers vs. Wichita St Shockers (Preview) – 10:17 pm TBS

LaSalle looks to keep the streaking winning ways up when they face Wichita St on Thursday night. LaSalle, following in the footsteps of their Atlantic 10 brethren VCU who made a Final Four Run in 2011 after starting in “First Four”, have ripped off 3 “upset” wins.  LaSalle is coming off the shot heard round the basketball world to upset SEC Tournament Champion, Ole Miss. The “South Philly Floater” as it has been tagged by its maestro, Tyrone Garland, has pushed the Explorers into the Sweet 16 for the first time in a very long time. In fact the last time the Explorers advanced this far in the NCAA Tournament, the tournament itself didn’t even have a round of 16. Not many experts, even the local ones, could have predicted a run like this. In fact, LaSalle was according to most experts the final team in the field of 68 after a crushing defeat to Butler in the A-10 Conference Tournament.

How they got here:

LaSalle – Defeated Boise St (80-71), Kansas St (63-61), and Mississippi (76-74)

Wichita St – Defeated Pittsburgh (73-55) and Gonzaga (76-70)

 

Key Players to Watch:

LaSalle – SR. G Ramon Galloway – 17.4 ppg

Wichita St. – Soph. F  Cleanthony Early – 13.9 ppg

 

Interesting Stat line to watch for:

LaSalle – 5 players have at least 30 steals, led by Galloway (63) and Tyreek Duren (56)

Wichita St. – Shockers made 14 3-pointers in the upset of #1 seed Gonzaga. (Tied for most in school history)

 

Prediction:

LaSalle vs. Wichita St is interesting matchup of contrasting styles. The Explorers led by their four-guard attack like to play on the wings and dribble drive. The Shockers play a style typical of the Missouri Valley Conference. Both teams have had regular season success lately but not so much in the NCAA tournament. Shockers last made a regional final in 1981. LaSalle hasn’t been this far since they played in back-to-back title games in ’54-’55 (Won the Title in ’54).  The Explorers will look to exploit the speed advantage and get out and run. I have a feeling this will be an exciting late night contest and will come down to the final minutes. The line opened at Wichita St -5 and total set at 135.5. It has been bet down by the LaSalle backers and seems to have leveled off at -4. I believe the Shockers will hang for a majority of the game but in the end, the run for the Explorers will continue to the Elite 8 on Saturday with a trip to the Final Four on the line.  I’m going with LaSalle and the Over.

Final Score Prediction – LaSalle (+4) 71-66

 Guest Post: Mike Duffy