La Salle is a cautionary tale for a program like Dayton’s. Two years ago the Explorers were the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Sweet Sixteen on Tyrone Garland’s infamous (kinda, sorta) “Southwest Philly Floater” that beat Ole Miss in the second round. That team won a total of 24 games, eventually bowing out to an ascendant Wichita State in the regional semifinal.
Most of the pieces from that squad came back last year, Dr. John’s tenth at the school, and the Explorers were poised to be a major factor in the Atlantic Ten race. An NCAA appearance seemed like a mere formality. La Salle was sluggish during their out-of-conference matchups, and that unevenness carried over to conference play — where the Explorers finished a distant eight in the league, 7-9 when it was all said and done.
Last season was, to put in kindly, a complete clusterfuck for La Salle. All the momentum and exposure they gained from that NCAA run was erased just as quickly as it was established. The window cracked open, however slightly, for the Explorers and it shut on them a year later.
The lingering lesson from UD’s miraculous Elite Eight run was the idea that the Flyers would have to rip off consecutive NCAA appearances in order to take the next step as a program. Being one game away from the Final Four was phenomenal, no doubt, and we may never live to see UD get that far again, but a program isn’t built on one stretch in March.
Our Overlords to the South have shown the rest of the nation’s mid-major programs the blueprint. First and foremost, take care of business in your league, nothing is more vital to long-term success than this. You succeed in your league, you make repeat trips to the Tournament, your recruiting picks up, and next thing you know you are a perennial Top 25 team. It isn’t a secret. It also isn’t easy.
The Flyers came into this season with an opportunity to make consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time since the 2003-04 season. With a little over half the season behind us, UD seems poised to take that next step. So, don’t be a La Salle, be a Xavier. I think that’s what I’m trying to say here.
Lastly, look how heavy ol’ girl’s titty meats are.[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]
The Explorers return two starters from last year’s squad, gone are Tyreek Duren, Sam Mills and the aforementioned Garland. La Salle’s schedule had plenty of opportunity for a statement win — Dr. John faced off against Villanova, Virginia, and Temple — but didn’t registered a single noteworthy victory before conference play began. They come into the Arena with a 9-7 record, 1-2 in league competition. Silver lining, the Explorers are coming off an impressive thirteen point win against George Washington over the weekend.
La Salle is relying heavily on their returning frontcourt players and two transfers. The Explorers will throw a lot of four-guard looks at its opposition, a strategy Dr. J has employed over the past few years. Like seemingly all A10 teams not named Dayton, La Salle is a rather mundane offensive team, averaging around sixty-five points per game. There is nothing that sticks out about this team, which is pretty much the nicest thing you can say about most A10 clubs right now.
Looked absolutely in over his head during his freshman year, turned out to be a very solid player.[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
This Baron Davis looking motherfucker…transferred from Auburn.[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
Transfer from Delaware, was banged up all of last season.[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
Transfer from Georgia Southern, long and lean — just how you like ’em.[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=”col-3″]
I think he is mocking Ole Miss/Marshall Henderson here? It’s always the guys that don’t play that are the loudest for some reason.[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
Big body, likes to bang down low (but don’t we all?)[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
Very promising point-guard for Dr. John.[/column] [column size=”col-3″]
The team’s “defensive stopper.”[/column] [/row] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]
[fullwidth_section text_color=”dark” background_type=”color” bg_color=”#C4D8E2″] [spacer height=”10″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]
I can’t foresee a scenario that would have me pick against UD at home the rest of the way. I’m hoping Detwon Rogers breaks a sweat, UD rolls 77-68.[/fullwidth_section]