Recon: La Salle University (The Measuring Stick)

Recon: La Salle University (The Measuring Stick)

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Quick Quiz For the Flyer Faithful:

Which one of these teams is not like the others:

  1. Duquesne
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Dayton
  4. Saint Bonaventure

If you are thinking outside the box and guessed “E: None of the Above” then you win a prize. And that prize is an all-expense paid trip to the basement of the Atlantic 10 standings. Now certainly not all losses are equal. Dayton’s first loss popped VCU’s cherry and gave Shaka Smart his first ever win in Atlantic 10 play. And Dayton’s second loss (third out of four if you count a shitty USC program that fired its coach this week!) came at the hands of St. Bradley of Stevens and his America’s Sweethearts.

So, what do the above schools have in common? They are the chaff. Fordham, Xavier and George Washington? Wheat. Dayton is the chaff on the floor of the A-10. (But keep your fingers crossed, guys. You may one day be the chaff on the floor of the C12!)

We here at the Blackburn Review are always looking at the positive side. This horrific start also separated our fair weather fans from our loyal follower. Our WordPress platform allows us to investigate the number of page views, links, and referrals. Not to brag, but we are solidly in the teens right now. We can also study the demographics of who is now viewing the BR, and here’s what we have:

  1. DSC_9912-1-copyDayton alumnae: These successful graduates are spread out across this great country building successful careers all the way from Pickaway County in the east to Darke County in the west. This is the heart of the Flyer Faithful, and from looking at pictures of the Arena, I suppose that this heart requires a quadruple bypass. They read the BBR because it’s the best way to get those wavy scowl lines etched in their foreheads.
  2. Dayton students: If the alumnae are the heart, then the students are the lifeblood of the program. The recent pseudo-nationally televised loss against Butler shows the student body to be generally obese, pasty, and constricted by red T-shirts that may have fit before adding the freshman 50 at Marycrest cafeteria. (Help me out here – I know nothing about Dayton). What better way to spend an afternoon in class than tuning out your Developmental Psychology prof and reading the BR on your I-Phone while your parents slave away working overtime to pay off the second mortgage your mediocre education costs. Through my five-year association with my friends at Dayton, I can tell you that your diploma signifies that you can play Beer-Pong, have cheered a burning couch in your “ghetto,” and likely got and gave a handjob in the bathroom of Tim’s.
  3. Dayton locals: Okay, the heart and blood are taken. That would leave the locals as the impacted bowels of the program. Occasionally I’ll catch a sight of a couple of hayseeds from crowd shots. Sometimes they get a friend to box them up and ship them via UPS to holiday tournaments, or catch a train hobo-style to get a glimpse of their team in their annual pilgrimage to the NIT. I never saw it, but I hear that one still had a tooth. There are only two reasons more locals don’t read the BBR. First, it takes too long to download on CompuServe’s dial-up platform. Second, it does require reading.
  4. Hipsters: These come in two varieties, regular hipsters and ironic hipsters. Regular hipsters think that it’s cool to be trendy and follow the crowd on whatever had the biggest twitter bump for the day. Could be anything from soul patches to fedoras to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. There is certainly a hipster appeal to the Dayton basketball and to the BR. It’s not the easy love affair that successful programs like Kentucky, North Carolina, and Xavier have. This is the love of an ugly mutt. As far as publications, it is easier to think in pornography terms (isn’t it always?) The BR is not Playboy or Penthouse. It’s not even Hustler, it is Swank. All grainy with flapping labia that look like they suffer from freezer burn. A hipster’s dream. An Ironic Hipster is another matter. They like things because they know they suck. As in “It’s so bad that it’s good.” Thus the Ironic Hipster’s fascination with Betty White, Kid Rock, and anything on this site written by Donoher. Are the Ironic Hipsters better than the garden variety hipster? They would tell you so, but only because they know that they suck and thus force themselves to believe that they are superior. Which makes them suck (and not in the ironic way).
  5. 4f7e1cb95f6d9f17a491274ed612badfSerial Frotteurists: They’re saving a seat on the bench for ya, Matt.
  6. Reputable sports bloggers: They keep it on the down-low, but the BR is a popular hang for the mainstream media. Seth Davis wakes up in a cold sweat wishing that he could pepper his SI columns with phrases such as “flapping labia that look like they suffer from freezer burn.”  Dana O’Neil would love to turn a phrase such as “slippery as a soapy black dick in the shower.” So would Eamonn Brennan (wink). Unfortunately, Jay Bilas is too much of a douche to realize that he’s too much of a douche to log in, so he’ll just go on being a douche.
  7. Fans of other programs: For the most part, this consists of the current weeks opponents. This week, it’s every jerkoff who couldn’t get into Villanova, St. Joe’s, UPenn, Temple, or Drexel and had to settle for La Salle.  There are some common hits, but mostly the dregs of fans from the other A-10 schools who have nothing better to do with their lives than to live in their pasts. This is true for all conference mates except for Duquesne, whose exceptional alums are charming, handsome, and far too busy making a difference in this world to read such a freshmoric rag.

drjohn

Overview 

Mr. Coach Dr. John Giannini is the anti-Brad Stevens. Yes, he’ll still tug at your heartstrings with his impish face and befuddled grimace, but all the while he’ll be caught in a maelstrom of suck. This does not mean that La Salle will lose (they are playing Dayton, after all), but his team will careen out of control for long stretches of the evening. Every La Salle team in the past seven years has been characterized by the phrase “The whole is less than the sum of its parts.” And, despite Dr. G’s gracious – and equally befuddled – interview with the BR a few years ago, the coach has to be considered as a part of that equation. This is not to say that Dr. G is not a nice guy. He is. A very nice guy. I’m sure he’s not running from the searing image of a dismembered hooker lying in a shallow, sandy grave in Yuma, Arizona. Not Dr. G. No way.

La Salle enters its third straight conference season riding tempered expectations after conference play. Two years ago, Aaric Murray was going to vault them to the top of the conference. After a year of selfish play he quit on the team and ended up at West Virginia with other wildly talented players who didn’t meet overblown expectations. Last year, La Salle was supposed to challenge for a Big Boy Bid, but shat every resume builder down the stretch and ended up in Dayton’s regular tournament. This year, La Salle brought almost everyone back (losing Earl Pettis), plus they have added transfer Tyrone Garland from Virginia Tech (word is Tyrone, two other basketball players, and the entire lacrosse team transferred from V-Tech when Seth Greenburg and his smoking hot daughters were fired). Where has that led them? To a 10-3 OOC record with its best win against Villanova (RPI 62) and its worst loss at home against the Fightin’ Nutmeggers from Central Connecticut State (RPI 202). To be fair, that loss was without Garland and with refs who conspired against La Salle in advance.

It’s like they have a talented squad, tickle the fan base’s balls with a good win, and then flops against a lesser opponent to set up the annual fall to a mediocre conference record. (Sound familiar?)

Have I ever mentioned that I went to a high school run by the Christian Brothers? I hate those nasty fuckers.

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Meet and Greet

I should just cut and paste my recon from last year and add a glowing statement or two about Garland. But that would be like running on autopilot, right Dr. G? I won’t spend any time addressing their defense, because they don’t either.

La Salle is run by its three guard offense, with any of the three capable of being the leading scoring. Tyreek Duren takes lead point guard duties. He is what Billy Staten’s kid was supposed to be. At 6 foot even he is a quick and solid ball handler who can penetrate against a lackadaisical defense. If Duren were white, he’d be described as “pesky” or “crafty.” Since he is not, he will most often be referred to as a “streetballer,” a “diabetic,” or as “Number 3, please turn to your left.” He is hitting a solid 33% from behind the arc, scores 15 ppg, and averages 3.5 assists.

He would be offensive threat number one if it weren’t for Ramon Galloway. This guy shoots. Galloway hits 43% from 3-land and average 17 ppg. Throw in 5 rebounds and 3.3 assists, and you have a second solid combo guard. I’m hoping that Ramon is sporting his beard again, because when he does he looks like a 38 year-old man compressed into the body of a 22 year-old. (And the last time I saw a 38 year-old man compressed into the body of a 22 year-old was when Ryan Seacrest “interviewed” Zac Efron.)

stevezackAnd if two combo guards are good, then four must be better, right. Throw in Tyrone Garland at 6’1” (14 ppg) and Sam Mills at 6’2” (7.4 ppg) and it’s a wonder that there’s any points left for the guys up front.

But there are. Jerrell Wright is a 6’8” sophomore forward who had a promising freshman campaign. He splits time in the middle with Steve Zack, who is Blackburn’s favorite player on the team. Both average about 6 and a half rebounds per game with Wright getting more playing time and scoring progressively more.

If that meet and greet sounds like a collection of individuals, then I have done my job. In crunch time, this team continues to play like a bunch of individuals, except for when they are on defense, which is when they don’t play like anything at all. I could look up tempo and defensive field goals percentage and crap like that, but it’s getting late and I have real work to do that doesn’t rely on dick jokes.

Numbers

“Numbers are a beautiful thing until you look at the cost for a college education.”

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Prediction

This game is being played at La Salle, which is a putrid cesspool. This may relieve any feelings of homesickness and buoy the Flyers. The Explorers have the manpower to stop the perimeter and the inside games if they want to, which they generally don’t. This should be a big game for Devin Oliver (and thus a big night for Adam and a few squirts of Jergen’s) as he plays the baseline and picks up garbage in the paint. It’s another bad night for Josh Benson though, and by the end of the night the Flyers will be looking up in the standings at Duquesne, Rhode Island, and St. Bonaventure.

DDLAS

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