The LaSalle Explorers are in prime position in the Atlantic-10 to do something its program has never done since it became a member of the A-10. Win the regular season crown.
As of now, LaSalle sits 5-3 in A-10 play (15-6 overall) only one game back of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams. The problem is one game back puts them in a tie for 5th place with the Xavier Musketeers because three teams (Bulter Bulldogs, Charlotte 49ers and St. Louis Billikens) are tied for 2nd place.
The good news for the Explorers is that they have had the best week the A-10 will see this year beating then ranked No. 19 VCU and No. 9 Butler in consecutive games. Unfortunately, LaSalle backed those wins up with a disappointing home loss to the Massachusetts Minutemen, 61-60, on Jan. 30. However, the Explorers earned a 80-71 win on the road against the hot George Washington Colonials.
George Washington was on a three-game winning streak before LaSalle knocked them off beating the Rhode Island Rams, Minutemen and spanking the 49ers. Looking at LaSalle’s schedule five of their eight games remaining are against the bottom half of the conference. LaSalle has proven with their road win against VCU that they can go on the road and win anywhere.
Fortunately for LaSalle they only play one team currently ranked higher than them in the league, St. Louis. If they can handle their business and win the next seven out of eight games they will be right in the mix for the A-10 title because of the head-to-head wins they currently have and because Bulter and VCU will play each other later this season.
However, winning seven out of 8 eight games is no small task because the only thing that anybody knows is that the Atlantic-10 is one of the most competitive leagues in the country. In addition, LaSalle’s games come against their Big 5 city rivals, the Temple Owls and St. Joseph’s Hawks, in which records go out the window. In the A-10 this season anybody can beat anyone on a given night. Well, maybe except the Duquesne Dukes.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo