Nobody Wants to Play the LaSalle Explorers

Ramon Galloway LaSalle Explorers

Howard Smith-US Presswire

The LaSalle Explorers are the best team in the nation that nobody has heard of.

Yes, they beat the Butler Bulldogs and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in consecutive games in late January, however, they have fallen off the national radar since then for the most part.

Those wins were sandwiched around loses to the Xavier Musketeers and the Massachusetts Minutemen, so they were seen as a fluke more than LaSalle being much improved.

However, the explorers are back to their winning ways having beat their cross-town rivals, the St. Joseph’s Hawks in the their last meeting.

With another Big 5 foe on-deck in the Temple Owls, here are some reasons why nobody wants to play the Explorers.

First, LaSalle has basically been down since the days of Lionel Simmons, one the best college players of all-time, when Simmons took the program to its last NCAA Tournament in the early 90′s. Therefore, LaSalle is still viewed as a novelty at this point and have been overlooked somewhat.

Second, the Explorers cause turnovers. LaSalle is 65th in the country in causing turnovers, at 15.3 per game. The Explorers generally capitalize on these steals, which lead to open layups or dunks by their quick guards.

Third, the Explorers have been connecting from long range. In their last four games, the Explorers have shot 48.4% of their deep shots (48-99).

Lastly, they have four players averaging double figures: Ramon Galloway (17.3 ppg), Tyreek Duren (14.5 ppg), Tyrone Garland (12.0 ppg) and Jerrell Wright (10.0 ppg). They also have four players who can shoot 3-pointers in Galloway, Duren, Sam Mills and D.J.Peterson, which stretches the defense.

The addition of Garland (who started playing after their seventh game of the season) has been a huge bonus for LaSalle and Garland coupled with the backcourt of Galloway and Duren, are one of the most underrated backcourts in the country.

If the post season is all about guards, then the Explorers will be a team to watch out for to make some noise in the A-10 Tournament and beyond.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

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