Going far in the NCAA Tournament is about doing the unexpected. The No. 13 La Salle Explorers have that with a four-guard set they use and the No. 9 Wichita State Shockers will have their work cut out for them when the two teams meet Thursday in the Sweet Sixteen.
Outside of 6-foot-8 forward Jerrell Wright and 6-foot-6 combo guard Rohan Brown, the Explorers don’t have much height at all in the rotation and no other forwards. In fact, La Salle has no big men committed to the school next season, either. That puts a lot of pressure on the guards, who aren’t shying away from the workload.
Senior Ramon Galloway averages 21.3 points in three NCAA Tournament games, while Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland have per-game averages of 8.6 and 13.6 points, respectively. Those are nice scoring stats, but Galloway and Duren frequently have trouble figuring out who wants to play point guard and get other teammates involved.
Galloway has the experience, but his decision-making is terrible and both guards combine for 5.2 turnovers per-game. That’s not a forgiving statistic. Yet, the Explorers often play at a blistering pace and Galloway & co. actually do a decent job of creating their own shots from three-point range. Furthermore, La Salle can get to the line as well as nearly any team in the country.
Not many teams go that deep with a rotation and players can’t guard the Explorers if they’re sitting on the bench in foul trouble. If La Salle can execute this strategy as well as they have been thus far in the tournament, they may stick around longer than expected.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter:@mgillmeiRantCBB. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-10 men’s basketball.