5 Reasons La Salle could make the 2017 NCAA Tournament

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1. Showed Potential Last Season

Last season, the Explorers struggled mightily, posting a 9-22 record, and only eight of those wins came against Division I opponents. La Salle went 4-14 in A-10 play, yet two of those wins came against NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents: Dayton and Saint Bonaventure. If the Explorers can get those kind of wins next season, they should be in a position to possibly contend within the Atlantic 10.

2. High Quality Transfers

La Salle has three incoming transfers from power conference school to really boost their roster, and all of them will have a minimum of two years of eligibility remaining. B.J. Johnson from Syracuse is probably the most recognizable name from the list, who averaged 4.3 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game, and will have 2 years of eligibility. Demetrius Henry averaged 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game at South Carolina, and will have 2 years of eligibility. Pookie Powell is the last transfer, who averaged 4.3 points per game and 2.7 assists per game at Memphis. Powell will likely be the starting point guard of the future for La Salle, as he still has three years of eligibility left. 

3. Chance For Statement Wins

At first glance, it might appear that La Salle drew quite an unfavorable draw, but their A-10 pairing present the opportunity for several quality road wins. The Explorers must face Dayton, Saint Bonaventure, VCU, Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s on the road, only receiving return visits from the latter two. While their schedule is undeniably difficult, should La Salle even win half of those road games, they could easily find themselves in contention come March.

4. Favorable Seeding in A-10 Tournament?

Taking into account their schedule mentioned above, La Salle could easily wind up as the 10-seed in Pittsburgh for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which could give the Explorers a favorable route to the A-10 Championship. The 10-seed would have to play the 7 and 2-seeds to get to the finals, yes, but it would save the Explorers from having to face the 1-seed until the Finals, and prevents them from having to play in the opening round as an 11-seed or lower.

5. Anything Can Happen

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, anything can happen in college basketball. That’s why we love it so much. Who saw Saint Bonaventure’s run last year coming? Or George Washington’s run to the NIT Championship? By its nature, college basketball is chaos, and its wonderful. Who says La Salle can’t come out of nowhere and make something special happen this coming season?

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About Author

Daniel Frank is a member of the George Mason Class of 2022. He graduated high school from the Academy For Individual Excellence in Louisville, KY. He has written for several blogs, and has been published in The Washington Post. Daniel has been following GW basketball since he was 2 months old, but has started following his Mason since being accepted in 2016.

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