After beating Drexel in a City 6 matchup, La Salle University will look to build momentum as they prepare to face off against the University of Massachusetts. On the other side, UMass has an opportunity to bounce back after an underwhelming loss to Northeastern this past Sunday.
What makes this an anticipated matchup is the fact that this is the first inter-conference game within the Atlantic 10. The Explorers and Minutemen will tip off at 12:00pm today on ESPN+.
After an 0-3 start to the season, La Salle has turned things around and finds themselves on a two game winning streak. The Explorers will look to improve their win streak to three with a win against UMass. In addition, a win would improve La Salle’s record to .500. Coach Ashley Howard will also hope to secure the teams first conference win as he continues to rally the team from a rocky start.
As the season has progressed Coach Howard has continued to play at least nine players into double digit minutes. Coach Howard has utilized his roster depth in order to overwhelm opponents with fresh players on the court. Against Drexel, La Salle’s depth helped them jump to an early lead. The Explorers athleticism helped them on the defensive end as they held Drexel to 3 for 20 from beyond three. In addition, La Salle out rebounded, and out blocked Drexel in the 58 to 48 win.
The strategy of multiple rotations allows Coach Howard to keep his athletic roster well rested. This strategy also allows La Salle to try multiple matchups throughout the game in order to explore and exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.
While La Salle will be looking to expand their win streak, UMass will be trying to bounce back from a loss against Northeastern. The Minutemen, ranked 126th in Kenpom, fell to Northeastern who is ranked 176th in Kenpom. The final score of that game was 78 to 75.
UMass’s Tre Mitchell will also look to have a bounce back game. Mitchell, who scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the season opener against Northeastern, had only 10 points and 8 rebounds in the second matchup against the Huskies.
UMass has utilize Mitchell’s size and skill set in order to beat La Salle. Mitchell will have to face off against La Salle’s Clifton Moore, who stands at an impressive 6’ 10” 240lbs. Fans should expect to see a battle within the paint when these two are on the court.
According to FanDuel, UMass will be entering the game as -2.5 point favorites. This means that La Salle will be home dogs in the infamous Gola Arena. With that said, I think the Explorers will beat UMass. La Salle has the size to help protect the rim. Additionally, The Explorers have played more games which means more time to gel as a unit. I expect La Salle to use this experience to come together and secure their first A10 win.