Line: La Salle -5.5
The Explorers got out to a hot start in Atlantic 10 Conference play, but ended with a 9-7 record in the league. Richmond, on the other hand, began its league play near the bottom of the pack and made slight improvements throughout the season to solidify itself as the No. 10 seed.
It will be an interesting matchup as La Salle is very much a guard-oriented team. Led by Tyreek Duren and South Carolina transfer Ramon Galloway, the Explorers like to shoot it from behind the arc early and often. The Spiders, however, are more traditionally balanced. A-10 Rookie of the Year Kendall Anthony and Darien Brothers man the backcourt and sophomore big man Derrick Williams is a behemoth in the paint.
Questions (and keys) to the Game
- Can Richmond contain the La Salle three-point gunners?
- Will the Explorers be able to defend the Spiders' Princeton offense?
Having seen both of these squads on numerous occasions this year, I believe one of them is trending upwards and the other is headed in the wrong direction. I know, La Salle beat St. Bonaventure at home to close out the regular season, but I really like how Richmond has played as of late. The Spiders reeled of wins in three of their last four, and were within a point with two minutes remaining at Xavier. Their unique approach on both offense and defense tends to confuse opponents. On Feb. 8, Richmond won 78-76 behind a strong performance from Williams (22 points, 11 rebounds). If he is able to get the best of freshman sensation Jerrell Wright, it could be another 'W' for the Spiders.
Prediction: Richmond by 3 over La Salle