The Atlantic 10 Tournament tips off today at 5pm as Philadelphia's La Salle Explorers travel to St. Bonaventure, NY to face the Bonnies for the right to head to Atlantic City on Friday. La Salle, who comes into the tourney as a #10 seed, are kind of like the Golden State Warriors of college basketball. They can score, but they can't defend. They're averaging 77 points a game, which actually puts them among the highest scoring teams in the country. However, they allowing 78 a game with opponents scoring more than 80 points on them fifteen times this season.
The Explorers have three players averaging double digit ppg on the year with center and local Philly guy Aaric Murray leading the way with 15.1 points a game. Forward Jerrell Williams is scoring 13.7 a game while guard Ruben Guillandeaux provides 12.3 a game. This is what makes La Salle an interesting team, they score with anyone and if they're on their game they can give anyone a scare, but their defense is so bad that on nights where shots aren't dropping they get blown out.
One such blowout came at the hand of the very St. Bonaventure team they face today. Back in mid February the Bonnies routed La Salle 82-61 in New York. La Salle coach John Giannini said that St. Bonaventure was simply better in every face of the game that night.
"This is the first game I can remember in recent memory where we were just really, clearly outplayed in terms of effort," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "There's no question that St. Bonaventure was the better defensive team, the better rebounding team, the more energetic team, the physically stronger team, and the more aggressive team. I think they were better than us in every area of the game. I think our guys tried, but they were just better."
St. Bonaventure is led by the Atlantic 10's leading scorer Andrew Nicholson. The 6-9 forward is averaging 20 ppg and leads the Bonnies in rebounding(7.2/game), blocks & field goal percentage (.573 also a conference best). Nicholson was named to the Atlantic 10 first team yesterday. He scored 24 in his last meeting with La Salle.