It was a great run while it lasted, but the La Salle Explorers have now been eliminated from the 2013 NCAA Tournament. After making it from the First Four to the Sweet 16, the Explorers finally met their match in the Wichita State Shockers last evening. The #9-seed Shockers used their size and strength to top #13-seed La Salle 72-58. The loss drops the final Atlantic 10 from the field, as teams from Rhody’s conference finished up with a 7-5 record in the Dance.
In the past week, a lot of folks have been saying that the best way to beat the Explorers is to get the ball inside. If you were one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Wichita State dominated the middle, leading to a 47-29 edge on the glass, a 40-26 advantage in points in the paint, and eight blocked shots. The Shockers forced La Salle into perimeter shots for the most part, and cold shooting nights for Ramon Galloway (4-15) and Tyrone Garland (5-15) could not have come at a worse time.
Now that it’s all said and done, it was a very good year to be a fan of the Atlantic 10. Sure Temple, Xavier, Butler, and Charlotte are all leaving, but VCU, La Salle, and St. Louis will still be in tow, and it should make for another exciting season for the conference. The other downside to last night is that we also learned that the Big East will be guaranteed at least one team in the Final Four. Gross.