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Ole Miss Rebels vs. La Salle Explorers: Q and A with Philahoops

Find my (and Neal McReady's - who I am sure is just delighted to see his opinions side-to-side with mine) answers to Philahoop's questions here.


Who are the most valuable players offensively and defensively for La Salle?

Offensively, the most valuable players are Ramon Galloway and Jerrell Wright, though all five of La Salle's guards can shoot the three with high efficiency. Wright is the lone big man at this point and will finish at the rim if you let him move to the left. His footwork is still shaky at times, but is improving and he is an excellent free throw shooter (9-10 against KState)

Defensively, La Salle will try to get turnovers in the backcourt and just survive in the frontcourt. With Wright being the lone big man (Steve Zack is out due to injury), La Salle is forced to front all big men and help when they can. Wright cannot foul so his defensive intensiveness, which was high at points this year, is contained right now.

What went right for the Explorers against Kansas State? How'd they pull off the upset?

Their big first half is how they did it. In both games, La Salle came out firing and making many of their threes. Against the Wildcats in the first half, the guards got to the rim and also made open shots. When Kansas State adjusted and pushed them out, they struggled.

Wright's free throw shooting and strong play in the second half is what saved them.

How would you describe John Giannini's coaching style and philosophy?

Giannini finally has players that he seems to trust in this group, which has been a problem in his tenure. He loves guards and allows his players to play a loose, free-form style. Offensively, he believes in a dribble penetration and getting the ball to playmakers. Defensively, he is a high intensity guy, but only presses when he feels that he needs to. Dedicated to the man defense, he'll challenge his guys to stop Henderson.

How are Explorers fans reacting to the K State upset? How do they feel about the upcoming game against the Rebs?

It has been a long time coming for this program to see any kind of success. La Salle's last visit to the tournament was about double Ole Miss's layoff, 21 years, and this team is the best one since 1990...perhaps going back further. There is a storied tradition for La Salle basketball that spanned most of the 50s, 60s, 70s and some of the 80s and early 90s, but this team has brought back some of the passion and fire that existed in La Salle fans.

I think the best way to say how they feel is tentatively positive. La Salle fans' hearts have been broken a lot and this season is a success x1000 even if they lost tomorrow, but I think there will be a lot of people watching in Philadelphia tomorrow.

The A-10 had a great year this year, and sent several teams to the tournament. What is it about the conference that makes it great during March?

The thing about the A10 is that there is a variance in teams. In a lot of the big BCS conferences, like the SEC for example, you have a mold of a player. The Big East has the strong guys, the Big 10 has the slower, defensive guys, the SEC has the uber-athletic players. There are all kinds of difference in the Atlantic 10.

La Salle has the shooters and guards, Temple has the stronger big men and superstar. St. Joseph's has the shot blockers. Butler and Saint Louis play more like a mid-west teams that move and shoot quickly.

You see all types of teams in the A10, which I think prepares coaches and players to be accustomed to anything.

Venture a prediction, if you'd like.

I think Ole Miss will struggle with La Salle's quick guards, specifically Tyrone Garland and Ramon Galloway. I think La Salle wins, rather comfortably, and Henderson is kept in check.

La Salle 77, Ole Miss 65