The Black Women in Sport Foundation’s 2012 Next Step Women of Color Mini-Forum, hosted at Temple University by the Department of Athletics and the College of Education and supported in part by the NCAA, will be held on April 18 at Ritter Hall, Room 211, located at 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The mini-forum is a professional development and preparation program to increase the portion of women of color collegiate head coaches and athletic administrators at 4-year NCAA institutions. The mini-forum is an interactive and networking opportunity to discuss and explore strategies to recruit, inspire, educate and retain women of color in the intercollegiate coaching and athletic administration positions with practicing professionals.
The moderator will be Nikki Franke, Temple’s head fencing coach. The panelists will be Marilyn Stephens, Cheyney University, head women’s basketball coach; Margaret Ottley, West Chester University, associate professor of sport psychology; Amanda Janney, Temple head women’s field hockey coach; Lynsey Grace, Community College of Philadelphia athletic coordinator and Kari-Lei Maddox, Delaware State University assistant lacrosse coach.
Philadelphia 2012 Unsigned Senior Basketball Shootout
There will be an opportunity for all high school senior basketball players who haven’t signed a letter of intent to showcase their talent at the Philadelphia 2012 Unsigned Senior Basketball Shootout. The games will be played at Imhotep Charter, 21st and Godfrey Avenue, on Sunday, April 15. The games will take place at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. For more information on this event, go to runhouse.net.
Phoenix Club announces college players of the year
The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia will recognize the college player of the year, presented to Philadelphia area basketball players (male and female) who have excelled in college during the year. The male award will be given in the name of Wali Jones and the female award will be given in the name of Marilyn Stephens. Both players are products of the Public League. Jones was a great player at Overbrook High and Villanova. Stephens was a star at Simon Gratz and Temple.
This year’s winners are Ramone Moore, Temple, and Gloria Brown (University of Texas – El Paso). The Phoenix Award presentation will be held in June at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Big 5 awards
The Philadelphia Big 5 head coaches and media have announced their college basketball awards.
Player of the Year – Zack Rosen, Penn
Most Improved Player – Earl Pettis, La Salle
Rookie of the Year – Jerrell Wright, La Salle
Coach of the Year – Fran Dunphy, Temple
Scholar-Athlete – Zack Rosen, Penn
Team of the Year – Temple
Best Free Throw Percentage – Maalik Wayns, Villanova
Leading Scorer – Zack Rosen, Penn
First team: Zack Rosen, Penn; Ramone Moore, Temple; Maalik Wayns, Villanova; Khalif Wyatt, Temple; Langston Galloway, Saint Joseph’s.
Second team: Tyreek Duren, La Salle; Earl Pettis, La Salle; Carl Jones, Saint Joseph’s; Ramone Galloway, La Salle; C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph’s, Juan Fernandez, Temple.
Shey Peddy Big 5 women’s basketball player of the year
For a second consecutive year, Temple basketball standout Shey Peddy has earned Big 5 Player of the Year honors. Peddy will receive this honor at the annual Big 5 Women’s Basketball banquet on April 25 at Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill.
Tauheed N. Browning, 9, of West Philadelphia, who has been playing tennis at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education (formerly known as Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education) since he was 5 ½ years old, won two championships, singles and doubles, in the 10-and-under competition at the American Tennis Association (ATA) National Tournament this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
In singles, Browning defeated No. 2 seed Mikeal Carpenter, of Suitland, Md., 6-4, 6-1. Browning teamed with Donovan Spigner, of New York, N.Y., to win the 10-and-under doubles title.
Browning is a member of the Future Stars Program at Legacy and is coached by his father, Tauheed R. Browning, a Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Tennis professional who also participated in the program. Tauheed’s sister, Nadiyah, 14, of Wynnefield, is also a student-athlete at Legacy and plays in the Maximum Performance Program.
Basketball referee school announcement
Classes to become a Philadelphia basketball referee will begin on Sept. 5. The school is sponsored by the PIAA Central Philadelphia Basketball Officials chapter and is intended for new officials and anyone interested in successfully taking the Oct. 1 PIAA basketball official certification exam. For more information, go to www.phillyref.com, or call (609) 933-4338.
Sixers to host ‘Boardwalk Classic’ preseason game in Atlantic City
The Philadelphia 76ers will face the Brooklyn Nets in a historic “Boardwalk Classic” contest at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Oct. 13. This game will give the local fans a chance to see all-star center Andrew Bynum in a preseason matchup.
Raphael Chillious named assistant basketball coach at Villanova
Raphael Chillious, University of Washington assistant coach, has joined the Villanova Wildcats’ basketball staff in a similar capacity. The move brings Chillious back to the northeast after a successful three-year stint working alongside head coach Lorenzo Romar in Seattle. There he was part of a staff that guided the Huskies to consecutive Pac-10 Conference tournament championships and an appearance in the 2010 NCAA tournament Sweet 16.
La Salle announces 2012–13 non-conference men’s basketball schedule
La Salle had an impressive 21-win season and a NIT appearance last season. The Explorers will begin their 2012–13 season by hosting Delaware on Nov. 10 as a part of the school’s homecoming celebration. After the game with the Blue Hens, La Salle will complete its series with Central Connecticut State on Nov. 18 at Tom Gola Arena before heading to Hartford on Nov. 20.
Big 5 rival Villanova travels to Tom Gola Arena on Nov. 25 before the Explorers make a short trip to Rider on Nov. 29.
On Dec. 5 La Salle will play Penn State at the Palestra. Then, the Explorers have road trips to Northeastern (Dec. 8) and Bucknell, which won 25 games and advanced to the NIT second round on Dec. 15. The month will conclude by hosting NCAA qualifier Iona (Dec. 20) and Sacred Heart (Dec. 22) before traveling to Siena on Dec. 29.
In the new year, La Salle will visit NIT qualifier Miami, which won 21 games last season, on Jan. 2 before hosting Big 5 rival Penn (20-13, CBI) on Jan. 5 at Gola Arena.
In the Atlantic 10, the Explorers will play a home and home series with George Washington and will host Butler, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, Massachusetts, Richmond and Saint Joseph’s. Road A-10 games include Charlotte, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU and Xavier.
La Salle returns four of five starters from last year’s 21-13 team including second-team All-Atlantic 10 selection Ramon Galloway, NABC All-District pick Tyreek Duren, Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection Jerrell Wright and double figure scorer Sam Mills.
The Explorers will add Virginia Tech transfer and former Bartram High star Tyrone Garland, redshirt Rohan Brown and fall signee Jermaine Davis.
The Atlantic 10 championship will begin on March 14 at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It’s been a big year for La Salle basketball. Jerrell Wright, a former Dobbins basketball star, has been a solid contributor to the Explorers’ success. Wright’s scoring, rebounding and defense has La Salle in fourth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Explorers seem to be in good shape as the team moves toward the end of the season heading into the conference tournament with a possible NCAA tournament bid on the line. La Salle (17-6 overall, 7-3 A-10) will face Big 5 and A-10 rival Saint Joseph’s (14-9 overall, 5-5 A-10) on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Palestra. The tipoff is at 1 p.m. Wright isn’t looking too far down the road with a lot of basketball left to play.
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” Wright said. “We’re trying to go game-by-game to reach our goals at the beginning of the year and that’s to go to the NCAA tournament.”
La Salle caught the nation’s attention with big wins this season over Butler and VCU. Those victories help to legitimize the Explorers as a team to watch in the A-10. However, Wright believes the team’s surge into prominence began last year with its trip to the NIT.
“Butler win did do it,” Wright said. “After that, we beat VCU. We didn’t want everybody to think that was a fluke. Both of those teams have been to the NCAA tournament. I’ve been watching them since high school. They’re both good caliber teams.
“I think a lot of people now are looking at us because of our season last year. We have the same team from last year and winning games. We’re getting the crowd excited. We’re beating ranked teams. I think a lot of people are noticing that now.”
Ramon Galloway has been a major player for La Salle. Galloway, ex-Freire Charter standout, is the team’s leading scorer averaging 17.3 points a game. Tyrone Garland, a former Bartram High star, comes off the bench for the Explorers. Garland is averaging 12.8 points a game.
Tyreek Duren has been a steady ballhandler for La Salle. Duren, a Neumann-Goretti product, is averaging 13.9 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds a game. Then, Wright chips in with his contributions. He averages 10.0 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
“Tyrone is doing real well,” said Wright, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound sophomore forward. “I always knew he could score from high school. He’s a fast paced guard. Tyreek is more like a pass first guard. He looks to get everybody involved in the game. That’s one thing that keeps our team going. We got guards that can score. We have a guard who is a pass first guard that can actually help the team out. Somebody who can get the ball down low, find guys when they get open and where they need the ball. That’s a big part of us winning right now.”
In 2011, Wright was named first team All Public League. He was selected as the Public League Player of the Year. He led Dobbins to the league playoffs. He averaged 19.9 points, 14.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks a game. He finished his career with 1,303 points, third all-time at Dobbins behind Bo Kimble and La Salle assistant coach Horace Owens. Wright, a highly recruited player, made a great decision to play for the Explorers.
“It feels good that every game in Philly I have a huge fan base supporting me throughout the whole game and the whole year,” Wright said. “I try to go to Dobbins whenever I can to watch a few games. I keep in touch with Coach [William] Johnson.
“Whenever I go there, they usually show me a lot of love. I still know most of the students. I was just there two years ago. They still know me. I go back and talk to the teachers. I’ve known Horace [Owens] since I was growing up. We went to all of the same schools. We came from the same neighborhood. He’s helped me a lot.”
Dr. John Giannini, La Salle head coach, has made a big impact on his game. Wright has developed nicely under his tutelage.
“He makes sure the bigs [forwards and centers] are working out every day,” said Wright, who was the Big 5 Rookie of the Year last season. “He prepares us real well for each game that we play.”
The Explorers have been well prepared all season long. La Salle is coming off a 69-66 overtime win over St. Bonaventure. Wright had six points and six rebounds in that contest.
When Lionel Simmons heard La Salle’s name called on Selection Sunday, needless to say Simmons was really excited to see the Explorers landed a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992. Simmons was the 1990 consensus college basketball player of the year. He played from 1986-87 to 1989-90 at La Salle.
He played for the Explorers during the years when they were going to the big dance on a regular basis. Those were the glory years. Simmons, a former Southern High standout, played with Doug Overton, Bobby Johnson and Randy Woods. In fact, Woods, a Ben Franklin High product, played on the Explorers 1992 team that lost to Seton Hall in the first round of the tournament.
Nevertheless, Simmons knows this is a watershed moment for La Salle (21-9) a No. 13 seed in the West Region, as it faces No. 13 Boise State (21-10) on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. This game will be carried on truTV at 9:10 p.m.
“This is really good for the program,” Simmons said. “I’m really happy for La Salle. They put in a lot of hard work to get back to the NCAA tournament. I know a lot of people are excited.
“I had gone down to a few of the games. The team has really improved over the last few years. They played some good basketball this year. They beat some good teams (Butler and VCU). It’s great to see them back in the tournament.”
Simmons had a magnificent career with the Explorers. The first team All-American finished his career at La Salle with 3,217 points and 1,429 rebounds. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward, guided the 1989-90 Explorers to a single-season record with 30 victories and whose 32-2 record was the best in Division I.
This year’s Explorers team has a good crop of players such as 6-foot-2 senior guard Ramon Galloway (17.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg), 6-foot junior guard Tyreek Duren (15.0 ppg), 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Jerrell Wright (10.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and 6-foot-1 junior guard Tyrone Garland (12.7 ppg).
“I really don’t know anything about Boise State,” said Simmons, who was a first round pick of the Sacramento Kings and played seven NBA seasons. “I like the way La Salle has played this year. Tyreek Duren is a good ballhandler. Ramon Galloway is a great scorer. Jerrell Wright has really improved his game. He’s doing a good job around the basket. Tyrone Garland can really shoot the basketball. I think Coach [John] Giannini [head coach] and his staff have done a great job. I’m looking forward to watching them play in the tournament.”
The NBA draft is not that far away. The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on May 21. The NBA draft will take place on June 27. There are two local college basketball prospects who could be selected in the upcoming draft. Temple’s Khalif Wyatt and La Salle’s Ramon Galloway could be selected in the draft. ESPN draft experts Fran Fraschilla and college basketball analyst Chad Ford from ESPN NBA Insider weighed in on their views regarding Wyatt and Galloway’s NBA potential during a recent conference call.
“Both of those guys [I like] a lot. I mean [I’m a] huge Ramon Galloway fan as a college player and Khalif, by the way, had a phenomenal year,” Fraschilla said. “He had six or seven games over 30 points. Both of those guys are going to be on summer league teams without a doubt. They both potentially can get drafted in the second round. I pointed out during the season that Ramon Galloway, and to a similar extent Khalif Wyatt, are two guys we may see in the league down the road, if not right away.
“Khalif’s issue would be his overall athleticism, but as a pure basketball player in the backcourt, [was] one of the best in college basketball this year. They both could go in the second round. Both of those guys, I could see some day when they are 24 or 25, being in the D League for a couple years, and all of a sudden, either one of them pops up on an NBA roster.”
Ford gives his assessment on Wyatt and Galloway.
“I agree with Fran,” Ford said. “I think he’s right on with both of those guys. Neither player [was] invited to the combine, which means, just so you know how the combine is put together, the NBA sends a ballot to all 30 teams with about 150 players on that ballot. They ask every team to vote in 60 players that they’d like to see, and they basically tabulate the votes at that time with the aim of getting around 60 players there. They know some of the international players won’t show up, so it’s 60 players minus that.
“So that gives you at least a good feel, the list of 60, of what the NBA guys are looking at, who they think the 60 best prospects were in the draft. Neither guy got that invite. Maybe with Wyatt that surprised me a little bit more just because of the terrific season he had, the great tournament that he had, and his ability to do a lot of that against elite teams in the tournament like Indiana, for example. And I think he’s a player.
“I think sometimes the problem with the draft is we start to pick apart length, athleticism and very specific skills. There is a good reason why scouts do that, but sometimes there are people who are just basketball players and they overthink that. To me, Wyatt is that sort of player. He reminds me a little bit of a poor man’s Andre Miller. I mean, Andre Miller is not a great athlete… his basketball IQ, his cleverness with the ball, are so high he can still get it done on the NBA court. And I think Wyatt has a chance to make the NBA because of that.”
Wyatt and Galloway had great seasons. Wyatt, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound shooting guard, was named the Atlantic 10 Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year. He led both the Atlantic 10 and the Big 5 in scoring (20.5 ppg). Wyatt, a former Norristown High star, led the Owls to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Indiana.
Galloway, a former Freire Charter standout, was the Explorers’ leading scorer. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooting guard, averaged 17.2 points a game, which was third best in the Atlantic 10. He handed out a team-high 127 assists in guiding La Salle to a 24-10 record and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.
The NCAA tournament has produced a lot of great stories. But there’s none bigger than the La Salle Explorers, who have brought national attention to the school’s basketball program with their play in the tourney.
La Salle, seeded No. 13, nipped No. 12 Mississippi, 76-74, before 18,498 fans at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. This victory has catapulted the Explorers into the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1955.
La Salle (24-9) will face Wichita State (28-8) on Thursday, March 28 in Los Angeles. The tipoff for this contest is at 10:17 p.m. on TBS. The Shockers are coming off a 76-70 win over Gonzaga to advance to the Sweet 16.
La Salle got there on Tyrone Garland’s layup down the middle of the lane with two seconds left on Sunday. Garland, former Bartram High star, came off the bench to score 17 points for the Explorers, including the game-winning shot. He was asked about the shot after the game, which he has dubbed “The Southwest Philly Floater.”
“It’s actually the Southwest Floater, not South Floater,” Garland said. “They call it on the playground, when you see a big defender, just lay the ball up and they call it a Southwest Floater. I was just hearing that as I was growing up playing in the playgrounds.”
It wasn’t any easy shot. Garland had to go down the lane and lay it up over Reginald Buckner, the Rebels’ 6-foot-9 center, who was a force around the basket.
“Before that play, we were in a timeout,” Garland said. “I asked Tyreek (Duren), ‘Is the drive from the left wing open?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ When the time was running down, it was flat. I had a feeling I could make the drive, so I told Ramon (Galloway), ‘Switch.’
“It wasn’t even in the plans, I just told him to switch. And when Tyreek drove, like coach (Dr. John Giannini) always said, ‘Cut behind him.’ I saw the opening, I laid the ball in.”
This has been a storybook run for the Explorers. La Salle has won three consecutive games against Boise State (80-71), Kansas State (63-61) and Ole Miss respectively. Although Garland hit the winning shot, he got a lot of help from his teammates like Galloway, Duren and Jerrell Wright. Galloway had 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 6-for-10 from three-point range. Duren had 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field. Wright contributed eight points and four rebounds.
The Explorers are a true Philadelphia basketball team – Big 5 and City 6. Wright played for Dobbins where he was the Public League Player of the year. Garland was a big time player in the Public League as well. Galloway starred for Friere Charter. Duren played on all those great Neumann-Goretti teams that won the Catholic League championships.
Giannini has an outstanding assistant coach on his staff in Horace Owens who was a magnificent player at Dobbins and Rhode Island. Owens played in the Sonny Hill League and the Baker League. He knows all the top players in the city. It’s no surprise that La Salle has been able to attract some of Philly’s best players over the last few years. La Salle has something really special going on at 19th and Olney Avenue. Galloway knows it.
“As far as the game, us winning, I don’t know how to feel because I’ve never been here. I can say it’s the greatest feeling, but I don’t know right now. I’m happy. As far as family, I’m glad I can do this. I’m glad I had teammates like Ty that can win a game and Tyreek that can lead us.
“It’s just wonderful. It’s a wonderful story. It’s just great to play for La Salle, uplift the La Salle community again.”
This is La Salle’s first trip to the big dance since 1992. Twenty-one years is a long time. This tournament run has put the Explorers back on the college basketball map. If people didn’t know much about La Salle before, they do now.
“What I told them, all the clichés that coaches talk about, about toughness, getting stops, sharing the ball the way Tyreek hit Tyrone on that play, sticking together, staying positive,” Giannini said. “Those things are all true. A lot of teams do them, a lot of teams don’t. But this team has great intangibles. They are tough, they are together. Frankly, that’s why we’re here.”
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Mike McCall Jr. scored 16 points and Kwamain Mitchell had 15 to lead Saint Louis to a 78-71 win over La Salle on Friday night to advance to the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament semifinals.
Brian Conklin scored 14 points and Jordair Jett had 13 for the No. 2-seed Billikens (25-6), who have won nine of their last 10 games and are the highest remaining seed left in the tournament. Top-seeded Temple was eliminated by Massachusetts earlier.
Earl Pettis scored 18 points, Ramon Galloway had 14 and Tyreek Duren 13 for the Explorers (21-12).
Saint Louis raced to a 12-point first-half lead and appeared to have the game under control until La Salle got hot late. Pettis hit a pull-up jumper to pull La Salle within two and Jerrell Wright's dunk made it 57-56. That was as close as they would get.
McCall's 3-pointer made it 65-58, helping Saint Louis advance. -- (AP)
The Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund, Inc., started in 2001, provides scholarships to academically and athletically talented youngsters in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The financial value of the scholarship can be up to $8,000, which is payable over four years and is available to at least four students.
Students must complete the application to be considered for the scholarship. They must meet the following criteria:
– A GPA minimum of a B with the grade average being attained within six semesters (3 out of 4 years).
– Have a minimum of 1500 SAT score or ACT equivalent
– Have served at least two years of community service and one year of high school service with reference letters attached from the supervisors
– Essay should highlight student’s service and how a college degree will improve the quality of life in the community.
Former Central QB Quarterman to coach Kutztown defensive backs
Marcel Quarterman, former Central High football star, has been named defensive backs coach at Kutztown University. Quarterman will work specifically with the safeties.
Quarterman goes to Kutztown after four years at Division I Lafayette College as an offensive assistant, specifically working with wide receivers. He was also responsible for the punt return unit in 2012 and guided the Patriot League Rookie of the Year to the top punt return average in the league. He has also coached numerous all-conference wide receivers in his four years at Lafayette. The former Public League star is a 2008 graduate of Lafayette, where he played defensive back from 2004-08.
La Salle’s Galloway selected for College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships
La Salle’s Ramon Galloway will participate in the College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 at McCamish Pavilion on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The 25th annual event, which will showcase dunking and sharp-shooting talents of 24 of the country’s top college basketball players, will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Galloway will compete in the slam dunk championship. The 6-foot-3 senior guard averaged a team-best 17.2 points a game and led the Explorers in assists (127), three-pointers (94) and steals (65). Galloway was named to the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District II Team, was a first team All-Atlantic 10 selection and helped lead La Salle to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.
There’s no doubt about it, Philadelphia is a college basketball town. And this year is a good indication of that. The city has three teams in the NCAA tournament with Villanova, Temple and La Salle. That’s three teams with their dancing shoes on.
There aren’t many cities that can boast three teams in the tournament. That’s really special. The fans will have a lot to cheer about this week. La Salle hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1992, when former Ben Franklin High standout Randy Woods guided them into the postseason. The Explorers will face Boise State on Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio.
There will be a lot of people watching La Salle standouts Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren, Jerrell Wright and Tyrone Garland. It’s great to see the Explorers to get to the tournament. Excitement will really build if they can win and advance to next round.
On Friday, Temple will clash with North Carolina State during the day. Those afternoon games will have a lot of fans arranging their lunch hours to watch some of the Owls’ game against the Wolfpack. Temple has two of the city’s top players in Khalif Wyatt and Scootie Randall. Wyatt was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year. Both are hoping to get past the first round.
Villanova will get started on Friday night in its matchup against North Carolina. Jay Wright, Villanova head coach, did a tremendous job of getting his team to the tournament. Wright led the Wildcats to some big wins over Louisville, Georgetown, Syracuse and others during the season. Villanova has some exciting players to watch, such as JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard and freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono.
In addition to having three teams in play, the city will see a lot of NCAA tournament action in over the weekend. Other college basketball teams will play at Wells Fargo Center, including Duke, Albany, Creighton, Cincinnati, San Diego State, Oklahoma, Georgetown and Florida Gulf Coast. It will also be a homecoming for a coupleof local players. Amile Jefferson, former Friends’ Central star, now plays for Duke, and Jabril Trawick, ex-Abington Friends standout, is a member of Georgetown’s team.
Although Saint Joseph’s didn’t make the NCAA tournament, the Hawks received an NIT bid. They will host St. John’s tonight at Hagan Arena at 7. Saint Joseph’s reached the Atlantic 10 Conference quarterfinals before losing to VCU, 82-79. The winner of this game will play the winner of Norfolk State at Virginia. The Hawks’ top players have been guards Langston Galloway and Carl Jones.
That’s a lot of basketball. If you’re a college basketball fan in Philly, it doesn’t get any better than this. You have NCAA tournament games being played right in your town. After that, you can come home and watch some of the best players, coaches and teams play in other regions. It’s one of the most exciting months on the sports calendar.
Selection Sunday is just two days away. It’s one of the biggest days of the year for college basketball fans when the NCAA tournament selects its participants. On Sunday, March 17, there will be a lot of fans sitting in front of their TV sets to see if their team has been invited to the big dance.
There could be three local teams in the tournament this year –Villanova, Temple and La Salle. Joe Lunardi is the resident bracketologist for ESPN. Lunardi invented bracketology and has been selecting teams for ESPN.com since its inception. Each year, he breaks down the tournament field.
Lunardi believes the city could be well-represented in the NCAA tournament. However, he feels La Salle needs to win its first round matchup in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament to secure its bid.
“I just did a new bracket and Temple and Villanova went to the 10 line,” Lunardi said. “I have La Salle is still in that first four group. I think the Explorers are going to have to beat Butler on Friday in the A-10 quarterfinals.
“I think that is essentially a play-in game for La Salle. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, I believe they could be out. They’ve had a great season obviously, but the bubble is starting to shrink. And the number of quality wins posted by Temple and Villanova puts both of them ahead of La Salle at this point. As does the fact, that Temple finished ahead of La Salle in the Atlantic 10 seedings.”
Butler defeated Dayton, 73-67, on Thursday and the Bulldogs now advance to face the Explorers at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
La Salle (21-8 overall, 11-5 A-10) already has victories over Butler and VCU. But another win in the tournament would enhance its NCAA resume. The Explorers are led by all-conference standouts Ramon Galloway and Tyreek Duren.
Temple will rely on senior guard Khalif Wyatt, the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, to help them advance in the conference tournament. Wyatt is the A-10’s leading scorer averaging 19.9 points a game. The Owls also have a solid player in small forward Scootie Randall.
Villanova appears to be in good shape. The Wildcats have leaned on freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono, sophomore guard Darrun Hilliard and senior center Mouphtaou Yarou for outside scoring and consistent play around the basket this season.
It should be interesting to see if three teams from the Big 5 can get to the NCAA tournament.