...What La Salle needs to do now is learn how to win games. Even at 2-3, that was the lesson from the Explorers' journey to paradise.
What is no longer in doubt that is the La Salle has the athletes to compete. That was obvious Friday night when they hung with No. 2 Connecticut all evening. UConn is going to lose some games, but it won’t play many teams with comparable athletes. La Salle hung because they had those athletes.
Now, if the basketball skill and small details that separate winning from losing can be located, this really could be the season when La Salle’s postseason drought ends. I was there in 1992 when La Salle outplayed Seton Hall, but lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with seniors Randy Woods and Jack Hurd. Everybody knew La Salle was going to take a step back at that point, but nobody could have known there would be no postseason games for the next 16 years.
Saint Joseph’s was never really in its Maui Invitational game against Texas. Everything was difficult for the Hawks against the bigger, stronger, better Longhorns.
Long-range shooting is going to be an issue for this team. So is ballhandling and decision-making. But it is early and the Hawks won’t play a team any better than Texas the rest of the season.
Texas has everything but a point guard. If the Longhorns had been a bit more organized on offense, the margin likely would have been much larger much earlier.
The competition for St. Joe’s now gets much easier, starting this afternoon (ESPNU, 1:30 p.m.) against Indiana. Tom Crean’s team has almost no talent and got blown out by Notre Dame yesterday.
There are rarely must wins in college hoops, but this is a game St. Joe’s really needs to win. The Hawks have better, more experienced players than the Hoosiers who were decimated by the Kelvin Sampson phone fiasco. IU won its first two games against suspect competition, but ND exposed all its flaws in the game following SJU-Texas.