2013 Sweet 16 Predictions: La Salle vs. Wichita State March Madness

Last Updated: March 28th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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La Salle ExplorersEither a team that came out of the First Four or one that has made a magical run from the Missouri Valley Conference will find their way to the Elite Eight on Thursday night, as we make our March Madness predictions for the clash between the La Salle Explorers and the Wichita State Shockers.

March Madness: La Salle Explorers vs. Wichita State Shockers
La Salle vs. Wichita State Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
La Salle vs. Wichita State Date/Time: Thursday, March 28th, 10:17 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: TBS

Key #1: Wichita State has to continue to be a strong three-point shooting team
Remember when the VCU Rams ran from the First Four to the Final Four two seasons ago? It’s not out of the question that La Salle could do the same this year, but the run seems very similar for Wichita State as well. That VCU team was a relatively average three-point shooting team that caught fire in the dance and started literally knocking down everything left and right. Now, the Shockers are doing the exact same thing. Wichita State hit 50% of its threes on Saturday when it knocked off the top seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, and that’s a far cry from the 33.7 percent from three-point land that the team has hit for the season. This time of year, it’s all about the 3-ball, and knocking them down at that rate is clearly going to be one of the keys to get this team into the Elite Eight, and perhaps even the Final Four beyond. If the threes aren’t falling at that type of clip though, the Shockers are going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble against a very athletic team.

La Salle vs. Wichita State Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#13 La Salle Explorers +4
#9 Wichita State Shockers -4
Over/Under 135.5
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: Someone needs to figure out how to stop Ramon Galloway
Had we looked at the keys to the game for La Salle last round against the Ole Miss Rebels, we would have said that someone needed to slow down G Marshall Henderson. Instead of doing that though, Galloway just stayed shot for shot with him for the full 40 minutes. Galloway really looks a heck of a lot like Henderson did for the Rebels for all of those games, as now, the La Salle leader is averaging 21.3 points per game in the dance in this, his senior season. With nearly 1,600 points in his collegiate career, there is no doubt that Galloway is a man that knows how to take over a game, and after hitting six threes on Sunday against Ole Miss, he can really flex his muscles as one of the best players in the tournament in this one against Wichita State.

Diamond Sportsbook

Key #3: Wichita State can’t get killed on the offensive glass
Rebounding hasn’t been an issue for the Shockers all year long, but all of a sudden against Gonzaga on Saturday, all of that changed. Wichita State gave up a whopping 20 offensive rebounds to the Zags, the most that it had allowed in a game all season long. That isn’t going to cut it, needless to say. La Salle is actually a terrible rebounding team, as it is one of the few teams in the tourney that has allowed more rebounds per game this season (31.5) than it has picked up (31.3). The Explorers don’t have F Elias Harris or F Kelly Olynyk or any of the other bigs that Gonzaga brings to the table, so this should be a much different type of challenge for a team that is used to physically overwhelming its foes. If the Shockers can’t win the battle on the glass, particularly the battle on the defensive side of the court, they’ll be in a ton of trouble. Possessions absolutely have to be limited to one and done as much as possible for Wichita State to knock off La Salle.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Thursday, March 28th, 2013 @ 8:43 am (EST)
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