Hype Post: La Salle Plays Its Biggest Game in 58 Years Tonight

Hype Post: La Salle Plays Its Biggest Game in 58 Years Tonight

Less than two weeks ago, we were sitting around watching conference championship games and rooting for other teams to lose so that La Salle might make it to the First Four.

Now Dr. John Giannini, Ramon Galloway and the rest of the Explorers are hanging in Los Angeles and shaking hands with Reggie Miller. The only reason they're not getting even more attention is because the world found out that something called Florida Gulf Coast exists.

Tip off between the 13th-seeded La Salle Explorers and 9th-seeded Wichita State Shockers for the opportunity to advance to the Elite Eight is scheduled for 10:17 this evening and can be seen on TBS.

The Explorers have not gotten this far in the NCAA tournament since losing to Bill Russell's San Francisco in 1955. That was 58 years ago. Of the five Atlantic 10 teams that made the tournament 4 Saint Louis, 5 VCU, 6 Butler, 9 Temple La Salle received the lowest seed by four spots and is the only one left standing.

As for what they'll meet in Wichita State, the Shockers are the first team La Salle has played  in this tournament that isn't four-guard (Boise State, Kansas State) or generally undersized anyway (Ole Miss). In fact, Wichita State grabs the 27th-most rebounds of the 347 teams who play Division I basketball, with 38.4 per game. La Salle, on the hand, is 292nd in that category. In a surprise turn of events, La Salle backup center Steve Zack was cleared to play yesterday, although what exactly he'll be able to contribute is unknowable.

Regardless, nothing has really changed for La Salle. The key to tonight's game is the same key for every game involving a four-guard team make shots. The more shots the Explorers make, the fewer rebounds will be available for them not to grab. If it seems simple, that's because it is. Small teams can't afford to be inefficient.

Whichever way this goes, it's like we mentioned up top, La Salle went from sweating out the selection show to flying from Dayton to Kansas City to Los Angeles without ever coming back to campus, and at some point in between, SouthwestPhillyFloater was trending worldwide.

Photos from Wednesday's practice at Staples:

AP

AP

USA Today

USA Today

USA Today

USA Today

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

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AP Images

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy has died in Orlando.

Police say the 48-year-old former Seattle Seahawks star was found dead on Tuesday morning.

Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, but that there is nothing suspicious about his death. An investigation is being conducted.

One of the best defensive lineman of his generation, Kennedy was a star in his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks. He became the second Seattle player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.

Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1992.

"Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy," Broncos' general manager John Elway tweeted Tuesday. Elway was chased around by Kennedy twice a year for much of the 1990s as competitors in the AFC West. "A great personality, a great player and I enjoyed competing against him."

Even though he last played for the Seahawks in 2000, he remained a significant part of the organization. He was a mainstay around the team during training camp and would occasionally roll through the locker room during the regular season grabbing a few minutes with anyone -- players, coaches, media -- up for a chat.

"My heart hurts," current Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt tweeted. "We lost a truly great player but even better person."

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

There was finally some football in South Philly on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off the first round of their OTAs. 

Aside from a few notable absences -- Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, Donnie Jones -- the Eagles had just about everyone on the field (see story)

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday's practice: 

1. Here's how the first-team offense looked: 
QB: Carson Wentz
RB: LeGarrette Blount
TE: Zach Ertz
OL (left to right): Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
WR: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews

2. Here's how the first-team defense looked: 
LDE: Brandon Graham
LDT: Destiny Vaeao
RDT: Tim Jernigan
RDE: Vinny Curry
LBs: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod
CB: Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson. 

Note: In the nickel package, rookie third-rounder Rasul Douglas came on the field as an outside cornerback and Mills slid into the slot. 

3. Early in the practice, in an offense-only drill, the Eagles were trying to audible into a new play, but there was some confusion with Blount, who didn't seem to know the play. Blount is still obviously learning the playbook, but it shows the respect they have for him that he was working with the ones already. 

4. The play the Eagles wanted to get into during that drill was a good one. Wentz rolled out to his right and found Jeffery streaking across the field. The two seem to be getting on just fine. 

Although later in 11-on-11s, Wentz tossed up an ill-advised pass deep to Jeffery in tight coverage and the ball was picked by McLeod. Jeffery will win a lot of battles, but that one was too much. 

5. Linebacker Joe Walker and cornerback Ron Brooks were on the field on Tuesday but didn't participate in team drills. Walker (ACL) and Brooks (quad tendon) are both recovering from significant injuries. 

6. The Eagles lined up a few times with Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey on the field together. Those few times, Sproles was in the backfield and Pumphrey lined up in the slot. It's early, but we might get to see some creativity from Doug Pederson with these two this year. 

7. Dillon Gordon, whom the Eagles signed as an undrafted rookie last year, did something interesting on Tuesday. The offensive tackle, who played tight end in college, took a few reps at tight end in limited offensive drills. That's intriguing because if he could play the role of an extra tackle during the season, he'd have something Matt Tobin doesn't: the ability to actually become a receiver, not just an eligible one. 

8. Robinson, who is getting run at corner with the first team, won a jump ball with Dorial Green-Beckham on a deep ball. It was an impressive play by Robinson, but DGB mistimed his jump. 

The best defensive play of the day came from Najee Goode in 7-on-7s. The veteran backup linebacker and special teamer dropped back and dove backward to break up a pass off the hand of Nick Foles. 

9. Obviously, there's no hitting yet, but Derek Barnett had a good first day going against the vets. Sure, Lane Johnson completely shut him down on one play, but Barnett showed off a variety of moves. 

10. The Eagles' two rookie receivers worked with the third team on Tuesday, while DGB and Nelson Agholor worked with the twos. Shelton Gibson showed off his quickness and Mack Hollins' size and speed combo wasn't any less impressive. Also, Hollins wasn't wearing gloves, but it didn't seem to affect his ability to catch. 

Stupid observation of the day: Thanks to his afro and thick beard, Seumalo kind of looks like a lion with a mane.