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

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."