A year after winning the A-10 Tournament, Richmond followed it up with an average season at best, going 16-15 overall and 7-9 in conference. It finished tied for ninth place with Duquesne, but lost the tie-breaker to the Dukes to settle for the 10th seed. The Spiders come into the tourney with some momentum however, as they won three of their last four bouts, including an 82-71 decision over Dayton in their regular-season finale.
At 20-11, La Salle had one of its best seasons in recent memory, and its 9-7 conference mark tied it with three others for fifth place in the A-10. The Explorers faltered a bit in February, losing five of six, but they ended the regular season on a high note with back-to-back wins over George Washington and St. Bonaventure.
Though Richmond has stood its ground at the defensive end for much of the season (66.7 ppg), its scoring average of 68.9 ppg ranks 11th in the conference. However, it does have one of the most potent three-point shooting attacks, draining a league-high 245 long-range shots at a 36.1 percent clip. The Spiders were also hindered by a poor effort on the boards, ranking next- to-last in the A-10 with a -5.8 rebounding margin. They get double-digit scoring efforts from four different players, led by Darien Brothers (14.0 ppg) and Kendal Anthony (13.4 ppg), who combine for 4.3 three-pointers per contest. Derrick Williams (11.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Cedrick Lindsay (11.0 ppg, 3.7 apg) are also heavily involved.
La Salle's offense has been a force to be reckoned with this season, ranking third in the A-10 in both scoring (73.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.463). It is also just one three-pointer off Richmond's pace (244), while draining its treys at a league-best 40.3 percent. Earl Pettis leads the Explorers in scoring with 15.2 ppg, and after averaging just 9.1 ppg a year ago, he earned the first Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player award in program history. Ramon Galloway scores 14.1 ppg, dishes out 3.3 apg, and hits three-pointers at a 43.6 percent rate, which was good enough to earn him a spot on the All- A-10 Second Team. Tyreek Duren (13.6 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Sam Mills (10.9 ppg) round out La Salle's impressive quartet of guards, which helps the team rank fifth in assists (14.5 apg) and third in steals (8.1 spg).
Richmond is tournament tested and it has collected a handful of impressive wins this season over some of the A-10's better teams, but La Salle has been far too good at home (13-2) for the Spiders to pull off the upset here. GL