GW-La Salle preview: Revenge game on CSN+ (7 p.m.)

GW-La Salle preview: Revenge game on CSN+ (7 p.m.)
January 29, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Matchup: George Washington Colonials (16-3; 4-1 Atlantic 10) vs. La Salle Explorers (11-8, 3-2)

When: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Smith Center

Broadcast: TV - NBC Sports Network; Radio - 1500 AM.

Last time out: Joe McDonald and Kevin Larsen each scored 14 points and the Colonials took control with an 18-5 run early in the second half for a 75-69 win over George Mason, GW's fourth straight victory.

History: The good news is GW leads the series 20-15 including 13-4 record at the Smith Center. The bad news is La Salle as won the last five including a 76-72 victory on Jan 9 in Philadelphia, the Colonials last setback.

KenPom: George Washington 44, La Salle 91

RPI: George Washington 30, La Salle 77

Coaches: George Washington - Mike Lonergan; La Salle - Dr. John Giannini

Leaders: GW - Scoring (Maurice Creek, 14.3), Rebounding (Isaiah Armwood, 7.8, Assists (Joe McDonald, 4.2)

Protect the house: GW hasn't dominated action at the Smith Center this season, posting a 9-0 record and running their overall streak to 10 straight victories. The Colonials aren't just winning at home, but doing so by 18.1 points per game. They have taken both A-10 home games this season by double digits.

Matchup: The backcourt pair of Tyrone Garland and Tyreek Duren each average over 14 points per game for the Explorers, who have dropped two straight including 97-89 double-OT home loss to VCU on Saturday. Another guard, Sam Mills, paced La Salle with 17 points in the earlier win over GW. The Explorers made 9 of 20 3-pointers.

In that contest, senior center Isaiah Armwood led GW with 15 points and 12 rebounds. In career games, the springy big man averages a double-double with 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds against the Explorers. 

Big picture: While it's still a touch early to talk NCAA Tournament, the matchup with La Salle is sneaky important and not just because every win is a big one. Even though the Explorers are a quality squad capable of big victories as evidenced by their run to the Sweet 16 last year, they are not tracking for a return to the NCAA's. Therefore getting swept by a team that's likely not even going to even be on the tournament bubble could bruise GW's at-large chances. Not a major negative, but possibly a tiebreaker especially if compared to other A-10 teams.

As for the Atlantic 10 race, we can note the Colonials are in a four-way tie for second place, one game back of St. Louis (5-0). GW plays at St. Louis on February 22, the only meeting between the two sides.