By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Gola Arena should be rocking on Wednesday night as the La Salle Explorers host the #9 team in the country, the Butler Bulldogs, in Atlantic 10 action.
La Salle sits at 12-5 on the season (2-2 in the A-10) after losing at Xavier on Saturday, 70-63.
“We did not have one of our better games,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “Xavier had a lot to do with that.”
Butler is 16-2 on the season (3-0 in the A-10) and they are coming off an absolutely thrilling non-league victory over #10 Gonzaga on Saturday, 64-63.
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Dr. John Giannini:
“They are extremely special,” Giannini says. “Bob Knight used to talk about playing for perfection. They’re not perfect, but they’re about as close as you’ll see. They pretty much do everything extremely well. If I talked about all the things they do well, it would be too long for this interview.”
Butler has five players averaging in double figures. But senior guard Rotnei Clarke, who leads the way at 16.3 points a game, will not play against La Salle. He will miss his third straight game with a sprained neck.
This will be a challenging week for the Explorers. They will follow up this match-up with the Bulldogs by paying #19 VCU a visit on Saturday.
“Because they’re both, Butler and VCU, playing so well and both on winning streaks right now, you’d have to say it’s probably the toughest week that you can have in our conference at the moment,” Giannini says. “But, like I said, both those teams are going to lose some games in the A-10, there are so many good teams. Last weekend you saw a bunch of teams that pulled off upsets on the road against very high level opponents. So everyone in this league is good. I know it sounds like ‘coach speak’, but it’s true.”
La Salle and Butler will tip-off at 7:00pm on Wednesday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.