By Matt Leon

By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After a 21-8 regular season, the La Salle Explorers earned a first round bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.   As the #4 seed, they will open things up on Friday in Brooklyn.  The Explorers will battle the winner of Thursday’s Butler/Dayton match-up.

Head coach Dr. John Giannini talks about how they have prepared this week with the opponent up in the air.

“We finished in third (in the conference regular season) in our second year here (2005-06), and we were in this situation and we spent half the time on one team and half the time on the other team,” Giannini tells KYW Newsradio.  “What we’re doing this year is we’re really focusing on ourselves.  We’re kind of going back and correcting some things, and hopefully improving some things, not worrying as much about the opponent.  Especially since we’ve obviously played them both already.”

La Salle beat both their potential opponents earlier in the season, taking care of Dayton, 72-70, at Gola Arena on January 16th and then beating Butler exactly a week later, 54-53.

That win over the Bulldogs was one of the highlights of an exciting regular season for the Explorers.

“I’m certainly proud of this group,” Giannini says. “But we’re in a tough spot.  We’re in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid with a bunch of other  good teams.  We really feel that we could use another win just to solidify ourselves.  And that’s been our goal since Day #1.  So we’re very excited and looking forward to playing in the A-10 Tournament.”

On the injury front, La Salle sophomore center Steve Zack has missed the last two games with a sprained foot, and Giannini says his prognosis for playing in Brooklyn isn’t very good.

“He’s not at the point where he is day-to-day yet, he’s more week-to-week,” Giannini says.  “And obviously we’re hopeful to get Steve at any time.  I don’t think he’s quite ready just at the moment.  When we get back from the A-10 Tournament, he’ll be re-evaluated again.”

La Salle’s quarterfinal game on Friday is slated to start at 2:30pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.

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