La Salle Basketball: Paradise Jam will set up the season

La Salle Explorers

Paradise Jam (Photo Credit: Paradisejam.com)

This November the La Salle Explorers will be heading to the tropics to play in the Paradise Jam tournament.  The team will be looking for some redemption after placing seventh the last time the team was there in 2008.

For the first round in the tournament, the La Salle basketball team will be taking on Morgan State Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. eastern time.  This will be the fifth time in Explorer history playing the Bears.

The Bears didn’t have the same stellar record that La Salle did last year but they were a competitive team and finished their 2013 season, 17-15 overall, and 10-6 in the MEAC conference.

Coach Dr. John Giannini is not looking at Morgan state as an easy matchup. “Morgan State is a veteran team that annually is at the top of their conference and regularly beats high level teams.”

This game has potential to be a battle.  Both teams have height and seniority. Although La Salle has played bigger teams in the A-10, Morgan State in recent years has beaten Maryland and DePaul.  With this tournament happening in the beginning of the season, both teams will be working on getting out the glitches in their defense and striving as a team to peak in time for conference play.

If La Salle beats Morgan State they will play the winner of Providence vs Vanderbilt.  The winner of that match will go on to the championship round playing either Northern Iowa, Loyola Marymount, Marist or Maryland.

It was recently announced that if La Salle wins their first game in Paradise Jam there is a possibility that two more of their tournament games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.  This would bring the blue and gold’s national exposure to a total of 17 games.

According to Giannini the team is used to T.V coverage but the fact that it is going to be more games then ever brings great exposure to the school.  “I am excited for fans across the country to see the excitement and pride on our campus and the quality of our team.”

Paradise Jam takes place in the U.S Virgin Islands.  First beginning to 2000, the tournament sells itself as offering men’s and women’s college basketball teams a chance to play in an early season competition while in an exotic island setting.

La Salle will get some time to enjoy what Saint Thomas has to offer, but the primary focus of the trip will be basketball. “The rest of the tournament is critical for our season,” said Giannini.