The URI Rams are still undefeated in Atlantic 10 play, and will look to make school history on Wednesday night at the Ryan Center. When Dan Hurley’s squad beat a talented St. Bonaventure team on Saturday, the Rams went to 5-0 in league play, and now will try to become the first Rhode Island team to start 6-0 when they host rival UMass. The game can be seen on Yurview Channel 4 or 1004 and will also be streaming live at 7:00pm on Yurview.com.
The conference season for most teams is highly competitive, but this year’s version of the Rams have been putting teams away early and often. While the Atlantic 10 is having a down season according to most college basketball observers – after a terrible nonconference showing leaguewide – Rhody has been the exception. In the nonconference portion of the schedule, they beat two Big East teams, Seton Hall and Providence, while their only losses were on the road against quality opponents (Nevada, Alabama) or neutral site to a Top 10 team (Virginia).
Against their Atlantic 10 foes, however, they’ve shifted into another gear. Although they were the preseason pick to win the conference, it would have been tough to envision the way they’ve handled their opponents. Four of their five wins have been by double digits; on Saturday, they beat a Bonaventure team that was preseason #2 in the conference by 14 points.
Power 5 convenience bias means @RhodyMBB likely not to be ranked this wk, but AP voters (I don’t place stock in Coaches Poll) best take note of a 13-3 team in top 15 of the RPI, that played top 10 non-conference sked in nation, avg conf W margin of 15ppg & hasn’t lost since Dec 6
— Chris DiSano (@CDiSano44) January 14, 2018
Add it all up, and Rhody could be cracking the Top 25 soon…if they can get another two win week.
Undoubtedly, their game Saturday against 3-2 Dayton will be a true test – on the road at the always tough UD Arena. The Rams can’t take 3-2 UMass lightly though, even if it in Kingston.
The Minutemen have been exceeding expectations themselves under first-year head coach Matt McCall. They were picked to finish 12th in the A-10 and currently sit 5th. They made people take notice earlier this month by winning at the aforementioned UD arena. They also have some talent to work with, namely sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins, who is averaging over 20 points per game and who many believe will be a first team all-conference player when this year concludes.
Luwane Pipkins is averaging 25.5 points in the last two games
… after halftime.
— Matt Vautour (@MattVautourDHG) January 15, 2018
Still, Rhode Island has a couple star guards of his own in E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell. Then he has a few more in Jeff Dowtin, Fatts Russell, Jarvis Garrett and Stanford Robinson. Dan Hurley has brilliantly rotated them so far this year, so matching guards shouldn’t be problem against UMass. After seeing the Ram backcourt thwart Jaylen Adams and the Bonnies attack, it’s clear that the Rams control their own fate each and every night.
Tonight, we’ll see if they can do it again.
UMass vs URI is on Yurview New England Channel 4 or 1004 at 7:00pm for customers of Cox Communications, and will also be streamed live on Yurview.com.