Rhode Island 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Rhode Island Rams - Atlantic 10 (22-10, 11-5)
Big Wins: 11/28 vs Penn State (77-72), 1/28 Temple (67-59), 2/25 Dayton (93-91)
Bad Losses: 1/10 at St. Joe’s (86-92), 1/21 at Richmond (75-78), 3/7 Massachusetts (71-72)
Coach: Jim Baron
Probable Rhode Island Starters:
Marquis Jones, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 4.0 apg
Jimmy Baron, Senior, Guard, 17.1 ppg, 2.0 apg
Lamonte Ulmer, Junior, Forward, 8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Kahiem Seawright, Senior, Forward, 13.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Will Martell, Sophomore, Center, 5.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Key Rhode Island Roleplayers:
Keith Cothran, Junior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 2.0 apg, 1.8 spg
Delroy James, Junior, Forward, 10.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Stevie Mejia, Freshman, Guard, 2.5 ppg, 2.2 apg
Why The Rams Can Surprise:
Rhode Island does not win games with its defense. The idea is to outscore the opposition by taking quick, and smart, shots. And the Rams have plenty of scoring threats, most notably the coach’s son Jimmy Baron. The 6-3 senior is the team’s leading scorer at 17.1 points per game. He will use his size to get to the basket, but Baron is mostly an outside shooter. He ranks in the top 20 in the nation in both three-point field goals per game and three-point field-goal percentage. Baron’s shooting rarely takes a night off, but he has had a few games where his scoring has been limited. That cannot happen in March.
Keith Cothran is the only other long range shooting threat, but the other scoring options come from in the paint. Forwards Kahiem Seawright and Delroy James both average over ten points per game and add another dynamic to the high flying Rhode Island offense.
Why The Rams Can Disappoint:
It is understandable that this is a team that gives up a lot of points, but that is not a reason to allow the opposition to shoot over 45 percent from the floor. The defense may have questions all the way around, but the root of the problem is the lack of a shot blocker. Seawright does a lot for this team on the glass and in the scoring department and he is also the lone shot blocking threat on the team and he only averages one per game.At 7-0 and 245 pounds, Will Martell can use his body to make life difficult for the opposition, but he is not a superb defender by any means. The same can be said for 6-6 junior Lamonte Ulmer and 6-8 junior Delroy James.
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Who To Watch:
The Rams would like to get some scoring out of Marquis Jones, but usually there is enough firepower on the court for the sophomore point guard to worry about finding his teammates and not have to bother with putting the ball in the basket. Considering that he is an underclassman and that Rhode Island pushes the tempo, Jones has done a great job keeping the turnovers down. The team as a whole commits 13.2 per gameand that is not a bad number at all for a team that scores over 80 points a contest. As long as Jones can keep the offense moving quickly and under control, the offensive weapons will get him plenty of assists.
Rhode Island By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.1 (9th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.5 (281, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.2 (15, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.4 (276, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (151, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.0 (14, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.3 (150, 5)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (95, 6)
Assists Per Game: 16.2 (21, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (123, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Niagara
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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