Photo Credit – gorhody.com
The Rhode Island Rams defeated VCU in the Atlantic 10 tournament to punch their ticket to the big dance earlier today. The Rams were a bubble team but they wanted to make sure there wasn’t any question that they would get in tonight. This will be their 9th tournament appearance and their first since 1999. Rhode Island is 6-8 overall in the NCAA Tournament.
Hassan Martin was the defensive player of the year in the A10. Rhode Island ranks 3rd in the country in blocks per game with 6.1 and Martin is the biggest reason for this. Individually, Martin ranks 16th in the country in blocks per game with 2.56. The Rams average a block on 11.5% of possessions which leads the nation. Opponents will struggle to drive to the rim on the Rams because of their effectiveness inside. Rhode Island only allows 64.9 points a game which is good for 28th nationally. Their opponent effective field goal percentage is 45.2% and ranks 14th in the nation. Another thing that makes the Rams defense so good is that they don’t let teams shoot the 3 against them. Opponents only shoot 29% from deep which ranks 2nd nationally. Opponents only make 4.6 a game (also 2nd nationally).
Weaknesses: Scoring/Foul Trouble/3 Games in 3 Days
The Rams are a below average shooting team. They obviously make this up with defense, but if the defense isn’t playing well, the Rams will struggle to beat anyone. They only shoot 33.7% from three (229 in the country) and 50.6% from two (114 in the country). Rhode Island also struggles mightily from the free throw line. They only shoot 65.5% which is 315th nationally. That is one of the worst percentages in the country.
Rhode Island is going to have to do their best to stay out of foul trouble in their tournament games if they want to advance. This is a fact for every team out there, but the Rams commit over 20 fouls per game which is good for 311th in the country. They also commit a foul on 27% of possessions which ranks 331st in the country.
3 games in 3 days can always be an issue during the conference tournament. Some teams use it to their advantage, but some teams, especially if they aren’t very deep, can struggle with it. The Rams play 10 guys at least 10 minutes a game so they can easily go 10 deep. It will be interesting to see how/if this affects them during the tournament.