Anything can happen during the NCAA Tournament. As one of the team’s firmly planted on the bubble, the Rhode Island Rams can really make some noise if they can get to the Big Dance.
Rhode Island was a trendy top-25 pick at the beginning of the season. After a somewhat lackluster showing during non-conference play, they fell out of the polls. However, it was a brutal non-conference schedule that they faced, pitting them against teams such as Cincinnati, Duke, and Valparaiso.
The Rams have a victory over one top-25 opponent in Cincinnati, but losses to Houston and Providence will no doubt hurt their chances come Selection Sunday. Although, during the team’s loss to Houston, star player Hassan Martin was out with injury, something the committee should take into consideration.
Despite losing twice to Dayton, Rhode Island has been quite good in conference play, beating teams such as Davidson, St.Joes, and George Washington. The Atlantic 10 is no slouch division, there are a lot of Cinderella-esque teams that can pull an upset. However, Rhode Island might need to win the A-10 tourney to make the Big Dance.
If they can indeed make the NCAA Tournament, expect the Rams to be quite dangerous. Led by big man Hassan Martin and his 14 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, Rhode Island is one of the best shot-blocking teams in all of the country. And with E.C. Matthews back after last year’s devastating injury, expect Rhode Island to be a menace to any team that gets in their way.
Despite a sub-par non-conference record, don’t count out the Rams as NCAA Tournament hopefuls. They’ve lost both meetings to A-10 favorite, Dayton, but with the A-10 tourney just around the corner, expect the Rhode Island Rams to make a late surge into the field of 68.
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