Philly Hoop Group Classic Preview: Game 1

Who:  Rhode Island Rams

Where:  The Palestra

When :  Friday, 6:30 PM EST

TV:  CN8

Here’s a scouting report on the URI Rams…

Starters

  • Marquis Jones – 6’1″ Sophomore
  • Jimmy Baron – 6’3″ Senior
  • Keith Cothran – 6’4″ Junior
  • Delroy James – 6’8″ Junior
  • Kahiem Seawright – 6’8″ Senior

Schedule Thus Far (4-1)

  • Brown : W – 76-74
  • @ Duke : L – 79-82
  • @ Monmouth : W 85-62
  • VCU : W – 92-86
  • Hartford : W – 94-72

The Rams love to run-n-gun it on offense.  They’re experienced, balanced, and score a lot of points.  Jimmy Baron is one of the best shooters in the country (you know that if you saw them vs. Duke).  Only Stephen Curry and Jamarco Warren of Charleston Southern have made more 3’s on the season than Baron.  He’s poured in 22 makes out of 39 attempts for a 56% clip.  He leads the Rams with 18.2 PPG.  Keith Cothran isn’t quite the bomber from downtown like Baron, but he’s averaging 17.8 PPG.  As RIU’s most athletic guard, most of his production comes from inside the arc. Kahiem Seawright and Delroy James give this team great balance inside. Seawright is a senior, who’s been starting the last 2 seasons so he has a great deal of experience.  He’s a reliable scoring option in the paint (12.4 PPG) and a quality rebounder (averages roughly 7 RPG for his career).  He also has a respectable ability to alter shots inside. Delroy James has progressed tremendously for the Rams.  He was a key-reserve last season but had minimal production.  He earned the starting role this season, replacing graduated Will Daniels. He’s been a surprise for URI, exploding for 21 points and 8 rebounds on the road against #5 Duke. Considering replacing Daniels was a big question mark for URI coming into the season, Rams fans have to be excited by James’ play. Marquis Jones is a 1st year point guard, but he certainly isn’t depended on to score.  He’s done a great job thus far of controlling the tempo, allowing URI to run-n-gun while taking care of the basketball.  He’s accumulated a 3:1 Assist-Turnover ratio in 5 games this season.  6’6″ Junior, Lamonte Ulmer, is the 6th man.  He’s experienced and contributes 7.2 PPG in just 18 MPG.  Backup point guard, Stevie Meija, along with 6’7″ Ben Eaves and 7’0″ Will Martell have appeared in all of URI’s games so far, as well.

Rhode Island has been highly efficient on offense.  As mentioned, they like to play fast and get out and run.  They’ve averaged a fast 70.8 possessions per game.  Even more impressive is their 1.2 Points Per Possession clip (9th highest in the country).  That’s how they’re averaging 85.2 PPG.  It’s going to be tough for PSU to stop these guys.  Battle and Pringle must be all over Baron and hopefully they can force some turnovers from the still inexperienced Jones.  Seawright is going to be the best post-man we’ve played to date.  It’ll be a great test for Andrew Jones defensively.  Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble.  This team presents a lot of interesting matchups, but none of them should be problematic, unless Jones is in foul trouble and their size gives us troubles.  Now, while URI has been amazing offensively, they haven’t been impressive defensively.  They’re ranked 280th in D-1 basketball in defensive efficiency, giving up a Penn State-like 1.08 PPP.  And we all know how awful we’ve been defensively in recent years.  So we should be able to score against these guys.

This is a very interesting matchup for Penn State.  It’s a matchup of strengths vs. strengths.  Both teams rebound well, take care of the ball (only 15 TOs the last 2 games for PSU), and are efficient on offense.  I’m not sure if our guards’ legs are going to be able to handle what looks to be a fast-frenzied game after all the heavy minutes they’ve been playing recently.  They’re deeper than we are, and they have played significantly better competition to date.  However, we should have a home crowd and we did get the luxury of playing at the Palestra on Tuesday.  So we have a mini home-court advantage going for us.

I believe for the good guys to win, we must hit more 3-pointers than URI and for the love of God, can we make our foul shots?  Something around 70% as a team?  If we do that, I think PSU will come out as the winner.  This is going to be a very close game, though.  It should be a great one.  It’s crucial for PSU’s postseason chances to win just for the simple fact that playing Villanova will do much more for our RPI than Towson would.

PREDICTION: PSU is a 1 point underdog. I’ve been let down too many times by coach DeChellis and his staff to really take PSU here. I’ll take the Rams by 7.

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3 Responses to Philly Hoop Group Classic Preview: Game 1

  1. I’m going against conventional wisdom here and picking PSU to pull the “upset.” Jimmy Baron is a lock to put up at least 25 tonight.

  2. That last post was rather confusing. What I mean to say is that Jimmy Baron will light it up but I think we’ll respond with just enough firepower to overcome it.

  3. […] myself out of my turkey-induced stupor in order to remember all this. Taking a quick skim through Crispin and Cream’s preview though, it sounds like Rhode Island plays a very similar up-tempo style like us and enjoys scoring […]

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