The Robert Morris Colonials come to State College tonight for PSU’s second game of the season. The game’s scheduled to tipoff at 7:30 and will be streamed on BTN.com for $3.
You should know who the Colonials are. They won the NEC bid to the NCAA tournament last season and played a tough game against Michigan State in the 1st round as a 15 seed. Their head coach, Mike Rice Jr., is the protege of Phil Martelli and Jamie Dixon. He’s in his 3rd year turning around the Robert Morris program. He took over the program from Mark Schmidt (a former PSU assistant under Parkhill) after 6 mediocre seasons. He has already led the Colonials to two of their best seasons in school history, going 26-8 in 07-08 and 27-11 last year.
- F – #1 Rob Robinson – 6’8″ Senior
- F – #24 Dallas Green – 6’8″ Senior
- F – #34 Russell Johnson – 6’6″ Sophomore
- G – #2 Mezie Nwigwe – 6’4″ Senior
- G – #3 Velton Jones – 6’0″ Sophomore
Velton Jones is filling in for SR G Jimmy Langhurst, who injured his hand weightlifting. Langhurst is expected to play tonight, but he won’t start.
The Colonials lost 3 guys from their 9 man rotation last year, including NEC POY Jeremy Chappell. The loss of Chappell is probably why they were picked 3rd in the NEC. They do return a good nucleus and are counting on some freshmen to come off the bench. You should check out a season preview by Colonialscorner.com.
They went to Syracuse and got waxed, 100-60 in a 84 possession game. They couldn’t slow down Syracuse’s attack, obviously. The Orangemen posted a 119.0 efficiency on offense and shot their way to a 69.2% eFG%. They connected on 13 of 26 attempts from behind the arc. Andy Rautins was on fire as he hit 7 of 10 from deep.
Robert Morris plays at a similar pace as Penn (roughly 66-70 possessions a game). They will turn the ball over. They turned it over 27 times against Syracuse and averaged a 22.1% TO% last season. They do rebound well for a mid-major, only getting outrebounded by ‘Cuse 37-36. The Colonials did grab 33.3% of the available offensive rebounds in the game.
Robert Morris is a program on the rise under Mike Rice, but they’re a bit inexperienced right now. They’re still trying to find their identity much like we are. They should be respected, but PSU has the talent to win this game. If PSU comes out sloppy, which is possible considering the time in the season, we could get beat, but after seeing Talor on Friday, I don’t know who will be able to guard him. The Cuse torched RMU’s perimeter D, so I expect PSU to be able to have some success as well. I’m looking for a big game from Babb.
Things to watch from PSU:
- Foul Shooting – Is this team really just as bad from the charity stripe as last year?
- Talor’s Rest – We have 5 games in 10 days. He already had to play 39 minutes against Penn, hopefully we can keep him around 35 and under tonight.
- Inside Game – We gotta make a better effort to feed the ball inside, if for nothing else, to get better ball movement on kicks outside.
- 1,000 – Battle needs 21 points to reach 1,000 in his career.
PREDICTION: No line tonight, but I’ll take the Good Guys, 75-66.