#52 Rhode Island Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Rhode Island Rams

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #52
Conference Rank: #4 Atlantic 10

Rhode Island Team Page#52 Rhode Island Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Rhode Island Basketball Tickets

Rhode Island finished with a 13-5 record in the Atlantic 10, but was left out of the NCAA Tournament. But they did make it to the NIT, where the Rams beat Iona before falling at Stanford in the second round. Another trip to the NIT would be a bit of a disappointment for this team. They have all the pieces to end their NCAA drought that dates back to 1999. If the drought is going to end, it will be because of E.C. Matthews. The 6-5 junior guard averaged a team high 16.9 points per game and added 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists. But inefficient shooting and too many turnovers, by Matthews and the team as a whole, doomed URI last season and that could be what keeps them on the wrong side of the bubble again in 2015-2016.

2014-15 Record: 23-10, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Dan Hurley
Coach Record: 45-49 at Rhode Island, 83-72 overall

Who’s Out:
The Rams also lose a couple of experienced starters in Gilvydas Biruta and Biggie Minnis. Biruta, a 6-8 forward, averaged 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds. That was not the season most expected from the big man, but he is still a very significant loss. Minnis never turned into that consistent scorer that it seemed like he would and he averaged just 3.7 points per game as a junior. T.J. Buchanan was relegated to the bench during his senior season, averaging 5.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals. Jarelle Reischel was in the regular rotation, but the stretch four only averaged 9.1 minutes per game. Matthew Butler and Eric Youncofski were even further down the bench.

Who’s In:
Coach Dan Hurley will fill in the holes around his superstars with a few transfers and a couple of decent freshmen. Four McGlynn, a graduate transfer from Towson who started his collegiate career at Vermont, will make a big splash right away. Back in 2011-2012 he was the America East Rookie of the Year and led the Catamounts in scoring with 12.0 per game. Last year at Towson he also led the team with 12.0 points per game. He is a scorer, but more importantly for this Rhode Island team, he can shoot. Kuran Iverson, a 6-9 power forward, comes from Memphis where he spent two years earning very little playing time. Andre Berry, a junior college transfer, will also add depth in the frontcourt. Berry is not going to score much right away, but he can grab some boards and play some decent defense. Christion Thompson and Nicola Akele are the incoming freshmen. Thompson has the potential to be a quality shooter off of the bench. On a team that desperately needs shooters, he will get a chance to earn quality minutes right out of the gate.

Who to Watch:
Hassan Martin is the superstar in the frontcourt. Like Matthews, he is just a junior, but he is also a proven playmaker. Last season Martin averaged 11.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. That is a lot of production for a sophomore. The rest of the A-10 should be very afraid that Martin is only going to get better. This was the best defense in the A-10 last season and Martin is a huge reason why. They will also be one of the best defenses in the conference this year and you can be sure Martin will have his hand in that again. Jared Terrell made a name for himself with his defense as well. The sophomore guard led the team in steals, but also averaged 9.2 points per game. Jarvis Garrett, another sophomore, stepped into the starting lineup in January of his freshman year and played very well. He is a capable shooter, but the fact that he dished out 2.8 assists with just 1.4 turnovers is a great sign of things to come.

Final Projection:
If Garrett can help this team keep the turnovers under control, Rhode Island has a very, very good shot at making the NCAA Tournament. Getting some shooting help from players like McGlynn and Thompson would certainly help too. Matthews and Martin can score a lot of points in the paint if somebody else is a real threat to shoot. The problem area could be in the frontcourt where Martin needs to find a new partner in crime. Earl Watson, a 6-7 senior, is an interesting option, but most of the minutes will likely come from Iverson and Berry. Rhode Island cannot afford to make it too easy to double team Martin. But even if Rhode Island fails to make the NCAA Tournament in 2016, they will be eyeing a huge season in 2016-2017.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jarvis Garrett, Sophomore, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Jared Terrell, Sophomore, Guard, 9.2 points per game
E.C. Matthews, Junior, Guard, 16.9 points per game
Kuran Iverson, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Hassan Martin, Junior, Forward, 11.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.6 (164th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.2 (30, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (93, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (55, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.4 (325, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.3 (313, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.5 (292, 11)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (76, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (142, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (283, 10)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#29 EC Matthews


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