#25 Rhode Island Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Rhode Island Rams
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10
It only took ten minutes for Rhode Island’s 2015-2016 season to go south. E.C. Matthews tore his ACL in the season opener and the Rams were never able to recover. They ended up with a 17-15 record overall and 9-9 in A-10 play. With Matthews back though, the expectations are back up where they were heading into last season. Two years ago the 6-5 guard averaged 16.9 points per game and was a major threat to score from anywhere on the floor. He also can create for his teammates and play solid defense.
2015-16 Record: 17-15, 9-9
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: Dan Hurley
Coach Record: 62-64 at Rhode Island, 100-86 overall
Who’s Out:
The lone starter lost is Four McGlynn, a 6-2 guard who averaged 11.6 points per game. He connected on a team high 76 three-pointers on the year. McGlynn was mostly just a shooter, but he did that extremely well. Earl Watson, a 6-7 center, is the only other significant departure. He averaged 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds during his senior season. Little used Shane Plunkett and Rory Temkin have also run out of eligibility.
Who’s In:
With so much talent returning, Coach Dan Hurley does not need much production from his newcomers. However, he will get some production from this group. Combo guard Jeff Dowtin is a talented freshman guard who can down shots. Stanford Robinson, a transfer from Indiana, will provide plenty of depth on the wing. He is a solid and versatile defender and that alone will earn him plenty of minutes off of the bench. In the frontcourt, the Rams add incoming freshmen Cyril Langevine, Mike Layssard and Michael Tertsea. Langevine was a nice pickup for the Rams and he could be the answer at power forward in the future. Layssard should make a bigger impact this year. The 6-9, 280 pounder will provide some much needed size in the frontcourt.
Who to Watch:
Jarvis Garrett and Jared Terrell are back to start on the perimeter. Garrett is a superb floor leader and shooter and will be one of the best point guards in the conference again this season. He connected on 41.9 percent of his three-point attempts and dished out 4.7 assists per game. Terrell was the team’s top scorer last season, averaging 13.6 points per game. He really stepped up his game in Matthews absence. In the frontcourt, Kuran Iverson and Hassan Martin will return to their starting spots. Iverson is a beast on the glass and averaged 7.1 rebounds per game. He is also developing into a good scorer who can stretch the defense with his shooting and do some scoring in the paint. Martin is a major presence on both ends of the floor. He was named the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year after blocking 2.5 shots per game. He also added 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Final Projection:
With forward Nicola Akele and guard Christion Thompson joining the newcomers off of the bench, Coach Hurley has a lot of depth to work with. He also has a slew of experience. And that is a recipe for success in the A-10 and beyond. This is a program on the rise and this is finally the year that Rhode Island should finally get to the NCAA Tournament, assuming Matthews can remain healthy.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jarvis Garrett, Junior, Guard, 12.5 points per game
Jared Terrell, Junior, Guard, 13.6 points per game
E.C. Matthews, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Kuran Iverson, Senior, Forward, 9.8 points per game
Hassan Martin, Senior, Forward, 12.0 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (257th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.8 (26, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.4 (162, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (123, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (207, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.5 (82, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.9 (284, 12)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (97, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.2 (247, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (70, 7)