Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Rhode Island has potential amidst some difficulty

December 12, 2014 Columns No Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Non-conference play has been both a time of promise and a time of difficulty for Rhode Island. The promise has shown in the wins and at times in some of the losses, while the difficulty is certainly there in losses like Wednesday’s 68-60 loss at arch-rival Providence. In that game, as much as any, you can see the potential as well as the areas of concern for this team.

In running out to a 5-3 start, Rhode Island has certainly impressed at times and looked like a team that has put most of the growing pains of last season behind them. The Rams are more talented as a whole, and holdovers pressed into more immediate duty last season than the staff probably wanted have benefited from that. E.C. Matthews looks ready to blossom into one of the Atlantic 10’s best talents, while Hassan Martin looks stronger and more confident. Freshman Jared Terrell has made an instant impact and classmate Jarvis Garrett helps off the bench.

You see this in the win over Nebraska early in the season, a game where Matthews had a big double-double and Martin had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots to help them win despite shooting 34.4 percent from the field. You see this in the 75-43 thumping of Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, a game where they forced 23 turnovers and shot nearly 66 percent from the field. And you saw some of it against Providence, where Matthews had a season-high 27 points on 9-15 shooting.

But the Rams also have plenty of room to grow, and on Wednesday that was evident at the offensive end for starters. The Rams turn the ball over 14 times per game, a number topped by just three Atlantic 10 teams. They shoot below 31 percent from long range. And this is still not an overly experienced team, evidenced by some of the decisions they make on offense.

On Wednesday, Providence slowed the pace, and Rhode Island either turned the ball over or took a questionable shot too many times. They gave it away 15 times, and while they shot 46.8 percent from the field, they lost the possession battle as Providence had three fewer turnovers and a 32-26 rebounding edge. The Rams did just enough to hang around but not enough to seriously threaten the Friars until the final minute.

“That stretch in the second half, in particular, where we continually turned the ball over around the 12-minute mark, was really debilitating,” said head coach Dan Hurley.

The stretch Hurley alluded to was one that saw Providence score six straight points as part of an 11-2 run to go up by nine, before battling back with the next six points. Providence then scored seven more unanswered to get the lead up to double digits, aided by Ram turnovers and bad shots. It was too deep a hole to climb out of.

The Rams have been a good defensive team thus far, but didn’t keep that up against the Friars. Providence shot 50 percent from the field on Wednesday and turned the ball over 12 times. Coming into the game, opponents were shooting 40 percent against the Rams and giving the ball away over 15 times per outing. Wednesday also marked the second time all season a team had more assists than turnovers against them; the Rams have lost both, with the other one coming against Kansas in Orlando.

Rhode Island had some success when they pressed Providence late. It was somewhat surprising considering that they put a lot of pressure on the ball in the halfcourt all night long, and often got burned by good ball movement and successful drive-and-dish plays by Providence. Late in the game, they forced some Providence turnovers and got baskets from it, eventually getting within three in the final minute.

That, along with the Rams appearing to have some depth in the backcourt, gives reason to believe this team might do well to press more. It’s a possibility going forward, especially looking back at earlier games they lost (to Kansas and Georgia Tech in Orlando).

“In retrospect, all three times we’ve played those games this year, our approach should have been more aggressive from the start,” Hurley reflected.

The non-conference slate lightens up the rest of the way, as all three remaining games are at home. All three are winnable, though the last is against a Brown team that won in the same building two nights earlier. As this portion winds down, the promise they have shown has to be a larger percentage of their game than the difficulty, and they will have to overcome the difficulty better.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 1

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 1 of the podcast as Championship Week rolls on, we look at some important games in New York, as well as surprises in the Big 12. Also, more coaching changes are happening, and we talk about some of the news there.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.