Our suspicions have been confirmed. According to Richmond’s official athletic site, Derrick Williams, the leading rebounder for the Spiders, will miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. Williams is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game on one of the worst rebounding teams in the country, so his loss really hurts Richmond. How badly? Let’s take a look.
Williams suffered a sprained ankle in the first half of Richmond’s game versus Davidson. He missed the game versus Air Force last weekend and will likely miss a few more games after tonight. Williams is one of the better inside players in the A-10, and he grabs over 20% of all of Richmond’s rebounds. So needless to say, the Spiders are hurting. They’re currently ranked 328th out of 347 Division I teams in boards, at 29.9 per game. When you remove Williams’ rebounds from the equation, they drop to 23.6 per game… or DEAD LAST in D-I. And it’s not even really close – Mount St. Mary’s is bringing up the rear with 25.5 rebounds per game. And tonight’s Richmond squad is averaging almost two full rebounds worse! To top it all off, the Spiders will be stuck with just one front-court player tonight with collegiate experience before this season (Greg Robbins). Their other big men – Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, Terry Allen, Luke Piotrowski, Trey Davis, and Deion Taylor – are all freshmen.
Granted, Ryan Brooks is the only big man with front-court experience for the Rams, but the three-headed monster of Brooks, Jordan Hare, and Mike Aaman should be able to have a big game tonight. Rhody’s front court play isn’t the best in the country by any stretch, but tonight could be a chance to see what they can really do. These guys are going to have to shine if URI expects to win. Can they do it? We’ll find out in a few hours.