Yes, the Rhode Island Rams only won eight games in the 2012-13 season. With that in mind, most pundits aren’t picking them to start steamrolling teams all of a sudden, which is totally understandable. But in looking at Rhody’s out-of-conference schedule, there are certainly a lot of wins to be had on the slate. Sure, if they face Arizona that’s likely a loss. And the other TBD opponents in the NIT Season Tip-Off could be tough as well. But other than that, the Rams have an excellent chance to get off to a hot start before Atlantic 10 play begins. Let’s take a look at their 11th game of the season.
2012-13 Record: 20-13 (12-4 in the Horizon League)
Key Losses: G Ray McCallum, F Nick Minnerath, G Jason Calliste
Key Returners: F Juwan Howard, Jr., F Evan Bruinsma, G Anton Wilson
Player to Watch: F Juwan Howard, Jr.
Yes, his dad is who you think it is. The 6’6″ forward is Detroit’s only returning starter this season, so it’s likely that all eyes will be on him to be the star. Howard, Jr.’s career began at Western Michigan, but he transferred to the Titans after just one season with the Broncos. He averaged 7.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game a year ago, but he could be poised for a much bigger season this year. URI’s defense is going to have to hound Howard, Jr.; he’s a threat to score from anywhere on the floor.
Prediction: Rhode Island 81 – Detroit 71
Not only did the Titans lose 80 percent of their starting lineup from a year ago, they also lost 79 percent of their scoring. Detroit would have been an extremely difficult game for the Rams a year ago, but with last year’s star Ray McCallum now with the Sacramento Kings, the game becomes much more winnable. Rhody should pick up the win in Preston Murphy’s old stomping ground.