If you take a quick glance at the Rhode Island Rams basketball schedule this season, you’ll no doubt spy some winnable games. This is not one of them. Rhody will head to the bayou on January 4th to take on a very tough opponent out of the SEC. The LSU Tigers will face three teams out of the Atlantic 10 this season as they open their 2013-14 campaign on the road against UMass. They’ll host St. Joseph’s in November before finishing up their mini A-10 slate when they welcome the Rams on January 4th.
2012-13 Record: 19-12 (9-9 in the SEC)
Key Losses: G Charles Carmouche, C Andrew Del Piero, G Corban Collins
Key Returners: F Johnny O’Bryant III, G Anthony Hickey, F Shavon Coleman
Player to Watch: F Johnny O’Bryant III
The Tigers are returning four of their five starters from a 19-win campaign a year ago, including their star power forward. O’Bryant III led LSU in both scoring and rebounding last season, tallying 13.6 and 8.7 per game, respectively. The 6’9″, 256-pounder racked up 15 double-doubles in his 29 games in 2012-13, including a stretch of five in a row during SEC play. Simply put, the guy is a machine. Rhody will have their work cut out for him as they try to limit O’Bryant III’s production.
Prediction: LSU 76 – Rhode Island 68
As it stands now, the match-up with LSU is URI’s toughest non-conference road game on the schedule. The Rams may very well end up playing Arizona in Arizona, but that remains to be seen. The Tigers aren’t exactly an SEC “powerhouse”, but they should be able to pack enough punch to defeat Rhody in what will be a good test for Dan Hurley’s squad.