The remainder of the 2013 NIT Season Tip-Off was officially announced on Wednesday, and the Rhode Island Rams have picked up two additional home games as part of the consolation bracket. The opponents aren’t exactly world beaters, but with the way Rhody is playing, it could be exactly what they need to work through their struggles. First up, tonight’s contest against the 1-4 UNC Asheville Bulldogs.
2012-13 Record: 16-16 (10-6 in the Big South)
Key Losses: F Jeremy Atkinson, G Keith Hornsby, F Jon Nwannunu
Key Returners: G Trent Meyer, F Will Weeks, C D.J. Cunningham
Player to Watch: G Andrew Rowsey
Asheville has a very balanced scoring attack, but they’re led by freshman Andrew Rowsey. The 5’10” point guard is averaging 14.6 points per game on the season to lead the Bulldogs as he’s reached double-figures in every game but one. Rowsey is not a terrific shooter (43 percent from the field on the season), but he does pose a threat to bury a three-ball or two. If he has a weakness, it’s his passing. Rowsey has a 1:1 (or 2.4:2.4, to be exact) assist-to-turnover ratio in his young career. Likewise, it doesn’t come as a surprise that UNC-A is 329th in the country in assists-per-game with a paltry 9.6.
Prediction: Rhode Island 79 – UNC Asheville 74
If we knew about this game before the season began, you most likely would have seen a more lopsided score predicted here. But the Rams have been struggling – even against the cupcakes. That said, Asheville is not very good. And if Hurley makes the changes that he referred to in Saturday’s post-game press conference, Rhody could get that extra boost they’ve been looking for. It’ll be just enough to get them the win.