Jan 4, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Rhode Island Rams guard EC Matthews (0) is defended under the basket by LSU Tigers forward Johnny O'Bryant III (2) in the first half at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Rhode Island Basketball: Guessing the 2014-15 Starting Lineup

Four and a half months.

If you’re counting down the days to the start to the 2014-15 Rhody basketball season, that’s roughly how many more days and weeks you have left to cross off the calendar. But instead of just wasting away the minutes, we figured it was time to make some way-too-early predictions. First up: the starting lineup. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who has a chance to work their way in midway through the season? Here are a few probably wrong predictions ideas:

The Locks

E.C. Matthews, G: Well, this one doesn’t really need an explanation, does it? The reigning Atlantic 10 (Co-) Rookie of the Year is also arguably Rhody’s best returning player. Matthews is a superstar in the making. He worked his way into the starting lineup last year and he ain’t going anywhere.

Hassan Martin, F: If Matthews is 1a, Martin is 1b. Rhody’s other star rising sophomore earned All-Rookie nods himself, and he’s another budding star in the A-10. The Rams have added some depth in the front court, but it’s hard to envision Martin losing out on his starting role.

Jared Terrell, G: It’s not likely that Dan Hurley brought in a Top 100 recruit to sit him on the bench. Terrell is a lock to start almost anywhere, and he can certainly find a spot in the URI lineup. The Rams ran a three-guard offense for much of last season. Terrell should slide right into Xavier Munford’s spot with no problem.

The Battles

Gilvydas Biruta vs Jordan Hare, F: With Martin (likely) at one of the forward spots, Rhody has a couple of candidates to play in the other post position. Biruta likely has the upper hand to earn the starting role, simply because he, you know, didn’t sit out all of last season. But don’t count out Hare just yet. He might start the year on the bench, but he could find himself jumping for the opening tip at some point next year.

T.J. Buchanan vs Biggie Minnis vs Jarvis Garrett, G: On to the biggest question mark of next year’s lineup… who will run the point? There’s Buchanan (the incumbent), Minnis (the true point), or Garrett (the rookie). It’s not too hard to find someone predicting any of these three guys. Will T.J. go back to being the “energy guy” off the bench? Will Garrett work his way into the lineup right away? Will Hurley give Minnis another shot now that he’s healthy? It’s something to keep an eye on as the summer rolls on.

The Bench

Earl Watson, F, Jarelle Reischel, F, Ifeanyi Onyekaba, F, Matthew Butler, G: While all four of these guys can bring different things to the table off the bench, it’s not likely that any of them will crack the top five… barring an injury. Reischel and Onyekaba saw some time in the starting lineup last season, but Rhody has improved their depth significantly. Look for these four to slide into a bench role and provide some quality minutes as subs.

So what do you guys think… especially about the PG battle? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: Basketball Rhode Island Rams

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