Rhode Island won their first round game in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Can they do the same this year against 10 seed Oklahoma?
We’ve talked a whole lot about Oklahoma since Sunday. Which makes sense — this is the first ever meeting between the Rams and Sooners. They’re a high profile team with one of the highest profile players in the country. This one’s big. But perhaps we’ve lost a little focus on, you know, the team we actually cover. So let’s talk about Rhody. Can they handle Trae Young? Can they pick up their second NCAA Tournament win in as many years? Let’s dive in with a few keys to a win tomorrow.
Make Trae Young Uncomfortable – Note that this doesn’t say ‘stop Trae Young’. Or even ‘contain Trae Young’. Because those things might not be possible. But what the Rams need to do is frustrate him. Young has shown this year is that he’s young, he’s prone to mistakes, and it’s possible to get under his skin. It’ll start with Jeff Dowtin, but URI is likely to throw several looks at the freshman. Jared Terrell and Fatts Russell will also likely see some time against Young, and they need to make everything difficult for him. There’s no doubt Rhode Island is looking forward to the challenge.
Terrell Bounce-Back – Speaking of Terrell, he struggled a bit during the Atlantic 10 Tournament, particularly in the championship game. Obviously foul trouble played a role, but still, Rhody needs more from their senior star. If they get it tomorrow, the Rams will be in a great position to advance. If not… well, we’re not expecting that. You can’t keep JT down for long.
Big Time Langevine – Let’s just call it like it is: tomorrow’s game won’t be an ‘Andre Berry-type’ game. OU is fast, they use ball screens, and the attack on offense. Fortunately for Rhode Island, this is all right up Cyril Langevine’s alley. Can the big man step up for URI once again?
Get. Excited. Tomorrow’s the day.