2008 NIT Capsule: Rhode Island
Atlantic 10 (21-11, 7-9)
Big Wins: 11/18 vs UAB (74-69), 12/8 at Syracuse (91-89), 2/2 Datyon (82-70)
Bad Losses: 11/21 at Boston College (72-76), 1/17 at Saint Louis (61-68), 2/27 at George Washington (68-85)
Coach: Jim Baron
Parfait Bitee, Senior, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 4.8 apg
Jimmy Baron, Junior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 2.0 apg
Kahiem Seawright, Junior, Forward, 9.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Will Daniels, Senior, Forward, 18.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Jason Francis, Junior, Forward, 2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Keith Cothran, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 2.0 apg
Lamonte Ulmer, Sophomore, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Joe Mbang, Senior, Forward, 6.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Rhode Island has a couple of solid scorers in guard Jimmy Baron and forward Will Daniels. Baron, the coach’s son, spends most of his time on the perimeter. He knocks down over three shots per game from beyond the arc and averages 14.3 points per game. He is getting a little better at mixing up his game and getting to the basket, but there is still room to improve in that department.
Up front Will Daniels will do a majority of the scoring. The 6-8, 225 pound forward will play facing the basket most of the time and he can step outside and hit the long ball relatively consistently. Daniels averages nearly 19 points per game and can score a lot of buckets in a hurry. The rest of the frontcourt might not be as explosive as Daniels, but Kahiem Seawright, Keith Cothran, Lamonte Ulmer and Joe Mbang have the ability to hit double digits in the scoring department on any given night.
Why They Can Disappoint:
With a high scoring offense comes turnover problems and the Rams commit about 14 a game. That is not horrible, but Rhode Island will have to try and keep that number down as much as possible if they want to make a run in the tournament. They will also need to take advantage of every opportunity they have and that includes hitting free-throws. The team shoots under 70 percent from the charity stripe. Baron is great from the line and hits over 91 percent of his attempts, but the entire group of forwards are in the 60 percent range and that might not be good enough in March.
Who To Watch:
Parfait Bitee is in charge of keeping the up-tempo offense under control. He averages 4.8 assists per game and just 2.4 turnovers. That is not bad at all considering how fast the Rams run their offense. Bitee is not a pure distributor however and he will hit the outside shot with amazing consistency. Bitee hits two long balls per game and shoots over 51 percent from beyond the arc. That would rank among the best in the nation if he took a few more attempts.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.8 (13th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.4 (286, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (40, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 54.5 (152, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (94, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.0 (53, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.5 (151, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (95, 4)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (75, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (144, 8)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Florida
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