Robert Morris: 2009 NCAA Tournament Capsule

March 14th, 2009

Robert Morris Colonials

Northeast Conference (24-10, 15-3)


Big Wins: 1/5 at Mt. St. Mary’s (77-70), 1/10 at Sacred Heart (72-70), 3/11 vs Mt. St. Mary’s (48-46)

Bad Losses: 11/22 vs Marist (55-72), 12/4 St. Francis NY (79-87), 2/19 at Monmouth (57-60)

Last NCAA Appearance: 1992, First Round loss to UCLA

Coach: Mike Rice (First NCAA appearance)


Why They Can Surprise:

Robert Morris has a solid inside-outside scoring combination in Jeremy Chappell and Rob Robinson. Normally one would say that Chappell does a little bit of everything to help his team; however, in this case he does a lot of everything. Chappell leads the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Chappell, a 6-3 senior, will score in every way feasible and he hits 2.5 three-pointers per game and connects on 40.6 percent of his attempts. He is an extremely difficult player to stop and even if the outside shot in not falling, Chappell will score in other ways and it is a very rare occurrence when he does not score at least ten points in a game. And even when he does not score, he will play great defense and help the team in other ways.


Robinson, a 6-8 forward, has helped turn this group into a decent rebounding team. But he is also a great complimentary scorer to Chappell. Robinson spent a little time getting used to his new surrounding, but the junior has come on strong late in the season and all four of his 20 plus point outings have come since January 17th.


Why They Can Disappoint:

The Colonials have a lot of perimeter players who can find their teammates, but the turnover numbers are way too high. Along with Chappell, Bateko Francisco, Jimmy Langhurst, Mezie Nwigwe and Gary Wallace all dish out at least 1.9 assists per game. That is a lot of assists by a lot of players, but most of those guys also turn the ball over just as much as they find their teammates. RMU will pass the ball around quite a bit and look for a good shot and sometimes turnovers can be a result of those extra passes, but committing 15.5 per game is way too many for a team that that scores 71.4 points per game.


Who To Watch:

The other key for the Colonials is the production of the frontcourt. Dallas Green will usually start beside Robinson and he is a decent rebounder and will score a few points here and there. Coach Mike Rice would like to have Robinson on the floor as much as possible, but he gets into a lot of foul trouble. That puts pressure on roleplayers Josiah Whitehead and Ifeanyi Ehirim. Neither of those two can replace Robinson’s scoring output, but Whitehead is a decent rebounder and Ehirim is always a threat to block a shot or two. However, Green, Whitehead or Ehirim must be able to score in the paint if Robinson finds himself in foul trouble. 


By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 71.4 (111th in nation, 2nd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 65.6 (114, 2)

Field-Goal Percentage: 48.0 (22, 2)

Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (132, 2)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (131, 4)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.0 (13, 1)

Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (113, 4)

Rebound Margin: 1.7 (128, 4)

Assists Per Game: 15.5 (42, 2)

Turnovers Per Game: 15.5 (275, 7)


Probable Starters:

Jimmy Langhurst, Junior, Guard, 10.0 ppg, 2.3 apg

Bateko Francisco, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 2.2 apg

Jeremy Chappell, Senior, Guard, 16.9 ppg, 3.2 apg, 6.3 rpg

Dallas Green, Junior, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg

Rob Robinson, Junior, Forward, 11.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg


Key Roleplayers:

Ifeanyi Ehirim, Senior, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Mezie Nwigwe, Junior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 3.3 rpg

Gary Wallace, Sophomore, Guard, 5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg

Josiah Whitehead, Junior, Forward, 4.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg


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