Rhode Island aims to score its first win of the season when it battles South Florida at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Rhode Island opened its season with two losses to Arizona State and Boston College. The Rams should land in the middle of the field at the Atlantic 10, so Saturday’s matchup could be a good resume for a team expected to be in the bubble in March.
South Florida opened its season with a win over Florida College at home before heading to Connecticut. The Bulls are expected to land in the top half of the Americans this season. A win on Saturday is therefore crucial to start the season on the right foot.
Rhode Island went through a whole host of changes in the off-season, but one thing remains true: the team revolves around Fatts Russell. The senior guard averaged 18 years old. 8 points per game last season and has 35 points in his first two games. He’s likely to be one of the front-runners for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year when the postseason approaches.
The Rams are having a tough start to the season, however, as they have to replace 60% of their hits from last season. Head coach David Cox brought in some talented transfers including Jalen Carey (from Syracuse), the Makhi and Makhel Mitchell brothers (Maryland), Allen Betrand (Towson) and Malik Martin (Charlotte). . However, it will take some time for the rams to gel. This is shown in the first two games. they put up a 46. 9% effective field goal percentage against Boston College and the State of Arizona.
The key to this game for the Rams will be pace. Rhode Island ranks 45th at pace. Place, while South Florida ranks 315. Place occupied. If you can turn this game into a track meeting, you have a good chance of winning as a little underdog.
South Florida has ended the 2019-20 season below . 500. However, with the return of the Alexis Yetna center, it will return a key piece in 2020. Yetna is the Bulls’ best player and has missed the entire last season due to injury. As a freshman, Yetna averaged almost double-doubles and will be a nightmare for Rhode Island.
Though the Bulls lost top scorer Laquincy Rideau, they made some key additions in the off-season. Head coach Brian Gregory brought in the top-rated recruit of his tenure in the four-star security guard Caleb Murphy. He also grabbed transfers of Prince Oduro (from the state of Mississippi) and Luke Anderson (from the state of Iowa).
South Florida’s strength last season was its defense, which it aims to improve in 2020. KenPom has South Florida as 55. predicts best defense in terms of defensive efficiency and it will only help get Yetna back.
The fighting over South Florida last year took place on the offensive end of the floor. The cops were in the bottom 100 of college basketball in pretty much every shooting category, only firing 65% off the free throw line. With a lot of talent in the guard positions, South Florida should be able to step up their offensive.
The key to this game will be Russell and the South Florida Forecourt. If Russell can take over and the Rams play at their pace, they should be able to win. If South Florida is able to slow the game down and mail the ball to Yetna, Rhode Island will have no answers.
I projected South Florida as -1. 22 favorites and the projected total at 139. 67. Because of the opening line from DraftKings, I don’t see any value as of early Saturday morning. However, if South Florida got to 1 or better, I’d pull the cops trigger. On the other hand, when Rhode Island comes down to 3. 5 or better, I’ll place a bet on the Rams.
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Rhode Island Rams Men’s Basketball, South Florida Bulls Men’s Basketball, College Basketball, Atlantic 10 Conference
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