February 7, 2012

Scouting the Rhode Island Rams

Record: 5-19 Overall (2-7 Conference)

Notable wins: UMass, at Dayton, at Boston College

Notable Losses: Temple, St. Bonaventure, LaSalle, Fordham, Duquesne, GWU, Richmond

Starting Personnel

#4 Mike Powell- 5'11 freshman PG: Leading assist man also averages 8.9 points per contest.

#20 Billy Baron- 6'2 sophomore SG: Shooter leads team at 13.5 points per game and is lethal from three.

#23 Nikola Malesevic- 6'7 junior SF: Versatile offensive weapon averages 12.3 points, is on a scoring streak.

#35 Jonathon Holton- 6'9 freshman PF: Averages 10.6 points and a team high 8.2 rebounds per game.

#12 Orion Outerbridge- 6'9 senior C: Scores 11.8 points per game while grabbing 7 rebounds as well.

Bench Personnel

#0 Andre Malone- 6'6 junior SG: Fresh off of suspension and averaging 9.3 points a game.

#13 TJ Buchanan: 6'3 freshman PG: Backup ballhandler averages just 3.4 points in limited minutes.

#5 Dominique McKoy- 6'7 freshman SF: Young talent scores just 2.8 points in limited minutes.

Senior guard Jamal Wilson was dismissed from the team in December. Prior to that Wilson was averaging a team high 17.5 points per game.

Xavier Defensive Keys

-Dominate with intensity: The Rams are averaging 68.3 points per game but struggle on the road and against pressure. By averaging 15 turnovers per game the Rams have also shown that they are able to be forced into mistakes. If Xavier comes out with forty minutes of intensity; particularly the opening stretch; then they can run Rhode Island right out of the gym.

-Own the painted area: All three frontline players for Rhode Island are averaging double figures in scoring, and have become the Rams main source of offense along with the shooting of Baron. Limiting points in the paint might be priority number for the Musketeers defensively.

-Rebound the ball: The Rams are out rebounding their opponents by over 3.2 boards per game, which makes up for them only shooting 41% from the field. Xavier controlling the glass will make it hard for Rhode Island to win this game.

Xavier Offensive Keys

-Don't settle: Rhode Island is allowing teams to score a staggering 75.5 points per night and are not known as the most intense of defensive teams. Xavier can get whatever shots they want if they run their offense so not settling for early three pointers or contested shots will be key.

-Balance the load: The Rams are allowing opponents to shoot over 49% from the field, meaning if Xavier moves the ball around, especially if they can establish the paint off of post touches and ballscreen rolls, then the Musketeers should put up a lot of points against a team that isn't very good defensively.

Overall: Xavier needs to dominate this game to give the impression that they are still the top dogs in the Atlantic 10. This is almost like football's equivalent of a BCS game; margin of victory will matter. With the Musketeers facing a Rams team that has only won 5 total games this far into the season there is no substitute for victory.

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