I’m going to try something a little different for the Rhode Island game by stealing one from the play book our fellow Fansided counterparts at Rhody Rampage. Editor Dave Ascoli likes to list five keys to the game to prepare his readers for what’s ahead. Here’s his take on tomorrow’s game. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to reciprocate.
Remember that the Game Starts at Noon
This serves as a reminder to both fans and players alike. Since the NJIT game, the Dukes seem like they’ve gotten the times mixed up and arrived late mentally. They managed to claw their way back against the Highlanders, but never fully recovered from slow starts in their recent 0-4 Atlantic 10 run. The Dukes can send a message if they begin hot in a tough environment like the Ryan Center.
Get Offense From More Than Two Players
This goes without saying, but the Dukes need to bust out of their slump in a big way. Ovie Soko and Micah Mason have upheld their ends of the bargain. The Dukes will need a big game from at least one of Derrick Colter, Dominique McKoy or Jeremiah Jones plus a decent performance or two off the bench to have a chance.
Take Advantage Of The Opportunities
Basketball is a game of runs and Rhode Island in particular is a team of runs. In each of the Rams matches I’ve watched this season, they’ve played like world beaters for stretches and like most of the world could beat them at others. The Dukes have failed to capitalize on their chances often this season. They will not win if they can’t in Kingston.
Don’t Settle For Jump Shots
Rhode Island does two things that favor the Dukes. First, they foul a lot. Second, they don’t defend particularly well in the paint. The Dukes need to pound the ball inside, try to generate contact and put either Gilvydas Biruta or Hassan Martin on the bench early. The Rams have limited interior depth. I’d love to see the Dukes find a way to exploit it while getting some easy baskets in the process.
Let the Young Rams Make the Mistakes
The Dukes need to play smart and take care of the basketball. Rhode Island will make mistakes if you give them opportunity to. They turn the ball over quite often and from what I’ve seen, they don’t always defend well in transition. The Dukes treated fans to some rough basketball recently, but earlier in the season, they played responsibly. With their lack of a true point guard, Jim Ferry would be wise to have his team pressure the Rams back court to try to win the turnover battle.
While the rest of the league won’t bat an eyelash at this one, Duquesne and Rhode Island fans should pay close attention as the winner puts themselves in the driver’s seat for the all important 11 seed to avoid the Atlantic 10 tournament play in game. In all likelihood, this accomplishment won’t mean much for either team’s chances this year, but for two struggling programs, I think you hang your hat on whatever you can.