After starting off the season with a bang, the Fordham Rams showed signs of a bright future. But since their winning streak has come to an end, and conference play has started, the hope of a successful season is starting to be questioned. While the Rams played great out of conference, their string of success is yet to be seen in conference play. Now sitting at 1-4 in Atlantic 10 play, it’s hard to feel anything other than what Fordham basketball fans have been used to recently. There is certainly room for concern as the season progresses.
While the Rams have showed that they are capable of competing early this season, it’s easy to wonder what’s behind their recent struggles. Below are some theories.
- The Absence of Joseph Chartnouy
Freshman point guard Joseph Chartnouy has yet to play in an Atlantic 10 contest this year, and the Rams could definitely use him. After rolling an ankle in practice, he has missed the last 5 games of conference play. The Rams have relied heavily on Chartnouy when he was healthy. He gave Fordham very consistent play, averaging 10 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds, while playing nearly 30 minutes per game. I should also probably mention that he is averaging 5 steals a game, ranking 8th in the country. With stats like that, it’s no surprise that his loss was such a big one. While the Rams have several talented players at the guard position, it’s no secret that Chartnouy has shown that he is one of the most reliable. According to Kenpom.com, Chartnouy is one of the team’s biggest contributor, being used on 24% of possessions. If the Rams want to get back to their winning ways, they’ll need Chartnouy’s help. With his return coming any time now, it’ll be interesting to see if the team can bounce back from their recent struggles.
2. Home court advantage
Fordham has lost just one game in the Rose Hill Gymnasium this year. After dropping the first game of the season on the road to UT-Arlington, the Rams proved that they are capable of winning at home. They followed their debut loss with 9 consecutive wins in the familiar Rose Hill Gym. Technically speaking, Fordham ended their win streak with a “home” loss vs Boston College but because that game was at the Barclays Center, I’m not considering it a home court advantage. With that being said, Fordham went undefeated in out of conference play this season while playing in the Bronx. The loss to Richmond was the only “true” home loss this season in a game that game took place over winter break. Is it possible that the absence of students affected their play? Of the Ram’s 6 losses, 4 were on the road, 1 was at the Barclays Center, and one was at home. The numbers show just how much success Fordham has had in their gym this season, and it should be interesting to see if this is just a coincidence or if there is really some truth to this theory. Regardless, if Fordham wants to compete in the Atlantic 10 they will have to find a way to win games on the road.
3. Maybe the Rams aren’t all that good
One common critique of this team was that they have not played any great teams. Many people who weren’t sold on Fordham often credited their win streak as nothing to get excited about because of the teams they were playing. Yes, their out of conference schedule was weak, but Fordham played well regardless. Several of the wins during their out of conference schedule were by double digit margins. I liked to think that Fordham would be doing better after playing how they did outside of the Atlantic 10, but unfortunately their success hasn’t translated into A10 play, yet. There is still plenty of time for Fordham to prove its doubters wrong but if it continues to struggle in conference, it is possible that the critics were right. Maybe this team simply isn’t as good as what we thought they were early in the season. Maybe we are all expecting too much. Maybe Jeff Neubauer’s one year rebuild will take longer than possible. Regardless of what it is, Fordham has already made great strides this season and exceeded expectations. There is still several opportunities for Fordham to show their true value.
We’ll see what the rest of the season holds for the Rams but what do you think is to blame for the Rams recent struggles? We’d love to hear your opinion.