Grading A10 Non-Conference Performances: Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Rams finish the non-conference season with an 8-5 record after beating Brown in overtime on Wednesday. They certainly had their fair share of both tough and thrilling games; this last overtime contest was the second one in the Rams’ last three matchups. In addition, Rhode Island has already played 8 games decided by 10 points or less this season. Despite 5 losses on its record, Rhode Island held up pretty decently against some difficult teams. Here’s a look at its performance in the non-conference slate of the season.
According to Kenpom, the Rams have three wins over top 150 teams: #110 Iona, #131 Houston, and #134 TCU. While all three of these wins are certainly solid, they’re not necessarily great wins that are going to boost Rhode Island’s resume. I’d say that out of this bunch, the best win will end up being over Houston. The Cougars beat LSU earlier this season and could have a chance to finish in the top 5 in the AAC.
Outside of these three wins, none stands out as very impressive, though the Rams didn’t get many problems from weaker opponents. One opponent that did cause Rhode Island issues was Brown. The Rams found a way to top the Bears on the road thanks in part to Four McGlynn’s 33 points. Rhode Island did good avoiding what would’ve been a bad loss.
Most of Rhode Island’s losses came to solid teams, all of which reside in Kenpom’s top 150: #18 Maryland, #32 Valparaiso, #41 Providence, #87 Old Dominion, and #149 Nebraska. Rhode Island ranks 70th itself, so any loss outside of the top 100 is probably not a good one. Maryland took care of the Rams, but Rhode Island almost managed to get a home victory over Providence. A win like that would have been a huge resume builder.
The only real bad loss I would point to in this bunch was against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers will not compete in the Big Ten or see the NCAA Tournament this year, and the Rams have to be frustrated with a 67-70 loss in Lincoln. Playing Nebraska on the road is never an easy task, but that’s another game that you can point to where Rhode Island was so close but fell just short.
Rhode Island: B-
Rhode Island didn’t beat a team in Kenpom’s top 100 but didn’t lose to a team outside of the top 150. That’s about as average as it gets. I think that Rhode Island has ended up on the wrong side of some close games too many times this season. They were fortunate to beat Iona and Brown (both games took overtime), but this Rams team seems to be better than its record shows. I think Rhode Island will have a legitimate shot at competing for a top 3 spot in the Atlantic 10 this year.