Date: Sunday, December 13th
School Location: Kingston, RI
Coach: Dan Hurley (4th year)
Conference: Atlantic 10
2015-16 Record: 6-3
Nebraska comes back in to The Vault on Sunday to take on the Rhode Island Rams. While the 66-63 loss last year looked like a Ram's upset of the Huskers, this year will be different.
The Ram's are looked at, along with Dayton and Davidson, as the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 conference this year. They are good and they have an athletic roster that has come close to a couple of upsets this year. In reality, they are only 5 points away from being 8-1 versus 6-3.
2014-15 Season: 23-10 (13-5 Conference)
Last season was big year for Rhode Island basketball. They finished the year tied for second place in the conference and made the NIT tournament where they lost in the second round to eventual champion Stanford. This is a team that has fallen on some rough years and has bounced back well under coach Dan Hurley.
The season has actually gone better than their record shows. Their first lost came to Horizon conference stalwart Valparaiso by 3 points. This was was game that they were in and probably should have won but lost on free throws. Unfortunately this was also their first game without their standout guard E.C. Matthews who is out for the season with a knee injury. Their second loss was against national power Maryland and third was a close game to Big East heavy hitter and rival Providence.
While the Rams have struggle at times during games they are an athletic team who pass the ball around well. They have five players who are all shooting double digits for the year and are fairly strong on defense.
Players to Watch:
Hassan Martin: Hassan is one of their best players from last year and is continuing to be a dominant player for the Rams. He is currently leading the team with both 11.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg. This forward is physical and the Huskers will need to keep him contained if they want to pull off this win.
Kuran Iverson: Kuran is a transfer from Memphis and has been an immediate contributor to the team so far this year. He is averaging 11.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Kuran was one of the top recruits in the county in 2013 but never seemed to live up to his billing at Memphis. He had little playing time and only averaged around 4 points a game. He came to Rhode Island after a some off the court problems at Memephis. The transfer seems to be a good fit for him and has helped the team so far through the season.
Jared Terrell: Jared is another player who was a big help to the Rams last year and has seen even more productivity this season. While he has had his shooting droughts he is averaging 11.4 ppg and is a force on the floor.
What might happen:
Rhode Island sneaked up and beat the Huskers last year on their way to one of their best seasons in a long time. They not only have a lot of that talent coming back but also brought in some great players who are contributing right away. Even without E.C. Matthews the team is playing well as a whole and probably should be 8-1 with the lone loss coming to Maryland.
If I were Nebraska I would be upset with the loss on Wednesday but take that frustration out on the Rams. The Huskers need to come out hot and use the entire floor to their advantage. We have seen the aggression against upper level teams this year and this could be the breakthrough game for us. Do not let them get ahead and make your shots count. Another scoring drought could doom the Big Red.