Monday, March 25, 2013

Game Day: RMU at Providence

Tonight, the Robert Morris Colonials (24-10) will take on the Big East's own Providence Friars (18-14) in the second round of the NIT tournament. Providence, a four seed, defeated Charlotte in the first round while Robert Morris is fresh off their biggest win in the history of the program. The winner of this game will take on Baylor later in the week. Tip-off is at seven and you can catch the game on ESPNnews,, or tune in to 730 WPIT AM with Chris Shovlin. Andrew Chiappazzi of gives some interesting insight, we encourage you to give it a full read:
Providence is a bit of a chameleon, a Big East team capable of grinding it out with physical defensive play on the perimeter and a large presence inside in Kadeem Batts, and an ACC-team willing to get out and run behind the steady backcourt duo ofVincent Council and Bryce Cotton. 
"It's going to be a situation where if they feel they have an opportunity to break, they're going to take off and they're not going to stop until we get back in transition defense," Toole said. "If they need to slow it down and execute offense, they can do that as well."
Providence is an interesting, and very inconsistent, team. Like Andrew pointed out, they're a complete team capable of playing a multitude of different styles. They looked good against a tough Charlotte team and have more than enough players that can take over a game if needed.

Could this be the last we see of
Velton Jones? (p/c: Justin Berl)
Bryce Cotton is the name to know. Cotton was one of the Big East's best scorers averaging 19 points per game. A lot of the offense runs through him and while his point totals are impressive his shooting percentages (43 from the field, 36 from deep) are... average. 

Forward Kadeem Batts can bang down low in his big, 6'10'' frame and is very efficient from the field and a solid rebounder. Forward LaDontae Henton is the team's third leading scorer but is not very efficient from the field. 

It's the same old song and dance for RMU right now. The keys to the game are the same as what they have been all year: Can they rebound against a solid rebounding team like Providence and can they hit the three ball. If they can do those things, than there's no reason for RMU not to walk away with a win.

I'm interested to see if head coach Andy Toole starts Anthony Myers-Pate as his starting point guard again or if he goes back to Velton Jones. I don't think it matters too much, but Myers-Pate is definitely playing his best ball of the season and if he can set the tone early again it could go a long way for RMU. Also, RMU needs to get something from Karvel Anderson from behind the arc, who seems to really be struggling with his broken wrist.

The Colonials have to prove to the nation that their upset over Kentucky wasn't a fluke, and that's what is so exciting about tonight. Beating a good team on your home court is one thing, but flying out to a hostile environment in a win-or-go-home tournament is another. If this really is the last time we watch Velton Jones and Russell Johnson (and very possibly coach Toole) I hope everyone understands how much they've meant to this program and everything they've done to make Robert Morris what it is. Speaking of, Velton Jones only needs eight dimes to give him the all-time assist record and Johnson needs nine rebounds for the all-time rebounding record. 

Prediction: Why not? Lets keep this thing going with a 67-66 victory.

--Chris Cappella

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