The UMass Minutemen will host the Rhode Island Rams on Wednesday in an Atlantic-10 conference showdown. Last season these teams met twice, with Rhode Island winning both times straight up but failing to cover the spread.
Rams look to get above .500According to the preseason basketball poll, the Rhode Island Rams were predicted to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10. This season, the Rams have won three of their last four games and are 6-6 on the season and 3-2 in the A-10. Rhode Island went on the road in their last game and defeated VCU 83-68 as a six-point dog. Fatts Russells led the team with 23 points in the victory, and Jeremy Sheppard had 20 points in the victory. Rhode Island has also defeated St. Bonaventure 63-57 as a 1.5-point favorite and Saint Joseph's 85-77 as a 12-point favorite in conference play this season and has suffered defeat to Davidson 67-58 as a two-point favorite and Richmond 80-73 as a 4.5-point dog.
Rhode Island is averaging 73.8 points on the season and allowing 71.3 points on the defensive end. The Rams rank 91st according to KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency and 51st in adjusted defensive efficiency. Individually, Russell leads the Rams with 15.5 points, followed by Sheppard with 10.6 points.
UMass soaring offensivelyIn the 2020-21 men's basketball preseason poll, UMass was predicted to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen's top returning player from last season is preseason all-conference first-team selection Tre Mitchell, a 6'9 sophomore who averaged 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season and is averaging 20.7 points and 7.2 rebounds through the first six games this season. Carl Pierre, a 6’4 senior, is second on the team averaging 15.2 ppg. Pierre has started 91 of his 102 career games with the Minutemen.
UMass began the season with two non-conference games against the Northeastern Huskies on Dec. 11 and 13. The Minutemen took the first meeting, 94-79, as a seven-point home favorite but dropped the second match-up on the road 78-75 as a five-point favorite. UMass also lost to Bryant 93-88 on December 21 as a 9.5-point favorite. In conference play, UMass is 2-1 with an 85-66 win over LaSalle as 4.5 point favorite on December 16, a 93-92 loss as a 5.5 point underdog to George Mason as a 5.5-point favorite on December 30, and an 83-67win to LaSalle as a 6.5 point favorite on Saturday.
UMass is averaging 86.2 points on the season and allowing 79.3 points on the defensive end. The Minutemen rank 78th according to KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency and 168th in adjusted defensive efficiency