Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Five Good Questions with Paul Kenyon about Rhode Island Basketball

Today's Five Good Questions is with Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal-Bulletin....Paul covers the Rhode Island Rams who are 19-3 and ranked 19th in the RPI....

Q1. The Rams have three losses so far, but I noticed that one of their wins came against Syracuse earlier this season. What did the Rams do in that game to beat a team from one of the major conferences, the Big East?
A. Good shooting can cover a lot of bases. The Rams made their first nine 3-pointers in the Dome _ so much for the difficult background in the big arena _ and finished the game 12-for-18 on threes. The starting guards, Jimmy Baron and Parfait Bitee were a combined 10-for-13. URI had trouble stopping Syracuse. The Orange scored 89. But URI got 91.

Q2. Who are some of the Rams players we should get familiar with?
A. Will Daniels, a 6-8 forward, is having a tremendous season. He's a senior who had gotten better every year. He's averaging 18 points and nearly seven rebounds. Baron, the coach's son, is one of the best shooters in the country, with range as deep as anyone. He regularly shoot from 28 and 30 feet and is in the top 30 in the country for the second straight year in both 3s made and 3-point percentage. Bitee, the point guard, is a natural off guard who has learned a new role with on-the-job-training. He's having an excellent year, too, leading the A-10 in 3-point percentage and being in the top five in assists and assist/turnover ratio.

Q3. What area(s) must the team improve upon?
A. The team gambles a lot on defense, in part because it feels it has to. It is not strong overall defensively and is particularly vulnerable to a good big man who works inside. It also is a very average rebounding team.

Q4. What are Rhode Island's strengths?
A. As noted above, the team can put points on the board. As we stand today it is 13th in the country at just over 82 a game. Another strength is depth. Coach Jim Baron uses a nine-man rotation. Because the teams pushes the pace so much at both ends, that has helped wear down some teams. They've been a good second-half team.

Q5. What does this team have to do if they want to have a long tournament run in the Big Dance?
A. They have to keep pushing the pace, keep putting points on the board. They have scored at least 80 in 15 of their 22 starts thus far. They win by outscoring people, not out-defending teams.

I want to thank Paul for taking the time to is much appreciated...

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