Robert Morris (0-5) at Tennessee Tech (2-2)
When: November 27th, 2015, 7pm
Where: Hooper Eblen Arena, Cookeville, Tennessee
KenPom: RMU 220, Tenn Tech 283
KenPom Line: Tenn Tech -1
Link: ESPN Radio 970 AM (iHeart radio App), OVC Digital Network
Storyline: Robert Morris remains on the road as they look for that elusive first win in enemy territory. Can Elijah Minnie build of a career high 29 point outing? Can Rodney Pryor get back on track?
Getting to know the Golden Eagles: Tennessee Tech comes into Friday’s match-up fresh off their first win over a Division One opponent. At 2-2 they started the season with a win over D2 Piedmont. On paper this is a nice match-up for the Colonials. Both RMU and Tenn tech have played (and lost) to both Air Force and New Mexico State, so there is some familiarity in terms of common opponents.
The Golden Eagles have struggled early in the season on both sides of the ball. They have the 299th best defense in college basketball according to KenPom, allowing an alarming 106.8 points-per-100 possessions. Their offense hasn’t been much better, ranked 251st in the country in adjusted efficiency. With that said, they’ve only played three games against D1 opponents so it is far from a completed picture.
6-1 guard Torrance Rowe leads the way, scoring 20.3 points-per-game but only shoots 24 percent from three. Can he hit shots against the RMU 2-3 zone? 6-9 Ryan Martin may need to be the guy RMU circles on the scouting report. He ‘s averaging 11 points and six rebounds per-game. Skilled bigs have been a problem for RMU, and they have struggled on the glass all season. Anthony Morse (6-9) is another guy that could hurt RMU around the rim.
Keys to Victory: Will the Colonials finally break this ugly losing streak? They’ve been really close on multiple occasions but have yet to be able to put in together for an entire game. This will be a great opportunity. While it is a true road game being played at Tennessee Tech, I can’t see the Golden Eagles having a major home court advantage.
Coming off a big game, I would like to see Minnie is attack mode early. If he can establish himself as a viable offensive threat, it could open things up for Pryor who was somewhat bottled up by a stiff New Mexico State defense. Tennessee Tech should be more giving.
Robert Morris could get the services of Aaron Tate and Matty McConnell back tonight. Keep in mind the team plays a game tomorrow so if either play, expect them to be limited with the quick turn around.
The Robert Morris zone should be able to have a lot of success tonight. Tenn Tech only shoots the three at a 26 percent rate. That’s 312th in the country. Pack the zone in, take away penetration, and swarm the big’s. Now that doesn’t mean you can give away wide open looks, which Robert Morris has done it’s fair share of. Hopefully the zone is flying around like it was Tuesday night. One other random fact. Right now teams are only making 50 percent of their free throws against Tenn Tech. That’s an amazingly low mark (2nd in the country). Obviously you can’t guard the free throw line, so this is more luck, but hopefully the Colonials do a good job making their free ones.
Prediction: Pryor, Minnie and Still pace the Colonials to their first win of the season, but it’s a very close game. RMU 66, Tenn tech 62.