Robert Morris at Columbia

Robert Morris (1-8) at Columbia (7-5)
When: Monday December 14th at 2pm EST
Where: Francis S. Levien Gymnasium, New York, New York
KenPom: RMU 284, Columbia 120
KenPom Line: Columbia -13
Link: Ivy League Network 
Storyline: Robert Morris looks to get their season on track as they head to NYC to take on the Columbia Lions. The Colonials have had their moments, but inconsistencies, injuries, and youth have cost them time and time again. The Colonials –1-8 on the season– have their hands full against a very good Columbia team that is expected to contend in a very tough Ivy League.

Getting to Know Columbia: The Lions are off to a solid start this season. They come into the game ranked 120 by KenPom, and boast one of the better offenses in college basketball scoring 109.4 points-per-100 possessions. That is really really good (41st in the country). They do everything well on that end. The Lions are shooting 38 percent from three, only turn it over 16 percent of the time, and do a great jib of getting to the line. This will be one of the toughest test’s of the season for the RMU defense.

KenPom would tell you the
Lions can fill it up. (KenPom)

With all that said, they aren’t so good on the other end. KenPom ranks the 240th is defense, and they tend to go through stretches where they really struggle to get stops.

Like most great offensive attacks, they are very balanced. Four players are averaging double figures in scoring, led by 6-3 senior guard Maodo Lo at 15.3 points-per-game.

6-7 forward Alex Rosenberg could be the biggest hand full for the RMU frontline. They have struggled against good big men with Aaron Tate out injured (he’s expected to miss this game, but could be back soon). Rosenberg is averaging 14.5 points-per-game and 4.1 boards. Can the Colonials keep the Lions to one possession on the offensive glass? They better hope against this good of an offense.

Colonial Keys: RMU played one of their best games of the season against Oakland, but ran out of gas late in the second half. With Tate out, Elijah Minnie out (sick) and Jordan Lester having to leave the game before halftime (sick) it was too tall a task against a really good Oakland team.

This team has had a lot of bad fortune so far, and that has contributed to the rough start. With that said, excuses don’t take away the losses, and they are starting to mount. The long break for finals could not have came at a better time. Minnie and Lester should be good to go, Rodney Pryor and others got a nice rest after some heavy minute games, and their seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for Tate.

Can Stewart and Minnie get
the offense going? (Times Online)

Coach Andy Toole was encouraged by what he saw for stretch of the Oakland game, and now hopes that can be sustained “I hope we can bottle some of the fight we had tonight and extend that all the way through a game,” Toole said after the game.

As mentioned above, the Lions have struggled defensively, and that may be exactly what RMU needs to get the O out of neutral. KenPom ranks the Colonials 299 offensively so far this season. That is…..really bad. (Here is some detail on what can bring these numbers up) What is even more worrisome? Pryor has been excellent for most of the season. He just isn’t getting the help needed. Minnie, Matty McConnell, Isiah Still will be relied upon to open the offense up.

One other thing to watch….Billy Giles. He’s been excellent so far this season and is really coming into his own. Hopefully he can keep up the good work down low.

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