Rhode Island & the Atlantic 10 Searching For Answers

Posted by Nate Kotisso on December 12th, 2016

The phrase mid-major is thrown around a lot by those of us who watch this sport. At some point we got lazy and decided to classify every school outside of the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC as mid-major programs. While leagues like Conference USA and the Mountain West would not have fit the mid-major description in the early-to-mid 2000s, their basketball reputations have taken a dive in recent years as schools have relocated. Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 has produced 52 NCAA Tournament appearances since 2000, the most of any conference outside the Power Six. As the preseason pick to finish second in the league, Rhode Island, much like the league it plays in, finds itself in an uncomfortable mid-December position.

Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews scored 31 points in Saturday's loss to Houston, one point shy of tying a career high. (Photo courtesy of GoRhody.com)

Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews scored 31 points in Saturday’s loss to Houston, one point shy of tying a career high. (GoRhody.com)

Although projecting the fortunes of this program is one of the tougher queries in college basketball, we have written in this space that 2016-17 could finally be the Year of the Rams. Unfortunately, Rhode Island’s recent basketball history is riddled with disappointment. Despite accumulating six 20-win seasons since the 1998-99 season — including four in a row from 2008-11 — the Rams have not appeared in the NCAA Tournament over that span. A healthy combination of returnees E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, in addition to improving depth and a jam-packed non-conference schedule, led many pundits to believe in the preseason that Rhode Island’s breakthrough was imminent.

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The RTC Podblast: Other 26 Conferences Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 13th, 2014

Welcome to conference preview season. In this, our seventh of eight conference preview RTC Podblasts that we’ll be rolling out before the dawn of the season, Other 26 microsite columnist Tommy Lemoine (@other26hoops) joins us to discuss the key storylines, teams and players to watch among the 26 other conferences in college basketball. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts the podblast, and the full rundown of topics is below. Make sure to tweet at us (@rushthecourt) if you have any opinion on which team should be the gang’s new favorite heading into the 2014-15 season.

You can find the entire series of 2014-15 Preseason Conference Podblasts here.

Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And don’t forget to check out our 2014-15 Preseason Storylines Podcast, and feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-11:59 – Wichita State
  • 11:59-19:31 – Gonzaga and San Diego State Challengers for Best O26 team
  • 19:31-23:35 – VCU, Harvard and the Best of the Rest
  • 23:35-25:52 – Most Exciting O26 Conference Race
  • 25:52-27:54 – Under the Radar Teams
  • 27:54-32:08 – Best O26 Players
  • 32:08-36:35 – Randy’s New Favorite Team
  • 36:35-38:35 – Bold Predictions
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Relaunching the Other 26 Microsite…

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on October 22nd, 2014

As important as the blue-bloods are to college basketball — Tobacco Road, Big Blue Nation, Rock Chalk, etc. — it’s the little guys, the mid-majors, that so often give the sport its vibrancy and leave lasting impressions in March. In fact, the Other 26 leagues constitute a majority in college hoops, helping create a vast landscape of players and programs that make each season unique and full of seemingly endless possibility (as of right now, any one of 343 teams can win the National Championship). This microsite aims to provide a panoramic of that landscape through thoughtful, timely and engaging analysis over the course of the season. We will shed light on the unknown superstars, the underappreciated performers and the soon-to-be-Cinderellas that make the Other 26 great. And we hope to have some fun doing it, because after all, this is mid-major basketball and, well, just look at Kyle O’Quinn’s face…

Gear up for an exciting season at the Other 26 microsite. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Gear up for an exciting season at the Other 26 microsite. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Be sure to check out our preview materials over the (less than four!) weeks leading up to opening tip-off, which will touch on every league in the O26 world and keep you updated as the season approaches. Some must-reads include:

  • Top of the Class – Regional Previews: in which we examine the best O26 teams, players and coaches in each geographic section of the country.
  • Poll Critiques: in which we break down the noteworthy, the intriguing and the downright peculiar among O26 teams in preseason conference rankings.
  • O26 Preseason Awards: our O26 All-Americans, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Team of the Year.

Bookmark us, follow us on Twitter (@other26hoops) and enjoy all that the Other 26 have to offer. Now watch Mercer bust some moves.

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The RTC Podblast: Other 26 Conference Tourney Preview Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2014

Welcome to March Madness. With the tip-off of the opening round games of the Patriot League Tournament on Monday night — hey, Colgate and Lafayette — Championship Fortnight is already here. To prep ourselves for all of the action among the nation’s Other 26 leagues, the RTC Podblast crew welcomed O26 microwriters Tommy Lemoine (@hoopthink) and Adam Stillman (@adamstillman87) to walk us through some of the top storylines to follow both this week and next. The guys had a good discussion about whether Wichita State will ultimately #cheerfortheears at Arch Madness, which tourneys might produce the most interesting match-ups, and named some players to keep an eye on as we ultimately head toward the NCAA Tournament. Among other things. If you’re at all interested in the non-power leagues, definitely give this preview a listen!

We’re going to be dropping podcasts/podblasts like crazy over the next five weeks of action, so make sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes so that you’ll get all of the episodes immediately downloaded to your listening device.

  • 0:00-4:03 – #cheerfortheears – Three Games Left
  • 4:03-8:55 – Top Five O26 Teams
  • 8:55-10:25 – Conference Tournaments To Be Excited About
  • 10:25-12:03 – Another Year, Another WCC Championship for Gonzaga?
  • 12:03-13:42 – Leagues Primed For Some Conference Tournaments Upsets
  • 13:42-15:38 – Championship Match-Ups to Hope For
  • 15:38-17:33 – Potential Bid Stealers
  • 17:33-19:34 – Future Cinderellas
  • 19:34-21:55 – Players the Nation Will Fall in Love With
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The RTC Podblast: The Other 26 Championship Edition

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2013

In this week’s RTC Podblast, we tackle Championship Fortnight with a detailed look at a number of the Other 26 league tournaments around the country. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) is our host, but we also bring in the RTC O26 correspondent, I. Renko (@irenkohoops), to help dissect some of the more notable tourneys tipping off this week and next. The schedule of topics is below if you feel like jumping around. Later this week we’ll do our traditional podcast, and next week we’ll absolutely be breaking down each of the power conference tournaments with our cast of microsite correspondents around the country.

  • 0:00-4:23 – Gonzaga the Best O26 Team, But Not the Best Team in the Country
  • 4:23-6:03 – MW and A-10 Are Elite Conferences
  • 6:03-11:07 – St. Louis and New Mexico Battle for Next Best O26 Team
  • 11:07-14:55 – Other 26 Teams Looking Good for At-Large Bids
  • 14:55-17:24 – The Curious Case of Louisiana Tech
  • 17:24-20:37 – Teams That Can Make Noise… If They Get In
  • 20:37-23:14 – MW and A-10 are the Tourneys to Watch
  • 23:14-26:13 – Other Leagues to Keep an Eye On
  • 26:13-29:20 – Dream Conference Tournament Match-ups
  • 29:20-30:43 – Conference Primed for Classic March Moment/Wrap
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