Rhode Island is seeded fourth in the Atlantic-10 Tournament, and regardless of what happens this week in Pittsburgh, the Rams (21-9, 13-5) feel like they’re playing with house money.
“I think the metrics are in our favor,” Rhode Island head coach Danny Hurley said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, referring to his team’s NCAA Tournament odds. “We’ve had chances to win almost every game we played in late, we’ve had some great wins, and we’re finally healthy.”
Hurley, 44, is in his fifth season at Rhode Island and is hoping to lead the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999. Hurley, however, believes that there is “logo bias” when it comes to selecting at-large bids for the tournament.
“I think it’s about rewarding teams that are obviously most deserving over the course of their season,” Hurley said. “Obviously if you play in a Power Five conference, you get more chances, more top 50 RPI chances, more top 100 chances, to move the needle, so to speak. When you look at all the metrics and the quality of play – our losses, we played a tough non-conference schedule.”
Rhode Island lost at Valparaiso, at Providence and at Houston – all by five points or fewer.
“If you look at our full body of work and how we’re playing now . . . it’s exciting,” Hurley said. “To be relevant in the at-large conversation, the opportunity to play in big games, we played in big games in the non-conference slate. There were high expectations for the team in the preseason, both in conference and nationally. It’s the healthiest we’ve been since early December, and we’re excited about the opportunities that are going to come up for us in the next couple weeks.”
Rhode Island, which has a double bye in the A-10 Tourney, plays Friday. The Rams will face the winner of St. Bonaventure versus UMass/Saint Joseph’s.
The Rams have three players scoring in double figures: E.C. Matthews, who is averaging 14.4 points, Hassan Martin (14.0), and Jared Terrell (12.6). Senior forward Kuran Iverson, meanwhile, is averaging 9.5 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds.