UMass Minutemen at Rhode Island Rams – NCAAM January 13

Rhode Island (6-6, 3-2) at UMass (3-2, 1-2)

  • Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
  • Location: Mullins Center, Amherst, MA
  • TV: NESN

Minutemen Hold 89-67 Advantage in an Underrated Rivalry

The Rams have notched wins in eight out of the last ten meetings. The Rams and Minutemen have played every year since 1950 when they were both charter members of the Yankee Conference. UMass assistant Tyson Wheeler was a two-time first team A-10 selection when he helped lead Rhode Island to the Elite Eight in 1988.

The game was originally slated for Feb. 27, but it was moved last week by the Atlantic 10 in effort to leave dates for both teams open later in the year for schedule flexibility purposes due to potential covid issues.

Vs. The Spread

Rhode Island:

  • The Rams are 1-4 ATS against the Minutemen in their last five games
  • The total has gone OVER in six of Rhody’s last 8 games
  • URI is 2-7 ATS in it’s last 9 games against Atlantic 10 competition

UMass:

  • The Minutemen are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the last 15 games between the Minutemen and the Rams
  • Massachusetts is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games when they play at home vs. Rhode Island

Last Time Out

Rhody ended VCU’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday as Fats Russell tied his season high with 23 points while he pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and made 13-of-14 free throws. Jeremy Shepherd had 20 points as Rhode Island made 8-of-14 triples.

Cairo McCoy came off the bench to score 15 points as UMass downed LaSalle, 83-67, on Saturday. It was the second win for the Minutemen over the Explorers this season. Noah Fernandes had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Carl Pierre joined McCoy.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Rhode Island -3 (-110) -160 O 152.5 (-120)
UMass +3 (-110) +135 U 152.5 (+100)

Rams’ Clipboard

Rhode Island Rams LogoRhode Island is driven by a tough pair of guards in the 5-10 Russell (15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and 6-1 Shepherd (10.6 ppg, 2.3 apg) Russell is superior off the dribble and has already taken 84 free throws while drawing 6.4 fouls per game. This tandem can have a big night against a UMass defense that is improved over last season, but still gives up 79.3 points per game while opponents shoot at a 48 percent clip. Antwan Walker (8.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Makhel Mitchell (6.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) are solid contributors in the paint on both ends of the floor.

Please Note:

Rhode Island is going to win plenty of games on the glass as the last four games have seen the Rams combined for a (+52) in A-10 play. Coach David Cox has seen his Rams post a double-digit margin in each game. UMass is at a (+3.3) on the boards as well, so this is likely to be a key battle in tonight’s game.

Minutemen Clipboard

UMass Minutemen LogoTre Mitchell (20.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) will be an issue in the paint and on the boards as he shoots 62.1 percent from inside the arc. Mitchell has taken his game to an even higher level in A-10 play in averaging 23.7 points per game and seven boards. Look for the Rams to run different bigs at him with some double teams to try to neutralize him. Noah Fernandes has integrated himself well on the point as he transferred to Amherst from Wichita State. This is a high octane team that tries to outrun and outgun the opponents as the Minutemen are 12th in the nation in averaging 86 points per game while averaging 80.8 possessions per contest. A win would give UMass it’s first 4-0 start in A-10 play since the 2013-14 season.

Carl Pierre has averaged 19.6 points and 6.3 boards over his last three games while Noah Fernandes is at 16 points and 6.7 boards over his last three. With continued production from this back court, Mitchell can become a mid-20s scorer because the defenses cannot focus all of their attention on his inside game.

Winner: Rhode Island (-3) 84, UMass 79
Over-Under: Take OVER 152.5

The Bets
Rhode Island Rams -3
-110
OVER 152.5
-120
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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.