February 16, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 34-19 record (64.2%, +13.61 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
During the sixth season of his tenure at Rhode Island, Danny Hurley’s program is enjoying a breakout campaign. The former Seton Hall guard is the son of Bob Hurley and the younger brother of Bobby Hurley, the star point guard for Duke when it repeated as national champions in the 1991 and ’92 NCAA Tournaments.
During Duke’s run to the ’92 title in the East Region semifinals, the Blue Devils had to get past Danny’s Pirates at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia. Of course, Duke’s next game two nights later against Kentucky was the greatest game in college basketball history.
Danny and Bobby’s father is the legendary prep coach who guided St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey for 45 years before the school closed in 2017. The elder Hurley won 28 state titles and was named USA Today’s National Coach of the Year three times.
Bobby is now the head coach at Arizona State, while their father recently entered retirement. With ASU slumping after a great run during non-conference play, it finally appears as if Danny is the center of attention in this 2017-18 season.
Rhode Island (21-3 straight up, 14-7 against the spread) returns to the court tonight to put its perfect Atlantic-10 record on the line at St. Bonaventure. As of early this morning, most betting shops had URI installed as a one-point favorite with a total of 150.
Rhode Island has won outright in six of its eight true road assignments, compiling a 4-3-1 spread record. URI is No. 5 in the RPI Rankings, No. 16 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 and No. 29 at KenPom.com.
The Rams are 3-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 4-3 versus the Top 100. They have home wins over Providence, St. Bonaventure and Charleston, in addition to a neutral-court victory over Seton Hall.
URI’s three losses have come at Nevada, at Alabama and vs. Virginia on a neutral floor. There’s no shame any of those defeats, but the Rams’ resume is obviously lacking in high-profile wins, especially one on the road. This adds significance to Friday’s A-10 showdown, as this is their final regular-season game versus an RPI Top-100 opponent.
In Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ that was released Thursday morning on ESPN.com, Rhode Island is listed as a No. 5 seed in the East Region. Joey Brackets has the Rams slated to face the First Four winner of UCLA vs. Texas in San Diego. The winner would get the 4/13 survivor of Gonzaga vs. East Tennessee State in the Round of 32.
As for St. Bonaventure, it was slotted as the top team in the First Four (left) Out of the 68-team field. However, the two teams ahead of the Bonnies were USC and UCLA, both of whom were in action late Thursday on the West coast.
Senior guard Jared Terrell paces the Rams in scoring with his 17.5 points-per-game average. Terrell is averaging 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game, and he’s knocked down 42.4 percent of his treys. E.C. Matthews, another senior guard, is averaging 12.9 points and 3.9 RPG, while Stanford Robinson (9.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG) has a team-high 57 steals. Jeff Dowtin (8.9 PPG) has an incredible 136/31 assist-to-turnover ratio has hit 41.0 percent of his 3-balls.
Hurley’s squad hasn’t lost since its trip to Tuscaloosa on Dec. 6, winning 16 consecutive games. URI is 11-3 ATS in its past 14 outings thanks to three consecutive covers, including Tuesday’s 85-67 win over Richmond as a 13.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Terrell scored a team-best 17 points and Dowtin produced 11 points, five rebounds, four steals and seven assists compared to just one turnover. Matthews is listed as ‘questionable’ with a knee injury that forced him to leave the win over Richmond. He had logged just 15 minutes of action and contributed only two points and two boards. Cyril Langevine finished with 15 points and six rebounds, while Fatts Russell had 14 points, four boards, three steals and two assists without a turnover.
St. Bonaventure (19-6 SU, 11-11 ATS) has won outright in 10 of its 11 home games, posting a 5-4 spread record. If the line holds with URI as a short ‘chalk,’ this will be the first time St. Bonaventure has been a home underdog this season. The Bonnies are 3-3 both SU and ATS in six games as underdogs on the road and at neutral sites.
Mark Schmidt’s club is ranked No. 44 in the RPI and No. 66 at KenPom. St. Bonaventure is seeking its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2012 and badly needs a win tonight. The Bonnies are 3-2 versus the RPI Top 50 and 5-2 against the Top 100. However, they have lost at Dayton (RPI #111) at Davidson (RPI #116), at Saint Joseph’s (#193) and vs. Niagara (#164).
Since going 1-4 both SU and ATS during a five-game stretch to start January, St. Bonaventure has won seven straight games, including Tuesday’s 79-68 win at La Salle in a pick ‘em affair. The Bonnies’ dynamic backcourt led the way, with Matt Mobley dropping a game-high 30 points on the Explorers. Mobley drained 4-of-9 attempts from 3-point range, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists. Jaylen Butler added 26 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds. Butler buried 5-of-8 launches from 3-point range.
Adams is averaging a team-high 20.5 points, 5.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Adams is sixth in the country in 3-point accuracy, hitting 50.8 percent of his 3-pointers. The senior guard has been especially hot lately, scoring 40, 44, 24 and 26 points in his team’s past four games. Mobley is averaging 18.5 PPG, his exact scoring output for last year as well. He’s also averaging 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
URI has won three in a row over St. Bonaventure both SU and ATS, including an 87-73 victory as a 7.5-point home favorite on Jan. 13. The 160 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 144.5-point total to end a 4-0 run of ‘unders’ in this rivalry. All three of URI’s most recent wins over the Bonnies have come by double-digit margins, but the Rams are just 4-9 ATS in the last 13 head-to-head meetings.
In the January victory at Ryan Center in Kingston, Matthews paced the winners with 20 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Dowtin added 18 points and nine assists without a turnover, while Andre Berry contributed 12 points and seven boards. Mobley and Adams scored 19 points apiece in defeat.
The ‘over’ is 12-10-1 overall for the Rams, 6-2 in their road assignments.
The ‘over’ is 12-10 overall for the Bonnies, 5-4 in their home games. They’ve seen the ‘over’ go 9-4 in their past 13 contests.
Tip-off on ESPN is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Going back to last season, the ‘over’ is on a 10-2-1 run in Rhode Island’s last 12 road games.
-- There are three other televised games Friday night: Bowling Green at Buffalo (ESPNU, 7:00 p.m. Eastern), Georgia State at Georgia Southern (ESPN2, 9:00) and Northern Kentucky at Wright State (ESPNU, 9:00).
-- Monmouth might be without two of its best players for tonight’s home game vs. Canisius. Micah Seaborn (13.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG & 1.9 APG) is ‘doubtful’ with a hamstring injury, while Austin Tilghman is ‘questionable’ due to a shoulder injury. Tilghman is averaging 11.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
-- Purdue has suddenly lost three games in a row after going down 57-53 at Wisconsin last night. The Badgers won outright as 11-point home underdogs, hooking up money-line supporters with a +500 return.
-- Cincinnati lost 67-62 at Houston last night as a 2.5-point road favorite. The Bearcats lost for the first time since a 66-60 loss to Florida in Newark, N.J., on December 6. The 129 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 132.5-point total to improve to 39-13-1 in UC’s past 53 road games.
-- Penn State bolstered its resume in impressive fashion with last night’s never-a-doubt 79-56 win over Ohio State as a one-point home favorite.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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