Rams Non-Conference Schedule: Experts Weigh In

Rory Stewart
Photo Courtesy URI Athletics

Rhode Island’s non-conference schedule, above, dropped on August 25th and contains a smattering of tests for Archie Miller’s first squad in Kingston. Scheduling is a bear. There’s a quantitative aspect in examining metrics and objective markers of opposing programs you’re targeting… but equally important for is the qualitative aspect. For Miller and staff, questions such as: Is it the right fit for a program with many new pieces trying to establish itself? Does it allow your team to build chemistry and confidence? Will it challenge your program and guys in a balanced way without demoralizing them? Allow them to experience different environments? And many more…

Nov. 7 – Quinnipiac
Nov. 12 – Texas State
Nov. 15 – Stony Brook
Nov. 21 – vs. Kansas State (Cayman Islands Classic)
Nov. 22 – vs. Nevada/Tulane (Cayman Islands Classic)
Nov. 23 – vs. TBD (Cayman Islands Classic)
Nov. 27 – at Boston College
Dec. 3 – Providence
Dec. 7 – Brown
Dec. 10 – Army
Dec. 13 – UMass Lowell
Dec. 18 – at Georgia State
Dec. 22 – Milwaukee

I asked a couple of Atlantic 10 coaches to weigh in anonymously on Miller’s first non-conference schedule at Rhode Island. Here are their takes:

 

 

“This is a challenging non-conference schedule. There could be as many as four power conference opponents (depending on the Cayman Islands event). A new coach’s first desire is to build a team that wins home games. This generates interest in the community and builds the fan base. The more opportunities that the home fans get to see their team – the better. This schedule will challenge the team but also provide opportunities to build momentum.”

“Scheduling is about balancing many factors, not to mention the negotiation reality and difficulty for Atlantic 10 teams to schedule power conference teams because of the quality of our league. This is a good schedule for year one. Ultimately, creating a combination of home games, high level quad one and quad two games are the most underrated elements of achieving early program success.”

This is not a season beginning with postseason aspirations for Rhode Island. It’s about instilling championship habits, building chemistry, and bringing the competitive floor back to the level required to drive sustained program success and win A10 championships sooner than later.

The full schedule, including Atlantic 10 tilts, dropped yesterday.

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Personal news

As a child of two proud University of Rhode Island graduates, I remember listening to Jim Norman call men’s basketball games on the radio. “The Rams are going left to right on your radio dial,” and many other Norman-isms filled my childhood winters.

I was in the stands for the infamous Temple fight game, marveled at the ’88 team tourney run and wished Kenny Green well at T.F. Green, jumped on a flight to Saint Louis during college with no place to stay for the ‘98 NCAA Regionals (I found one), and rooted in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse, my own graduate school, when Jimmy Baron, Parfait Bitee and the Rams went in there and won.

Chris DiSano

For decades, I’ve listened to Steve McDonald and Don Kaull relay the atmosphere, game flow, and tell stories inside of arenas nationwide – transporting me there. When I founded College Chalktalk in 2007, a website dedicated to inside the lines coverage of the Atlantic 10 and college basketball, Rhody and the A10 were my nucleus. Several coaches across the league helped us lay the cornerstones for a coaches’ diary series that grew to 100 across the country and paved the way for a successful near-decade run. Lots of late nights and hard non-paying “work” too. My wife, Alesia, supported me all the way.

After moving back home to Rhode Island in 2010, Daryl Jasper of Learfield (a reader of College Chalktalk) suggested me as an option to call streamed games for URI, solo, through Cox Sports. Thanks DJ.

Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn and then SID Mike Laprey gave me a shot… and Ray Lepre and John Parris at Cox Sports New England (now Yurview) had patience, eventually pairing a true PxP partner in Mike Mancuso with me. Color analysis was more my thing, having picked up some nuggets of wisdom from youth and HS coaches, but mostly from legendary Lefty Driesell and his staff who I worked for in college. John and Ray stuck with me, both for studio analysis on the TipOff Show along with game streams.

I developed comfort and, over the next decade, had an opportunity call several games, host the live streams at Barclays Center and PPG Paints Arena for the Atlantic 10, co-produce halftime packages with now friend Corey O’Leary, write for Atlantic10.com and Yurview, and a host of other independent outlets – and continue the side hustle I love for URI, mostly post-game radio analysis with Don and Steve.

If you know Don Kaull, you know he’s one of the finest people you’ll meet. Funny, warm, and direct, he’s an incredible person. My family has been blessed to know him for years and his voice has been a massive part of my – along with likely your – URI experience for decades. He is all class.

With Don retiring, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be assuming the radio color analyst role. I’ll call most games this season. I’ll never replace Don – but I’ll do my best in the way I know how. I look forward to bringing analysis, passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism each time I’m fortunate enough to call a Rams game.

Thanks to Thorr, Matt Swiss of Learfield, Assoc. A.D. Shane Donaldson and everyone who has, and continues to, make this childhood dream a reality.

Chris DiSano, is an Atlantic 10 analyst and writer. He has served as the host of A-10 Live! at Men’s Basketball Media Day and founded the former College Chalktalk. DiSano, who was named NBC Sports top Atlantic 10 basketball follow on Twitter for five straight years, can be found on Twitter at @CDiSano44C

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