OPINION: Media across the nation are undervaluing the Colonials

Ethan+Morrison+argues+that+Andy+Tooles+squad+is+being+undervalued+by+the+nation.

Photo by Tyler Gallo

Ethan Morrison argues that Andy Toole’s squad is being undervalued by the nation.

By Ethan Morrison, Assistant Sports Editor

*Editor’s Note: Opinions on the Colonials are of the writer and not Colonial Sports Network as a whole.

Last year, the Robert Morris men’s basketball team struggled in their first season in the Horizon League. As a new season rolls around, it seems as if the media surrounding college basketball is looking at how Robert Morris performed last season as opposed to how they will look this season.

KenPom has them ranked at 284 and the majority of college basketball writers have them in the bottom three of the conference.

Now look, you can call me a homer or whatever the term might be, but logically speaking, I truly do not think that this team is as bad as people think they will be.

When the league announced that Robert Morris was selected to place 10th in the preseason poll I was kind of shocked, to be honest. I see the team being a middle-of-the-pack team with the size and players that were added during the offseason.

A preseason ranking that was published on Monday was the HoriZone Roundtable’s preseason poll.

The staff at HoriZone discusses how the team is much stronger than last year but says that size will still be a problem for the Colonials but they won’t retain that last-place spot.

Here’s where we run into a problem here with the synopsis. Did the team struggle down low? Yes, they struggled mightily last season, but even with their struggles down low, they still managed to finish sixth in the conference in rebounding.

Two players that the Roundtable highlighted were Rasheem Dunn and Michael Green III. Yes, those two players are invaluable to this team this year, but they don’t tell the full picture of this team.

Colonials Dunn
Rasheem Dunn is one of the many additions to this year’s team. (Photo by St. John’s Athletics)

Kahliel Spear returns for his second season after taking over for AJ Bramah who transferred to Nevada last season. Along with Spear, head coach Andy Toole added some much-needed size by adding a true center in Brandon Stone from La Salle, who will be a huge addition to the frontcourt.

They also added Justin Winston (St. Bonaventure), Matt Mayers (Hutchinson Community College) and Mattia Acunzo (Toledo) who all bring a significant offensive boost to the team along with their strength on the defensive side of the floor.

Another area that was targeted in recruiting for Toole was the guards. In years past, Toole would get significant production from his smaller guards from the likes of Dante Treacy, Matty McConnell and Jon Williams, but as we saw last year, that just wouldn’t fly in the Horizon League. They needed guards of more size.

The team’s lone freshman, Tristian Jefferies, joins the team as a guard at six-foot-six. Forwards Justin Winston, Mattia Acunzo and Brandon Stone all can hit shots beyond the arc so the Colonials will have a lot more size down low and in the perimeter.

Look, sure, the team did lack size last year, and yeah, they finished last place in the league, but look at this statistic, there were seven games; yes seven games; that Robert Morris lost in were decided by five points or less.

Now I am no mathematician, but I am pretty sure that five points or less are a two-possession game or a one-possession game so, in reality, those are “toss-up games” and RMU could have easily won those games.

To say that the team is still going to struggle with the four guys that returned to the roster and the slew of players that they got from the portal is absolutely absurd.

College basketball media around the nation need to wake up and smell the coffee because the veteran presence with this team right now will be able to match up against any Horizon League team.

I’ll leave you with this… preseason polls do not mean anything! It is time for the Colonials to shock the league.