The Keightley Classic kicks off for Robert Morris tonight with a game against Eastern Michigan (2-0) in the undoubtedly-fun-to-say-but-I-have-no-clue-how-to-pronounce-it city of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Not even two hours before tip-off, here's a taste of what's to come:
Series history: Eastern Michigan leads, 3-0.
Last meeting: Eastern Michigan won, 99-85, on Nov. 26, on Nov. 26, 2002.
Projected starting lineup:
G Anthony Myers-Pate: 2.5 ppg, 3 apg, 11.1 FG percentage, 30 FT percentage
G Karvel Anderson: 21 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 56 FG percentage, 58.3 3-point percentage
F Lucky Jones: 11.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 41.2 FG percentage
F Aaron Tate: 6.5 ppg, 1 rpg, 60 FG percentage
C Mike McFadden: 11 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 50 FG percentage
What Eastern Michigan does well: The Eagles are 2-0 and have won those games by a combined 77 points, but neither of those came against a Division I team. This will make it tricky to accurate judge them, but there are a few things worth pointing out. They're a solid defensive squad, as they rank 106th in adjusted defensive efficiency (for the sake of comparison, RMU is currently 227). Four players on the team are averaging double figures in points, so there's some balance to be had. That group is led by G Karrington Ward, who is averaging 17 points per game and is also the team's leading rebounder, pulling down 5.5 boards per game. Mike Talley -- whose name might sound familiar since he is a Duquesne transfer -- has an assist rate of 42.3 right now, putting him among the top 40 players in the country. Simply put, guys have gotten buckets when he's on the court.
What Eastern Michigan does not do well: On the opposite end of what's a pretty good defense is a bad offense. I'm assuming the data is up to date, but Ken Pomeroy has the Eagles at No. 317 (out of about 350 DI teams) in adjusted offensive efficiency. Then again, they have averaged 1.24 and 1.19 points per possession in their first two games, so maybe they're something of a statistical oddity so far. They also struggle to get to the free-throw line (or they have so far) and once they get there, they're not great at making their shots, evidenced by a 61 percent team free throw percentage.
Some notable stats:
- RMU scored at least 85 points in its first two games for the first time since the 2002-03 season and for just the second time in the school's 38-year history as a DI program.
-- About 41 percent of RMU's available minutes are going to bench players, up about four percent from last season.
-- A win tonight would give the Colonials their first 3-0 start since the 2006-07 season.
KenPom prediction: Robert Morris 63, Eastern Michigan 61