Robert Morris +16 vs CENTRAL FLORIDA
Robert Morris +16 -104 over CENTRAL FLORIDA

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Posted at 4:45 PM EST.

Robert Morris +16 -104 over CENTRAL FLORIDA

7:00 PM EST. Welcome to Extreme Makeover: AAC Edition, starring the South Florida basketball program. The Bulls underwent a gut rehab this offseason, shedding 10 players to the transfer portal (including five of the top six scorers) while bringing in seven newcomers via that route. It was likely a necessary overhaul after last year’s Bulls collapsed following a January COVID pause, tumbling to a 2-8 finish after a promising start to the year. Considering the heavy continuity in the lineup from 2019-20 and the addition of a top 100 recruit, it was a disastrous result, and Coach Brian Gregory is now ready to restart with a bevy of new pieces. 

What we have here is an AAC team playing a Horizon team so right off the bat, one is going to be spotting extra points to back the Knights. Of all the teams in the AAC, UCF is the last team we would recommend spotting extra points with. 

UCF’s best player is Caleb Murphy, a downhill guard that was a top 100 recruit but flawless he is not. Murphy’s shooting is below average (37.0%/19.4%/58.7% splits) and he struggled with turnovers (54, compared to 60 assists). Until we see Murphy improve his decision-making and perimeter stroke, we’ll attack the Knights taking back big points. The problem with such a major roster overhaul is that it’s incredibly difficult to measure where they’re at before they’ve played any games. However, at best, this is a mediocre UCF squad with mediocre players/transfers that played for bad teams in the past. 

Robert Morris chose a poor time to level up in competition. Smack dab in the heart of the pandemic, the Colonials were dealt a bad hand to kick off their Horizon League welcome tour. Over the last half decade, as the conference realignment continuously reshapes the D-I landscape, we’ve seen conference ‘traitors’ benefit from the change of scenery. An element of unpredictability tends to give the new kid on the block a competitive advantage, especially if said team brings a distinct style to the mix.

Per KenPom’s ‘Average Height’ metric, RMU was one of the smallest 20 teams in America last year. Losing AJ Bramah strips a Howitzer type talent from Toole’s war chest, but he did a bang-up job in the transfer recruiting wars. There’s a slew of new names and faces adorning the roster this season, which includes Michael Green. Green was the catalyst for Bryant’s prolific offense, which ran circles around the NEC. Green’s the epitome of ‘all gas, no brakes’. Once Green gets an outlet pass, it’s off to the races, and there’s no telling what he’ll do with it.

Joining Green will be another NEC defector, Rasheem Dunn, who dipped his toes in the Big East last season. He was ultimately passed up by Posh Alexander as the primary floor general at St. John’s, but now finds himself in a similar position as his St. Francis BK days. In some ways, Dunn is basically a bigger version of Green. Quickness unlocks every element of Dunn’s dynamic game, and he brings that same fearlessness that fuels Green. 

Per this unique interview series, RMU coach Andrew Toole conceded that his roster wasn’t ‘Horizon ready’ last year:

“It wasn’t just frontcourt size, but size across the board,” Toole told Blue Ribbon. “We were facing 6-4, 6-5 wings who can play in the post and catch the ball and face you up and make plays. That’s something we didn’t have on our roster and had to adjust to and recruit for.”

Up front, Toole wasn’t picky in his transfer portal recruitment. He needed size, and fast, ultimately bagging four solid newcomers. They all carry strong pedigree, at least by Horizon standards, and project as ‘starter-caliber’ right away. JUCO All-American Matt Mayers, an unselfish, do-everything utility man, could shine the brightest. Toole sees him as a key stopgap up front. Justin Winston pulled the plug on his St. Bonaventure experience, paving the way for his journey to Pittsburgh. The former 3-star recruit is physically and skillfully gifted Mattia Acunzo (Toledo) and Brandon Stone (La Salle) are the other notable imports, while Kahlil Spear returns after an NCAA-induced false start to his 2021 campaign. Behind this stable of forwards, Toole emphatically addressed a glaring hole inside. 

The power conference vultures have raided RMU’s talent cupboard in year’s past, so we love to see Toole fight back in the transfer tug-of-war. In terms of class depth and fit, Toole gets an A+ for this roster reconstruction. RMU is an under-the radar team that can absolutely compete here.

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Our Pick

Robert Morris +16 -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)

 

 

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