Defying expectations and setting new standards have been the theme for Rhode Island Basketball this season.
Ask any Rhode Island Basketball fan heading into the 2019-20 season what their expectations were and they likely would have told you that the NIT would be acceptable and that was that. For David Cox, he didn’t allow anything to knock him off focus as he prepared for battle with battle-tested Seniors and the rebirth of Fatts Russell.
It’s now February and the Rams sit at 18-6 and already have seven wins against the KenPom Top-100 which was what they had in total during the ’17-18 and ’18-19 campaigns combined.
Currently, the team from the smallest state in the Union sits higher in the NET rankings than Virginia, Washington, Florida, and Memphis, all of whom had been tied to Final 4 talks back before the season starting.
The framework Dan Hurley left before leaving for UConn has proven to be a fantastic building block for David Cox, who in his second year is on track to have one of the best non-Hurley led defensive teams based on numbers that Rhode Island has seen since 1997.
And even then, Cox could still finish better than four-of-the-six Hurley coached teams in this metric. Statistically, this Rhode Island team is keeping pace with the recent NCAA tournament teams that URI brought to the table.
What makes this even more impressive, if not a little uneasy for Rams fans, is that Cox has made this happen with one of the shortest benches in the country.