by Mike Prada
The Richmond Spiders enter the 2011 NCAA Tournament on a roll, just like last year’s team. The Spiders won eight of their last nine games entering the 2011 Atlantic 10 Tournament, with the only loss coming on the road to an excellent Temple squad. The question now is whether the Spiders can succeed once they get into the NCAA Tournament, which did not happen last season when they fell meekly to St. Mary’s.
The two big guns are familiar faces. Guard Kevin Anderson remains the workhorse, averaging 16 points and 3.4 assists per game, but forward Justin Harper has really stepped up his game. Harper is averaging 18 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this year, after averaging just 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. Last year’s Spiders team was much more of a defensive-oriented club, but this year’s team is much more balanced.
Coach Chris Mooney continues to build up this program, and will make his second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in his six-year career. The Spiders will once again be a tough out come tournament time.
Record: 24-7, 13-3 in the Atlantic 10
RPI: 59, as of 3/10/11
- 65-54 vs. Purdue on November 27: This remains the one win holding up Richmond’s resume. Kevin Anderson scored 28 points as Richmond won fairly easily to take home the Chicago Invitational.
- 67-54 vs. Georgia Tech on December 18: The Yellow Jackets were struggling, so this was a particularly bad loss. Iman Shumpert dominated the game, scoring 21 points as the Yellow Jackets pulled away in the second half.
Player to watch: Anderson is the team’s heart and soul, but Harper is the real game-changer inside. He provides Richmond with more size than most mid-major teams posses.
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