A True Hoops Odyssey

By David Scott - November 13, 2006

KINGSTON, RI - The ride down I-95 from Boston was foggy to start and clear to finish, with an early arrival at the home of the Rhode Island Rams.

We’re about 75 minutes from tip at the Ryan Center between URI and Houston and we’ve been able to take in the pre-game Ramette Dance Team practice from our center court position (once again confirming the early bird does, indeed, get the worm).

* Rhody is celebrating its basketball centennial and the return of Tom Penders is a fitting way to kick off the celebration. Penders, in two seasons as the Head Ram, went 48-17, with two 20-plus win seasons. In 1986-87, the Rams went to the NIT and finished 20-10. The following season, Rhody went 28-7 and advanced to the Sweet 16, where it lost by one point to Duke (73-72). An interesting side note is that current URI women’s coach, Tom Garrick, was a member of that Sweet 16 squad.

This marks Pender’s first time back in Kingston since he was with George Washington (2001).

* The Glass Sneaker thought it was doing well by having attended two games in four days (BU/GW on Friday and this one). But then we read about Miguel Rodriguez who is embarking on something he’s calling the "THE ULTIMATE HOOPS CHALLENGE.”

And what a challenge it is: Rodriguez, a self-proclaimed college hoops “super fan,” is attempting to see all 337 NCAA Division I basketball teams in each of their respective home arenas. So far, so good, as Rodriguez, over this past weekend took in nine games over three days and 890 miles.

Also known as “Off the Meter” to friends, Rodriguez is scheduled to catch at least one full TV timeout session of hoops in the Ryan Center (at least four minutes of basketball) and then head up Route 95 to Chestnut Hill, in hopes of catching at least four minutes of BC-Vermont.

The guy is obviously one of us, so check out his site and pledge your support.

* Here’s tonight’s “Rhody Ram fact you can’t live without. . .” courtesy of URI’s new Sports Information Director (and overall legend), Mike Laprey:

“Since leaving Kingston, Tom Penders has faced the Rams nine times with each of the three other teams he has coached - Texas, George Washington, and Houston. Rhody is 2-7 (.222) in those games, including last season’s 67-41 loss at Houston on Dec. 27, 2005.”

* We don’t believe Miguel Rodriguez will be with the Rams for their next game: Rhody travels to the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska for a tussle with Troy in the first of three games in the Land of the Midnight Sun. URI will then face either Weber State or host Alaska-Fairbanks in the second round. Utah State, Centenary, Southeast Missouri and Drake are the remaining teams in the field

* The new-look “Runnin’ Rams” opened its season with an 86-point outing in a win over Stonehill. That was the highest single-game total for Rhody since putting up 94 points against Vermont on Dec. 30, 2003.

Posted by David Scott at 05:40 PM on November 13, 2006

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