Fordham in Need of a Victory

by Andrew O'Connell
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To get back on track, Fordham has to top Rhode Island tomorrow

I’m usually not one to overhype regular season games. I scolded Jets fans vociferously a year ago when they spoke of a week two win over the Patriots as if their team had just won the Super Bowl. I cringe in horror each year as Mets and Yankees supporters treat the Subway Series as something more than a relatively meaningless interleague series that has little to no playoff implications. Perhaps more than anything else in this world, I hate bracketology, a pseudoscientific term for writing off teams’ postseason hopes three games into the conference season.

That being said, Fordham needs a victory tonight against Rhode Island in the worst way. Fordham needs a win like East Africa needs a rainy day. The Rams need a win like State Farm needs to stop playing discount double check commercials during a Packers meltdown.

Why, you might ask, am I breaking my normal code of beliefs on the importance of early and midseason games? What makes Fordham so different? Why do they need this win so badly? The answer has a few parts.

For one, Fordham should, on paper at least, beat Rhode Island soundly. Rhode Island isn’t simply bad this season; they are the worst they’ve been in years. The other Rams are 3-15 heading into Wednesday night’s contest against Fordham, highlighted by losses to the likes of Yale, Maine and Brown, teams to which Rhode Island simply should not lose.

In a conference where an inexperienced team like Fordham has very few wins on paper, one cannot overemphasize the need to come out on top in games like these.

Like Fordham, Rhode Island is young. Their roster features only two seniors (Head Coach Jimmy Barron dismissed former leading scorer Jamal Wilson at the end of last month) and three separate freshmen have logged at least ten starts for Rhody. If there has ever been a time when the magical power in Coach Barron’s moustache alone can’t get his team a W, it’s this year.

Rhode Island’s subpar campaign so far aside, Fordham is in the midst of a three game skid. Normally, this would be nothing out of the ordinary at Rose Hill, but this season has had a different feel. Coming off stunning wins against the likes of Georgia Tech and 22nd ranked Harvard, the ancient walls of the Rose Hill Gym have possessed a sustained energy not felt in that building since the Nixon administration. Even in a close conference loss to Xavier, the friendly confines kept the Rams in the game before eventually falling by eight.

Fordham needs a home win to keep that feeling alive. With a student body that, for the most part, remains apathetic about Fordham basketball, failure to pick up a home win could drive those fickle students back to the dorms and keep them out of Rose Hill Gym for good.

Getting back to the Rams’ three game skid, Fordham needs a win just for psychological sake at this point. Losing can have a devastating effect on a team far beyond a simple tally in the right hand column of its record. Especially for a team that was once flying high with wins against the Yellow Jackets and the Crimson; Fordham needs a win simply for the confidence boost as A-10 play continues.

For these reasons, I am willing to temporarily suspend my feelings on early and mid-season games. While a loss would certainly not erase the Rams’ hopes for an A-10 tournament berth, a win over Rhode Island could go a lot further than anyone would usually think.

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