Here's No. 6 in a series taking an early look at conference teams. Up now ...
RIDER (1-0, 5-3)
OK, you try to figure out the Broncs. They've beaten then-No. 18 Mississippi State, on the road no less, and have a home 81-73 victory over Saint Joseph's. And, then, there's a 33-point loss at Virginia, nothing more than a solid ACC team; a 58-50 loss to San Houston State and, now, a just-holding-on 55-51 homecourt victory over Marist, the universally acknowledged team most likely to finish last in the MAAC this season.
Try to figure this one out, too: The preseason pick for Player of the Year, senior guard Ryan Thompson, is averaging a mere 14.1 points per game. And on Sunday against Marist he put up this very un-Player of the Year state line: 1 point (0-for-8 shooting), 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 39 minutes.
The Broncs, though, have a well-balanced starting five and some depth. Their biggest plus to date has been the front line duo of sophomore Novar Gadson (13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds) and senior Mike Ringold (8.1 points, 6.7 rebounds).
With Ringold, Gadson, Thompson along with solid guard play thus far from Justin Robinson (13.1 ppg.) and Jhamar Youngblood (8.6) ... it's more than enough to overcome Thompson's rare off-night and, probably, become more consistent.
Insight: There's likely to be more feast than famine from Rider this season which means the Broncs are clearly capable of finishing in the one of the top three spots.