Rider fan here…to give you some insite. Last year, Rider was picked 8th in the preseason poll, and came in second. This year they were picked 4th. They struggled with East Stroudsburg but were missing two starters, Zedric Sadler their point guard (who will miss the game tomorrow) and center Junior Fortunate who had a death in his family . They also took it like an exhibition game, playing different combinations and trying to give some freshman extend run.
They are led by two seniors who were 3rd team all MAAC last year – 6-5 guard Anthony Myles and 6-7 forward Danny Stewart. Stewart is the key for the team – as he is usually too quick to be guarded by tradional bigs, and too strong to be guarded by mid-major wings. He has expanded his game, out to the 3 point line. He often disappears during games. Against East Stroudsburg he got called for some cheap fouls and sat most of the game. Rider really lacks bigs, as they only have 1 center 6-10, (they have 2 seven footer – redshirting), so when Fortunate gets in foul trouble (which is often) Stewart has to play the middle.
Although not many bigs, they have a slew of 6-7 athletic forwards. They will be starting a freshman point guard, Jimmie Taylor, since Sadler is hurt. He show signs of being really good against East Stroudsburg–but he is a freshman. Last year, Rider changed their approach (new coach) to being a really good defensive team. They were near the top in the country in 3 pt defense. What I noticed, is they were very good in identify the top player on a team and shutting him down- letting others beat them. I think I would describe them as winning ugly.
I believe they will be better later in the year, then they will be tomorrow. The approach is use non-conference to get ready for league play – since they are in a 1 bid league. Their strengh seems to be their length and athletic ability at the wings, and their weakness is rebounding and turnovers.
Don’t have any idea, what to expect.