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Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Robert Morris

The Golden Eagles get back on the horse on Saturday against the Colonials.

Robert Morris v Duke Photo by Bob Leverone/Getty Images

Name: Robert Morris University

Founded: 1921

Location: Moon Township, Pennsylvania

Yeah, I don’t know where that is. It’s Pittsburgh. It’s a 7 mile drive from RMU to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and that’s only because campus is on the east side of the airport and the entrance is on the west side. It’s a 20 mile drive from RMU’s basketball arena to Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

Really? Yeah, not kidding. Robert Morris’ brand new 4,000 seat arena is literally sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Enrollment: Just short of 4,100, with about 4,000 of them as undergraduates.

So who’s Robert Morris? Well, the better question is actually “Which Robert Morris is the school named for?” As it happens, the Robert Morris in question is the one that signed the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Articles of Confederation. He also helped finance the American Revolution. He also spent time in debtors’ prison late in his life. Can’t win ‘em all.

But 1921? Yeah, RMU started as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. When they added business and secretarial classes in 1935, it became the Robert Morris School of Business, presumably because Morris was from the area and was a notable and historical businessman. The school didn’t actually move out to Moon Township until 1963, after it had become Robert Morris Junior College and began issuing associate’s degrees. Bachelor’s degrees didn’t start until 1969, and then it became Robert Morris College. The University name came in 2002.

From George Washington to Vince McMahon: Sports Management 2100 at RMU is officially titled “Survey of World Wrestling Entertainment.” And I quote:

This course examines the cutting-edge business and artistic presentation practices of a global leader in live entertainment, World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE). Students will review the history covering the professional wrestling business, its talent development, theatrical influences/production practices, event/facility management operations as well as WWE’s innovative branding, marketing and mass media strategies.

I can’t make this up.

It’s a three credit class. It will be offered in the spring semester, meeting once a week for three hours. Dr. Artemisia Apostolopoulou is the professor. This, at a school named for the man who figured out how to pay for the American Revolution. I’m going to need a minute.

Campus Traditions: I tried to track something interesting down, but was largely unsuccessful. However, I did find this article from RMU Sentry Media, the “student-run converged media outlet” for the university. As of April 2014, they have a bronze statue of Robert Morris on campus, and as part of the unveiling ceremony, then-RMU President Greg Dell’omo hoped that the statue would be a part of a new tradition on campus. He didn’t specify what kind of tradition, but from the quotes in the article, he made it sound like the campus needs any kind of interesting tradition. I don’t know about you, but I definitely appreciate university presidents going out of their way to make life easier for people writing not quite serious basketball previews.

Nickname: Colonials

Why “Colonials?” I think the Robert Morris naming thing kind of explains that one easily enough.

Notable Alumni: uhhhhhhh Kevin Colbert, the general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is kind of about it. There’s a former Denny’s chairwoman in there, a former ambassador to Nigeria, and a former US women’s hockey goalie, too.

Last Season: 18-17, with an 11-7 record in the NEC. That ended up being good enough for a spot in the CIT, where they lost at home to Presbyterian in the second round.

Final 2018-19 KenPom.com Ranking: #269

This Season: 1-5, with a neutral site win over Howard as their lone success. That includes a home blowout loss to local rival Pitt. A suggestion: Play Duquesne instead.

Current 2019-20 KenPom.com Ranking: #301

Stat Leaders

Points: Josh Williams, 11.3 ppg
Rebounds: AJ Bramah, 8.3 rpg
Assists: Jon Williams, 4.0 apg

Shooters? The conversation here has to start with Josh Williams. The 6’2” senior is shooting 33% for the year behind the arc and 37% for his career. However, after a 1-for-7 outing on Thursday night, he has 55 attempts in RMU’s six games, which means he’s averaging — I’m not kidding — 9.2 long range attempts per game. Just on willingness alone, Williams goes straight to the top of the scouting report.

Jon Williams, Josh’s younger brother, is shooting 40% on the year on just over four attempts per game. He’s a career 40% long range shooter, so both of the Williams men will need to be guarded well.

After a 6-for-23 team performance against Illinois-Chicago on Thursday night, the Colonials dropped from #81 in the country in three-point shooting percentage according to KenPom.com to #104. That kind of knocks them backwards from “pretty good” to “yeah, they’re decent.” No one else really has the volume to be of note at this point of the season. Charles Bain did go 3-for-5 against the Flames to move his season average up to 36% from the sub-30% territory, and he is a career 35% shooter.

Bigs? Against UIC, Robert Morris played two guys who are 6’8” for a total of 39 minutes and two guys who are 6’7” for a total of 40 minutes. One guy from each department — Yannis Mendy and AJ Bramah respectively — started and played at least 20 minutes. If Marquette is not careful on the defensive end, Mendy and Bramah can end up hurting them. Both men are ranked in the top 300 on KenPom in offensive rebounding rate, and with six games played, that’s a pretty normalized average for them at this point. Bramah is a top 50 defensive rebounder at just 6’7” and 185 pounds, so if Marquette is going to continue to struggle to shoot the ball inside the arc, Bramah has the potential to give the Golden Eagles fits in terms of second chances. Marquette is already showing to be a terrible offensive rebounding team this season, so if you look up and see that Bramah has a double-double late in the game, don’t be terribly surprised.

Head Coach: Andrew Toole, in his 10th season at Robert Morris and overall. He has a record of 169-144, but a mark of 102-58 in NEC play.

All Time Series: This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Hey, Do Ya Wonder If....? Yes, I do think that this game got set up partially because Marquette men’s lacrosse has played Robert Morris each of the past four seasons and will play them for a fifth straight year in 2020.