Fordham Basketball Is Establishing A Winning Tradition

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Fordham Basketball Is Establishing A Winning Tradition

Fordham may soon join the ranks of teams playing in March Madness. (MARTIN NUNEZ-BONILLA/ THE OBSERVER)

Fordham may soon join the ranks of teams playing in March Madness. (MARTIN NUNEZ-BONILLA/ THE OBSERVER)

Fordham may soon join the ranks of teams playing in March Madness. (MARTIN NUNEZ-BONILLA/ THE OBSERVER)

Fordham may soon join the ranks of teams playing in March Madness. (MARTIN NUNEZ-BONILLA/ THE OBSERVER)

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By MATTHEW MCCARTHY
Sports Editor

The 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament was filled with upsets by teams that had never even been to the Big Dance. In the opening round, Yale University’s Bulldogs, a team which had previously never qualified, defeated the Baylor Bears. The University of Hawaii also managed to snag their first tournament victory with a win over California in the first round. In the coming years, Fordham should be able to join these teams in the tournament. Despite not earning a tournament bid this season, if the Rams continuously improve under Head Coach Jeff Neubauer, they will be invited to the March Madness tournament within the next few years.

The Rams finished this season with a 17–14 record and were invited to their first ever CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. This was their first season under coach Neubauer, who led the team to its most victories since the 2007 season. Like Hawaii, Fordham started the season 9–2 and even managed to achieve a better record than Yale through the first 14 weeks of the season. After losing their first game, the Rams proceeded to win their next nine and matched their total number of victories (10) from the previous season by the 13th game. As the season progressed, the Rams lost steam, losing eight of their next 10 games. However, the Rams were able to salvage what appeared to be another disappointing season by winning their last four regular season games. Fordham has shown they are capable of winning against good opponents. However, they must be more consistent if they want to join these teams in the tournament next season.

The highlight of the season was the play of senior Ryan Rhoomes. The 6-foot-8 forward started every game for the Rams this season and led the team in points and rebounds. He averaged 14.6 points and pulled down 9.7 rebounds per game. His .647 field goal percentage led the Atlantic-10 Conference, while his number of rebounds placed him second on the leaderboard. Rhoomes’s biggest game came against La Salle University on Jan. 6. He snagged 18 rebounds and scored 25 points in the victory for the Rams. Fordham will be looking to replace Rhoomes’ impact with a pair of underclassmen next season.

After Rhoomes, Christian Sengfelder played the second most minutes on the team. The 6-foot-7 German-native averaged 10.3 points per game, finishing fourth on the team. Like Rhoomes, Sengfelder specialized in rebounds, averaging 5.2 per game. Along with Sengfelder, the Rams will be led by Joseph Chartouny. Chartouny was only a freshman this year, but had an immediate impact on the team. He led Fordham in assists with 6.2 per game and finished third in points scored, averaging 11.3 per game. Chartouny’s best performance was against Davidson, when he had an astounding 13 assists to go along with 24 points and seven rebounds. Chartouny and Sengfelder are expected to take on even more prominent roles on Fordham’s offense next season.

The Rams are in good hands as they continue trying to improve year-to-year. The combination of Chartouny and Sengfelder have the Rams set up to be very successful in the next two years, while coach Neubauer develops the program under his vision. With the consistent improvements made this year, it is possible that we will see the Fordham Rams on an NCAA Division I Basketball tournament bracket in the future.