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Meet the Bryant Bulldogs, the Tupperware kings of Rhode Island

It’s true.

NCAA Basketball: Bryant at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the finest tradition of schools with a name that sounds like it’s just one dude puttin’ out the vibe—y’know, Lamar, Howard, Troy, etc.—Bryant University is struggling to distinguish itself in D-I basketball. The Bulldogs have been D-I for less than a decade, and it’s been a pretty rough time for them. It doesn’t look like that’ll be ending any time soon, either.

Bryant at least has managed to be competitive within the NEC on a semi-regular basis, but the NEC is also routinely ranked among the nation’s worst conferences, putting that group of teams on the lowest rung of mid-majordom. The Bulldogs are coming off two straight losing seasons and haven’t cracked the KenPom top 200 since 2014.

But it’s not all bad. In researching the school I discovered that it has a live bulldog mascot named Tupper, which of course is named after the inventor of Tupperware, Earl Tupper. In the late ‘60s, Tupper donated over 400 acres of land to the school, which is were the present-day campus now exists. You name me one other school that has leftover food storage container royalty as its sugar daddy.

So beloved is Earl Tupper within Byrant circles, it’s fairly easy to cause BU students to have emotional breakdowns by shouting stinging insults such as “Tupperware is not especially relevant to my current lifestyle!” or “I’m more of a ziploc man, personally!” Just figured I’d point that out prior to the game Tuesday night.

The Bryant Offense

BU Offense OFF_EFF (rank) eFG% TO% OR% FTR 3FGA/FGA 2FG% 3FG%
BU Offense OFF_EFF (rank) eFG% TO% OR% FTR 3FGA/FGA 2FG% 3FG%
2017 101.7 (225) 49.7 (208) 18.8 (202) 29.2 (182) 32.8 (252) 36.7 (167) 49.2 (179) 33.7 (228)
2016 93.2 (332) 47.3 (281) 19.9 (287) 26.1 (283) 26.9 (347) 33.8 (218) 46.9 (245) 32.0 (288)

Bryant’s offense improved substantially last season, and while it was still bad, a 100+ spot jump in the Pomeroy Ratings is an encouraging development. Especially with a pair of sophomores leading the charge: shooting guard Nisre Zouzoua averaged 20.3 points per game to pace the team, while forward Marcel Pettway averaged 10.3 PPG on 58.4% shooting inside the arc and pulled down 6.5 boards per game.

Yes, things may finally be looking up again for Tim O’Shea’s progr— hm? You say both Zouzoua and Pettway transferred to Nevada this offseason? I see. Well just forget I said anything then.

Those are enormous losses for a program that obviously could ill afford them, and that is going to significantly hinder any additional gains for the Bulldogs this season. It’s got to be frustrating to coach at programs where this sort of thing is more likely to happen. Yyou find a couple kids who are good, the kids realize they are good and that they can play at a higher level, and then they leave for said higher level. It’s a good thing Tupper also works as a comfort dog.


Ikenna Ndugba (6-0, 190) — Ndugba needs to prove he can score at a decent clip (career 41.7% from two, 25.9% from three), especially if he is going to assume a higher workload this season. His 1-9 shooting effort in the opener against UGA was not encouraging on this front.

Adam Grant (6-1, 170) — The leadership role at the offensive end will probably belong to Grant this season; he’s the only returner who averaged in double figures last season. He took 18 shots against Georgia on Friday. Last season his field goal attempts were split fairly evenly between twos and threes, and his shooting percentages were modest, but nonetheless it was a solid debut season for a freshman. He’ll need to build on that quickly.

Hunter Ware (6-2, 170) — Ware is coming off a horrific junior season slump that saw him post an eFG% of only 33.1. He played only sparingly, though that will likely have to change this season. The good news for Bryant is that he does not appear inclined to assert himself more than he should offensively. He was a decent three-point shooter his first two seasons (.365 as a sophomore) and it’s certainly possible he could return to form.

Ryan Layman (6-7, 210) — A mystery given that he has one college basketball game’s worth of experience, but my man certainly came out swinging: he took 13 shots in the opener and was 3-10 from beyond the arc.

Bosko Kostur (6-7, 215) — Bryant will need a lot more from Kostur, who was a rare beacon of efficient offense for the Bulldogs last year. He hit 50.9% of his twos and 41.8% of his threes to go with 84.8% free throw shooting. That’s a fine year. But he’s got to figure out how to stay on the court: he finished with four fouls or more in 15 games last season, fouling out four times.


Gus Riley (6-8, 225), Taylor McHugh (6-2, 170), Brandon Carroll (6-7, 190). Not much to see here but some humans who perhaps should not be allowed to operate a basketball. McHugh, impressively, is 5-35 from two in his career. Riley has never been more than a role player off the bench and fouls a ton. Carroll posted perhaps the most impressive statistical feat of the early season, committing four personal fouls in nine minutes of playing time against Georgia. That’s some quality work, son.

The Bryant Defense

BU Defense DEF_EFF (rank) eFG% TO% OR% FTR 3FGA/FGA 2FG% 3FG%
BU Defense DEF_EFF (rank) eFG% TO% OR% FTR 3FGA/FGA 2FG% 3FG%
2017 112.0 (307) 51.5 (213) 17.6 (228) 30.6 (237) 37.4 (221) 37.0 (209) 52.1 (277) 33.6 (91)
2016 114.9 (333) 51.5 (254) 16.0 (296) 33.5 (314) 31.6 (64) 40.5 (318) 53.1 (325) 32.7 (76)

Yeah it’s all bad over at this end too. Bryant’s lack of size was a considerable problem last season and that is not going to change. The Bulldogs got crushed on the glass by UGA, which rebounded nearly half its own misses. Bryant did at least force a lot of turnovers, but nothing in the team’s recent history suggests that’ll become a staple of this unit. It needs to be, though. Their efforts would remain mostly futile, but it’d help a bit at least.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 18.