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RPI Boost? Yes, Please!

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In what will be a non-conference contest that should benefit both parties, Rice and Texas State rescheduled their game originally slated for Feb. 23 at Reckling Park and postponed by inclement weather. The Owls and Bobcats will meet at The Reck on Tuesday, May 4 at 3 p.m.

The afternoon start time is a concession to Texas State (25-14, 15-6 Southland), which begins final exams the following day and needs to return to San Marcos by a decent hour in the event its student-athletes need to complete some last-minute preparations. Rice officials floated the date to Texas State, which cleared the added contest with its administration. With that initial hurdle scaled Rice officials did the same, seeking approval to play on the penultimate day of final exams. That petition was approved, and according to Rice officials, an overwhelming majority of the active roster will have completed finals by Tuesday, thus no schedule conflicts.

The 28th-ranked Owls (26-16, 11-4 C-USA) certainly need any RPI boost they can muster. The Owls are currently 26th in RPI while Texas State is 38th. The Bobcats' RPI is the best of the teams remaining on the Owls' regular-season schedule, and a victory on Tuesday would help offset the RPI drag the Owls will suffer hosting Texas Southern (RPI: 260) the following evening. When it comes down to the selection committee sorting through candidates for hosting an NCAA regional, Rice will benefit from playing a quality opponent like Texas State.

"It was a game that was supposed to be played anyway, and good competition gets us ready for the weekend (at Marshall)," The OG said. "We're two games under the (56-game) limit so we always like to play a full schedule, and since finals are over there's no reason not to play it if we can.

"Beating Texas State is a pretty tough go - they're good. It could end either way, but nevertheless that's the risk you take anytime you play a good team."

The Bobcats sit atop the Southland standings, but the Owls defeated Texas State in San Marcos 5-0 on March 3. By rescheduling against the Bobcats, the Owls will cut into their hiatus for finals. However, they are set for intrasquads on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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