Finals week is no easy time for student athletes. Trying to evaluate your progress on the floor over the first month and a half of the season, while dealing with finishing up the semester strong in the classroom is something all deal with. For Providence, this mini break was all too noisy. With the news, or lack there of, regarding freshman Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock's playing status, the Friars were also dealt an all too familiar card regarding Kris Dunn. The sophomore guard, and highest recruit to come to Providence in years, will sit the rest of the year after needing surgery on a shoulder that has yet to be at full strength since his arrival. However, good teams move forward, and the Friars will have to do so with the players Ed Cooley is able to send out onto the floor.
Who to watch: Kadeem Batts. The fifth year senior will need to be more aggressive with the lack of scoring power the Friars now have and will need to be the player he was last year during conference play. His 12 points a game thus far are not enough for what many thought would be one of the better big men in the conference this year. Yale's top rebounder, 6'8 sophomore Justin Sears, is someone Batts will do battle with on the boards tonight. Look for one of the leaders of Providence to step up in a big way.
What to watch: The Friars bench. Someone will need to step up with Dunn sidelined for the season. In their last game against Rhode Island, only Carson Desrosiers saw serious minutes off the bench. His ability to alter shots in the lane is something the Friars have hung their hat on this year on defense but he has lacked any real rhythm on offense. Against a smaller Ivy League opponent, Desrosiers should give the Friars that much needed bench production.
When to watch: Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence Rhode Island.
Where to watch (and listen): Fox Sports 1 will be televising this game tonight and you can listen to the call on 103.7 WEEI FM.
Now: Yale (5-4) is coming off a 71-61 victory over New Hampshire. Providence is trying to make it 2-0 this year against Ivy League opponents as they held off Brown earlier in the year 73-69. If Yale is able to give Providence problems in this one, the Friars could be in for a long year, especially with nationally ranked UMass lurking on the schedule before conference play and currently relying on a six man rotation.
Prediction: Providence 75 Yale 62