The Providence Friars look to notch their 10th win as they head into their final exam break that will give them 6 days off from game action. Providence will take on the Bryant Bulldogs, another in-state rival for the Friars. This rivalry has not exactly developed the intensity that the Rhode Island one has though. Providence and Bryant have met 5 times previously, with 4 of the 5 being since the Bulldogs' program has moved up to Division I. Their last meeting was in November 2012. Bryant is 0-10 against teams from the Big East. Winning this game would give Providence the imaginary Quahog Cup because it would mean the Friars would possess wins over all 3 other Division I basketball teams in Rhode Island.
How to watch, listen or stream
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
TV: FS1 || Justin Kutcher & Vin Parise
Stream: Fox Sports GO
Odds: Providence opened as a 21.5 point favorite over Bryant, via OddsShark.
Providence is 6-3 ATS this season and Bryant is 0-2 ATS.
1. Overcoming Injury, Illness: Providence beat Boston College on Wednesday night but the Friars didn't come out of that game unscathed. Ryan Fazekas wasn't even in the arena as he had been diagnosed with a case of mononucleosis. Kris Dunn went to the locker room with about 4 minutes left in the first half with a stomach bug. Ben Bentil rolled his left ankle after landing on Dennis Clifford's foot and headed to the locker room early himself with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first stanza. All of that adds up to Providence likely being down 3 starters for this game against Bryant. No one should cry for the Friars because, even without those 3 players, they still have more talent available than Tim O'Shea. Talent doesn't always mean you'll win though.
2. The Dreaded Noon Tip: College basketball games that tip at noon on a Saturday typically mean some slow starts for teams. While the old adage that it's the same time for both teams is factually accurate, the early tip can be more problematic for one squad than the other. Providence is already depleted and will rely on young and largely unproven, inexperienced players against this Bryant team. Ed Cooley will need to make sure his players get to sleep early and arrive to the Dunkin' Donuts Center ready to play from the opening tap. The Friars have a 9-5 record in 12pm tips under Cooley.
3. Bad Bryant: Bryant has not been good through 10 games this season. They have 2 wins but only 1 is against a Division I opponent. That Division I opponent is also bad: Prairie View A&M. A quick perusal of Bryant's Kenpom.com page show lots of red and only 1 area of green. That is not a good thing. Tim O'Shea's bunch is trying to find themselves and the coach has used 8 different starting lineups in their 10 games. A fully healthy Providence team likely blasts Bryant back to Smithfield, but a depleted one might mean Bryant has a chance against a Big East foe.