The Providence Friars improved to 11-1 in the non-conference portion of their schedule with a win over Rider at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Saturday night Ben Benitl led the way for a Friar team that was missing the two starters in Kris Dunn (flu-like symptoms) and Ryan Fazekas (mono). The 11-1 start is just the fourth time in program history that a Friar team as 1 or 0 losses through the first 12 games of a season. Providence will travel to Amherst to take on the 6-4 Massachusetts Minutemen to close our their non-conference slate with their second true road game of the 2015-16 season. The Friars own a 23-7 record against UMass all-time and are 8-2 in Amherst.
How to watch, listen
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: CBSSN || Ben Holden & Chris Walker
Odds: Providence opened as a 4 point favorite over UMass, via OddsShark.
Providence is 6-5 ATS this season and UMass is 3-5 ATS.
1. The Return of Dunn?: Providence managed to survive their last two games without Kris Dunn and they may have to do it one more time on Monday against UMass. Dunn left Providence's December 9th game against Boston College late in the first half due to illness. That illness has persisted for Dunn -- and has also been floating around the rest of the team to varying degrees -- to the point where the Friar point guard sat out the December 12th win over Bryant and surprisingly missed the team's game on Saturday against Rider. Dunn practiced a little during the exam break so he doesn't seem to far away from being healthy. He'll again be game-time decision for Cooley.
2. Friars on the Road: Monday night's game at UMass will be Providence's second true road game of the season after they won a rivalry game at the buzzer down the road from their campus against the Rhode Island Rams. Road games in the non-conference are a good test, especially for a team that has a good amount of young pieces that need to gain experience leading into the Big East slate starting on New Year's Eve on the road at Butler.
3. Starting Hot: Providence started the Rider game on a 15-0 run before the Broncs got their first bucket of the game. UMass has struggled in some games this season falling behind early and spending the rest of the contest trying to dig their way out of that hole. If Providencec can get out to a fast start and keep the UMass fans sitting on their hands it would go a long way towards a 12-1 star to the season.