The Providence Friars will hit the road for their first true road game of the 2015-16 season but the journey won't be far. Ed Cooley's club only needs a 30 mile bus ride to bring them to the Ryan Center to face the in-state rival Rhode Island Rams. This will be the 126th meeting between the two schools, with Providence holding a 71-54 edge in the all-time series. The Friars are 2-4 in games played at the Ryan Center with both wins coming the last two times the teams have played in the Kington arena. Cooley is 4-0 in his career against Rhode Island. Rhode Island will be without their best returning player from last season in E.C. Matthews, who tore his ACL in the season opener against American.
How to watch, listen or stream
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPNU || Kevin Fitzgerald & Tim Welsh
Odds: Providence opened as 4 point road underdogs against Rhode Island, via OddsShark. The line quickly moved to +3.5.
Providence is 4-3 ATS this season and Rhode Island is 2-3 ATS.
O/U: The over/under total opened at 138.
Moneyline: Providence opened at +120 and Rhode Island opened at -140.
1. Foul Trouble: The new emphasis on offensive players' freedom of movement has meant whistles are up 6.9% from last year, according to KPISports.net. The amount of fouls being called 30+ feet from the basket has been a bit perturbing to watch but players will have to adjust. Kris Dunn has been in foul trouble lately, including in Providence's upset win against then 11th-ranked Arizona and the Friars' loss to then 3rd-ranked Michigan State. Dunn was able to overcome foul trouble against Arizona to take over in the game's final 5 minutes but that wasn't the case in the Michigan State tilt. Dunn will have to be smart, as will his Friar teammates, about not taking too many gambles for reach in steals against the Ram guards. The last time Providence played a road game and Dunn got into foul trouble was against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament. That was not a positive outcome for Providence.
2. Keeping McGlynn Off 3's: Four McGlynn is a shooter. The graduate transfer from Towson is hitting 3-pointers at a 44.4% clip this season for the Rams. He is also their leading scorer at 13.3 ppg. Providence has struggled defending the 3-point line for stretches of games and they absolutely cannot afford to lose McGlynn around the perimeter. Rhode Island has not been scoring a ton of points and keeping McGlynn in check from downtown will go a long way to keeping it that way on Saturday night.
3. Good Offense vs. Good Defense: This game is basically a matchup of a good offense vs. a good defense. Providence's Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is ranked in the top-50 nationally, while Rhode Island's Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is ranked in the top-15 -- both stats courtesy of Kenpom.com. The winner of this game will be the winner of this battle.