It’s been a great start to the season for the Providence Friars thus far. They are red-hot and keeping pace with some of the best teams in the Big East. In their most recent game, the Friars narrowly pulled out a win against Rider 88-84 on Wednesday night.
They made enough plays down the stretch to get the win despite a mini-scare. Ed Cooley’s team is 6-1 and is currently on a five-game winning streak. Now, Providence will be facing off against an in-state rival as they look for their seventh win.
Providence will be playing the Rhode Island Rams this weekend in the annual Ocean State showdown. It’s been a decent start to the season for the Rams, as they head into this matchup with a 4-2 record. URI has played some decent teams to begin the season, playing the likes of Virginia, Seton Hall, and Nevada. They fell short against the Cavaliers and Wolf Pack, but pulled off a stunning win against the Pirates in Brooklyn.
It was a good win for a program which had a very good NCAA tournament run last year. Hopefully for URI, they can continue riding the wave from last year’s success. But they have a tough road ahead of them.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: WEEI 103.7 FM (Providence) || B101 (Rhode Island)
Odds: Providence enters this game as a 4 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: Providence (2-4) || Rhode Island (2-2)
This will be the 128th meeting between the two rivals. Providence holds the edge over Rhode Island, 73-54, and has won 10 of the last 14 meetings.
Last year, when these two teams met, it was the Friars who beat the then-ranked Rams 63-60 in a tightly contested battle.
Expect this time to be no different.
3 Things to Watch
Losing Emmitt Holt
It was a big loss for the Friars when it was announced that Emmitt Holt was out for the season. Losing a guy like Holt is always tough, especially when he’s a senior and can provide veteran leadership. A lot of guys will have to step up in his absence, especially fellow senior Rodney Bullock. He’s currently leading the teams in points per game, and if he keeps up the output, Providence may be alright.
Ball movement for Rhode Island
If there is one thing which the Rams do well, it’s move the ball. They average nearly 16 assists per game, good for 89th in the country. The key player in this phase of the game is guard Jeff Dowtin. Dowtin leads the team with 4.5 dimes per game. The Providence defense will have to be on their toes the entire time and not get caught sleeping on their assignments.
Friars bench production
According to the game guide, the Friars bench has accounted for 36.6 percent of their total points this season. That’s really good. It really helps a team out when their second unit guys are able to not only maintain leads, but extend them as well. It really allows Cooley to be flexible with his lineups and how many minutes he wants to play guys. Let’s see if this is a factor for Providence.