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Time: 7 p.m. ET
Houston won the only other meeting between the two teams, picking up a 102-89 victory all the way back in 1965.
Line: Houston opened as a three-point favorite, but the line is as high as five in some places.
Without mincing words, this game is a must-win for the Friars.
Of course, anything can happen in Big East play and they could surprise everyone and go 12-6 in conference play or something, but having four nonconference losses would be a tough pill to swallow if Providence wants to make the NCAA Tournament. The losses to Minnesota and URI aren’t exactly bad, but the loss to UMass stings. A win over Houston, a projected top 3 finisher in the AAC, would go a long way towards ultimately boosting Providence’s resume back up.
It won’t be easy for the Friars, though. Houston is loaded with upperclassmen and is a very deep team. Led by Rob Gray’s 20 points per game, the Cougars have four players averaging double-figures and their 82.2 points per game as a team is right outside the top 50 in the nation.
For the Friars, a lot will depend on the status of Kyron Cartwright. Cartwright re-injured his ankle in the win over Stony Brook and is listed as day-to-day.