The Providence Friars have a busy week.
After being idle for a little while, the Friars have to go through three games within the next six days. This journey started on Sunday, when Providence took on the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. They passed that test, winning 87-63 in a game in which they hardly ever trailed. On Friday, a trip to the Frank Erwin Center in Austin awaits them, as do the resident Texas Longhorns. But before they take on the Longhorns, they must first go through the Albany Great Danes.
Albany’s season has been a rough one. The Great Danes of the America East Conference are 3-8 on the season so far. Their only wins have come against the Canisius Golden Griffins, SUNY Oneonta and the Monmouth Hawks. Otherwise, they’ve taken losses to everyone else they’ve faced. The best team they’ve taken a loss to are the Yale Bulldogs, while the others fall between 140-282 on KenPom. So it’s not as if their SOS is even that high.
Head coach Will Brown is finding it hard to replace Joe Cremo, now with the Villanova Wildcats, as well as seniors Travis Charles, Alex Foster, Greig Stire and Costa Anderson, all integral pieces on a 22-win team.
Albany has struggled on both the offensive and defensive end. Their one bright spot so far is that they shoot the 3-point ball well and are terrific at the FT line. They’ve made 35.4 percent of their 3-point shots and 76.6 percent of their freebie attempts. They are taking a lot of shots from deep and unsurprisingly many of their points have come from 3-point attempts this season.
So the Friars are going to have to do their best to try and run them off the line and keep them in check. The ones to watch are Cameron Healy and Devonte Campbell, who are both shooting above 38 percent so far.
Freshman forward Adam Lulka has been solid for Albany as well. He’s posted the team’s highest marks (based on minimum attempts) in eFG% and TS% so far, with both above 55 percent. He’s also been the team’s best rebounder, with marks at 9.2 and 18.1 percent in OR% and DR%. He’s logged a lot of minutes, and while he might not always have the ball in his hands, Lulka will be one to watch still.
Understandably, Providence is a heavy favorite in this one. Their WP% is 92 percent on KenPom and they’re projected to win by 16 points. Albany is also easily the worst team that Providence will now face going away, so the Friars would be wise not to slip up and get this win before heading to Texas. It will be intriguing again to see how the team plays without A.J. Reeves, although they obviously passed with flying colors on Sunday against the Blue Devils.
Alpha Diallo has been awesome, the tandem of Isaiah Jackson and Nate Watson keeps showing out and, lately, Makai Ashton-Langford has been seizing control. Maliek White had a great game against Central Connecticut and we’ll see if he can parlay that into another on Tuesday night.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go