Time and Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2 p.m. ET
Records: Providence (0-0) | Fairfield (0-0)
Rankings: Providence (#56 KenPom) | Oakland (#257 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: Fox Sports GO
Line: Providence -20.0
The Friars come into the season in an interesting, all in all. They were picked to finish third in the Big East at Media Day, and have AJ Reeves and David Duke coming back for their junior seasons, both of whom should be excellent in their enhanced roles. The flip side, though, is how much will the Friars miss Alpha Diallo? Diallo developed into a threat on both sides of the ball throughout his time at Providence, and his departure leaves the Friars without last season’s top scoring and rebounding option.
How much stock can be put into Duke, Reeves, and Nate Watson developing? Quite a bit, if you listen to fellow Big East coaches. Duke found himself on the All Big East First Team and Watson on the Second Team at last month’s Big East Media Day. If those two play to potential and Reeves is able to be the scorer he was in his freshman season instead of the player that struggled in last year’s injury-plagued season, Providence will be in good shape.
They should have plenty of chances to develop confidence on offense on Wednesday against a Fairfield team that was average defensively last season but lost a lot of pieces since then.
The Stags finished 344 of 353 teams in adjusted offensive efficiency last season. It goes without saying that isn’t something you want to have happen. It was their first year under coach Jay Young and they went 12-20, but it doesn’t seem like things will improve all that drastically here in year two, as the offense is looking very similar to how it looked last year. Leading returning scorer Jesus Cruz averaged just 11 points per game last season.