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UConn vs Providence: Round Two

Will the Huskies continue to show new life on offense, or will Providence sweep the season series?

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Xavier Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Streaming: FOX Sports Go

Location: Gampel Pavilion


Records: UConn 9-5 (6-5) | Providence 11-10 (7-8)

Odds

Spread: Providence +5.5

ATS Records: UConn (10-4) | Providence (10-11)

Total: 132.5

KenPom Rankings: UConn – 38 |Providence – 71


Previous Matchup

UConn and Providence faced off just 6 days ago. Providence got the best of that game, winning 70-59. The game was close for the first half, but Providence began to pull away in the second half and UConn didn’t have enough fire power on offense. In fact, UConn shot just 20% from three while also getting out rebounded 39-34. Those numbers won’t cut it if the Huskies plan to split the season series with Providence.

The Matchup

This feels like a game where metrics might go out the window. An old rivalry renewed: round two. Both teams looking to get back to full strength to make a late season push to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. This should be an emotional game for both teams. UConn is coming off a nice victory over Xavier, overcoming a poor start. On the other hand, Providence has reeled off two straight games. Ed Cooley was even out against DePaul, but the Friars hung tough. Both teams know that each game counts a little bit more when you’re living life on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Despite just played mere days ago, this should be a completely new matchup. The return of Akok Akok against Xavier was a much-needed spark for UConn. Akok played sparingly and scored just 7 points, but his energy, passion, and love for the game was something that UConn seemed to be missing the past few games. After the game, many team members mentioned just how important it was to see Akok out there, not just competing, but smiling and enjoying the game. Can he be an impact playing moving forward, even with limited minutes? Can UConn expect RJ Cole to expand on his dominant performance against Xavier? Adding to the intrigue for this game is the million-dollar question: will James Bouknight finally make his return? Seth Davis seems to think it’s a possibility. Another game changer for the Huskies.

Meanwhile, guard Jared Bynum also returned from injury for Providence. Can his return help will the Friars into a late season run? Nate Watson and David Duke continue to propel Providence. AJ Reeves and Noah Horchler have provided nice depth and support over the last couple games. Can they keep the momentum going? Providence has very little margin for error at this point, with only 4 scheduled games left. The Friars are not favored in any of those games, according to Kenpom. Can they overcome the odds?

Final Thoughts

I’m going to assume James Bouknight is out until I see him on the court. Regardless, this is a must-win game for both teams with aspirations to make the NCAA tournament. If this were a normal season with fans, I would feel confident about UConn winning inside a packed Gampel. But alas, this season has been anything but normal for everyone. Anything goes in the 2020-2021 season.