Game Notes & Preview: Providence (5-2, 0-0) vs (21) Rhode Island (5-2, 0-0) 12/3/16

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 4:30pm EST

How: FSN (Alex Faust & Dickey Simpkins)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and Rhode Island will meet for the 127th time ever on Saturday. The Friars lead the all-time series, 72-54. Providence has won the last 6 matchups, including a thrilling win at the buzzer last season at the Ryan Center.
  • Providence is 146-106 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 conference. The Friars went 2-0 last season against teams from the A10 and they will play another A10 opponent next Saturday when UMass comes to the Dunk.
  • Rhode Island is 5-2 this season. They started the season 4-0 with wins over Dartmouth, Marist, Brown and Cincinnati. Then they lost to #1 Duke in the finals of the Hall of Fame Tipoff at Mohegan Sun, beat Belmont and, most recently, dropped a road game at Valpariaso on Tuesday night. The Rams are led by Dan Hurley, who is in his 5th season at the helm of the Rhode Island program. Senior Hassan Martin leads the Rams in scoring at 16.4 points/game and rebounding, averaging 6.6 rebounds/game.
  • Opening Line: Providence vs (21) Rhode Island Pick ‘Em 12/3/16

Game Preview

Providence and URI renew the Ocean State rivalry for the 127th on Saturday afternoon in what figures to be a full and boisterous Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Both teams enter this matchup with 5-2 records and this is only the second time ever that the two teams will meet while Providence is unranked and URI is in the AP Top 25. The last time Providence played a ranked non-conference opponent at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was November 22, 2006 when the unranked Friars beat 23rd ranked Boston College, 73-64.

The Rams are coming off a loss on the road on Tuesday night, while the Friars played Wednesday night at home and trounced UNH. Providence has won six straight games against URI and the last time the Rams won a game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was December 7, 2002. I expect this one to be a very tight game that will have plenty of excitement and intrigue. Hold on to your hats, Friar fans. This should be fun.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Providence
Rhode Island

The keys to victory for Providence will be to get to the free throw line early and often on offense — and obviously make the free throws — and on the defensive side the Friars need to clean the glass and communicate well to slow down Rhode Island’s pick-and-roll offense. The Rams allow opponents to get to the free throw line nearly 23 times per game. That’s a lot of good scoring chances for a Providence team that has struggled to put the ball through the hoop in the halfcourt this season. Garrett, Terrell and Matthews are all very effective at running the pick-and-roll offense and Cooley needs to figure out where to deploy his defensive weapon Jalen Lindsey. Another key factor to monitor will be foul trouble.

***Note the start time of 4:30pm EST***

Prediction: Providence 60 Rhode Island 59

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