Game Notes & Preview: Providence (7-2, 0-0) vs Massachusetts (6-2, 0-0) 12/10/16

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 12:00pm EST

How: FS1 (Alex Faust & Tarik Turner)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and Massachusetts will meet for the 32nd time ever on Saturday. The Friars lead the all-time series, 24-7. The teams first met on March 1, 1932 when Providence won in Amherst, 36-21.
  • Providence is 147-106 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 conference. The Friars are 1-0 this season after defeating Rhode Island last Saturday.
  • Massachusetts is 6-2 this season. They have wins against UMass-Lowell, Temple, Holy Cross, Harvard, Wagner and, most recently, Pacific. Their two losses are at Mississippi and home against Central Florida. The Minutemen are led by Derek Kellogg, who is in his 9th season at the helm of the Massachusetts program. Junior Donte Clark leads the Minutemen in scoring at 14.8 points/game and rebounding, averaging 5.1 rebounds/game.
  • Opening Line: Providence -8.5 vs Massachusetts 12/10/16

Game Preview

Providence is coming off delivering a shellacking to the Brown Bears on Tuesday night, 95-57. The 95 points is the most scored by the Friars since Ed Cooley became the head coach. UMass comes into this game having played Pacific at home on Thursday night in a game they won by 24 after only leading by 5 at the half. Derek Kellogg’s team plays very inefficiently on offense, but they are holding teams to just 38.6% from the field on defense and they create extra possessions for their offense by turning their opponents over on 24.3% of possessions. That’s the 14th-best Turnover % in the nation, per The Minutemen press nearly 25% of possessions this season and are stealing the ball at a 13.6% clip, good for 7th nationally. On the negative side of their defense, UMass fouls a lot. Their opponents have a 48.9 FT rate, which ranks 329th out of 351 teams.

Getting back to the inefficient offense, UMass turns the ball over at a high clip — 20.8% — and shoots poorly from the 3-point and free throw lines. They rank 305th in 3P% at 30.1% and 310th in FT% at 62.9%. Kellogg also likes to shuffle players in and out, which makes sense with the amount the Minutemen press and run on offense. In the half court, UMass is shooting just 40.2% from the field. They have shot just 36.3% when zoned, which has happened on 25.4% of possessions.

They have the 50th most Bench Minutes at 37.7% this season. One final note on UMass is that they have the 325th most experienced roster in college basketball with an average of 1.14 years of experience.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:


The keys to victory for Providence are to control the tempo and take care of the basketball. UMass wants to play fast. They want to press and they want to run. When forced to play halfcourt basketball the Minutemen haven’t scored the ball very well this season. If Providence slows the game to a pace they are comfortable and the Friars make sure to play good transition defense, they win this game going away. If the Friars allow UMass to turn them over and get easy baskets in transition it could be a much tighter game than it should be.

Prediction: Providence 69 Massachusetts 60

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