Jon Rothsein is reporting that the Providence Friars are heading back to the Mohegan Sun Arena in nearby Uncasville, CT for a neutral site matchup against the Houston Cougars on December 20th. Providence last played at Mohegan Sun in the 2014-15 season as part of the Hall of Fame Tipoff. The Friars defeated Florida State and Notre Dame to take home the trophy. This game, which Rothstein reported is likely to be part of a double-header, will just be a neutral site game and not part of a tournament. The Friars are playing in the 2017 2K Classic in November. It’s unclear if the deal will include a game or games at Providence and/or Houston.
Houston has made two straight trips to the NIT and the Cougars are 56-40 in Kelvin Sampson’s three season at the helm. The Cougars finished the season with an RPI of 62, which was one slot behind the Friars through games on April 3rd. Sampson has built his team largely with the use of junior college transfers. Next season’s Houston roster is expected to include eight former JUCO players. One such player is returning leading scorer Rob Gray who averaged 20.6 points/game a season ago.
Providence had been rumored to be working on a series with Kentucky that would have included a game in Atlantis in November but the deal fell through. The Friars are also expected to play local programs Boston College, Brown, UMass and URI. Mohegan Sun Arena seats 9,323 for basketball and Cooley dubbed it “Friartown South” the last time Providence played there.
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