Game Notes & Preview: Providence (6-1) at Rhode Island (4-2) 12/2/17

Where: Ryan Center – Kingston, RI

When: 5:00pm EST

How: CBS Sports Network (Ed Cohen & Bob Wenzel)/CBSSN Online (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Tickets: SeatGeek

Game Notes

  • Providence and Rhode Island will meet for the 128th time on Wednesday. Providence leads the all-time series, 73-54. URI is Providence’s most frequent opponent in school history and one of five schools that the Friars have played more than 100 times. Interestingly, URI counts two additional matchups on their school history and they believe this game will be the 130th time the two schools will have played.
  • Providence is 149-106 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 conference, including a 1-0 record this season with the Friars’ win against Saint Louis in the 2K Classic championship game at Madison Square Garden on November 17th.
  • Rhode Island is 4-2 this season with a neutral court win over Big East member Seton Hall. They were picked to finish 1st in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll. URI is coached by Dan Hurley  who is in his 6th season at the helm. The Rams are led in scoring by senior Jared Terrell who is averaging 19.0 points/game. They are led in rebounding by senior Andre Berry who is averaging 4.3 rebounds/game. EC Matthews continues to be out due to a broken wrist suffered in a loss to Nevada.
  • The Friars defeated Rider, 88-84, in their last time out on Wednesday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Providence surrendered a 10-point halftime lead to the Broncs but the Friars held on down the stretch to win by 4 behind 23 points from Rodney Bullock.
  • Providence senior forward Rodney Bullock went over 1,000 points in his career against Boston College on November 25th. He became the 48th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points. Bullock is the 17th-fastest Providence player, tied with Eric Murdock, to score his 1,000th point (73 games). Bullock’s current place on the list is 46th with 1,026 points. He is just in front of Ray Flynn and 8 points behind Derrick Brown.
  • Providence senior guard Kyron Cartwright continues his drive up the all-time assist record list at Providence. He began the season tied for 12th with John Linehan (450). Cartwright has 49 assists through 6 games. He has 499 assists in his career, which places him 7th all-time at Providence. His most recent game with 9 helpers moved him from 10th place behind Vin Ernst (487), Eric Murdock (487) and Bob Misevicius (490). Next on the list in front of Cartwright is Ricky Tucker (520).
  • Providence officially announced on November 29th that Emmitt Holt would miss the entire 2017-18 season as a redshirt while he continues to recover from abdominal surgery. Holt has been off campus recovering, but is expected to return to school in January.
  • Opening Line: Providence +3.5 at Rhode Island 12/2/17

Game Preview

Providence and URI will meet for the 128th time on Saturday and this meeting will be the 8th time the two teams have played at the Ryan Center on URI’s campus. The Friars enter with a 7-game winning streak over the Rams that dates back to December 4, 2010 when Providence was coached by Keno Davis and URI was coached by Jim Baron. The last time these two teams met after both playing in the NCAA Tournament the season before was in the 1998-99 season.

This would normally be the part of the preview where I give you some stats that would suggest one thing or another about Providence’s opponent. I could do that. I could tell you that URI’s offense is worse against a zone, evidenced by the dip from 0.947 points per possession (PPP) to 0.854 PPP and 49.5% field goal percentage to 46.9%. I could also tell you that Jared Terrell is the key player for URI because he is the leader in URI’s top 3 scoring categories, per Synergy.

Cox Hub

But in heated rivalry games like this one sometimes the stats and analysis goes out the window. That isn’t to say that the coaching staffs ignored film and didn’t come up with a scouting report. But for the purposes of this preview I’ll say sit back and enjoy watching two pretty evenly matched teams go at it.

Whether you are someone who believes having both Providence and URI playing well is good for the state of Rhode Island or you just spat at your screen when reading the first half of this sentence because you have nothing but hate in your hear for the Rams, this game should be a good one.

There’s not much else to say about this game. It’s the Rhode Island Super Bowl for either one fan base or both, depending on who you talk to (see above).

Listen to the Providence Friarcast where Brendan McGair, Chris Grenham and me preview this game:

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Rhode Island

The keys to victory for Providence are to convert on their likely increased free throw attempts, stop Jared Terrell and stop giving up a bunch of offensive rebounds. I know I said I wasn’t going to give you a ton of stats and analysis in this preview, but some things are worth keeping an eye on as you sit back and enjoy watching two pretty evenly matched teams go at it. The Rams are currently 333rd in defensive Free Throw Rate, which is to say that they foul a lot resulting in their opponents taking lots of trips to the free throw line. Providence has been average at the line this season, converting at 70.7%. Converting free throws in what figures to be a close game is always key.

Terrell has been the leader for URI and he is doing just about everything well. His scoring has jumped from 12.6 to 19.0 points/game and he is also averaging 1.5 steals/game, a category where URI’s defense ranks 10th nationally as a team at 12.7 Steal%, per Kenpom. Terrell is also playing with the ball in his hands quite a bit, so it will be interesting to see how Ed Cooley handles defending Terrell. One option is to mix in some zone to force the ball to move around and not always be in Terrell’s hands. Should Cooley opt to play man-to-man I would expect to see Alpha Diallo and Jalen Lindsey get the assignment.

Providence gave up 14 offensive rebounds to Rider last time out and they rank 313th nationally. Kalif Young and Nate Watson need to get tougher down low and stop allowing opponents to get 2nd chances. With a game that should be close giving your opponent extra possessions because you can’t clean the glass is a losing proposition, especially on the road.

Prediction: Providence 69 Rhode Island 70

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