Friars Looking to Start 6-1, Host Wagner

The Providence Friars are back in action Tuesday night as they play host to the Wagner Seahawks. PC is looking to build off of their 5-1 record with this game serving as a final tune-up before their last difficult stretch of the non-conference. Wagner made headlines this season with Seton Hall’s Shaheen Halloway and their coach Donald Copeland having a dust up in the handshake line post-game. The Seahawks shouldn’t present the Friars too much trouble, but they did take Fordham to OT and are coming off a win vs NJIT. Here’s a few things we will be looking for in this one.

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Providence Defeats Lehigh 78-64, Bryce Hopkins & Josh Oduro Lead the Way

Don’t let the 1-5 record fool you into thinking this Lehigh team isn’t a formidable opponent. Three of their losses have come to Providence, North Carolina, and Penn State. Lehigh was voted preseason number 2 in the Patriot League behind Colgate and received a few first place votes. We may look back at this win and see it as a resume boosting win come March.

It would have been easy for the team to come out with a sluggishness that fits a Friday game post Thanksgiving. These players aren’t robots, and it is human nature to overlook a “down” opponent, especially after coming off a tough stretch of games in Wisconsin, Kansas State, and Georgia. Bryce Hopkins and Josh Oduro ensured that wouldn’t happen. Both guys scored 54 of the team total 78 points, as Providence was ahead in this one by 10-15 points for the majority of the game.

It was fantastic to see Hopkins get back into a rhythm and play like we know he is capable of playing. When you have three players that you can conceivably rely on to take a game over if needed, it leads to less pressure on each of those three to give a herculean effort game in and game out. Those three have a core around them that can all score in double digits as well. This team is incredibly balanced.

Below, we touch upon some other items from the game as well.

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Friars Host Lehigh

The Friars return stateside to take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks Friday night at the AMP. PC is coming off a 1-1 trip at the Baha Mar Tournament and will start a three-game homestand. The Mountain Hawks are a long way away from the CJ McCollum days and currently sit at 1-4 on the year despite being competitive in 3 of those losses. Lehigh is led by a duo of guards Keith Higgins Jr and Tyler Whitney-Sidney who attempt over 10 3-pointers a contest. Here’s what to watch in this one.

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What We Know About the Friars – Big Picture

The Providence Friars stand at 4-1 after an arduous three game stretch against Wisconsin, Kansas State, and Georgia. After seeing the team up close and live over the weekend in the Baha Mar Classic, I thought I’d provide some of my broader thoughts on the team as they work their way through non-conference play.

In short, I’m doubling down on my prediction that this is a second weekend NCAA team. The pieces are in place.

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Friars Defeat UGA to Salvage Split in Baha Mar

It was a good day to be a Providence Friar. Undermanned and coming off a tough defeat at the hands of the Kansas St Wildcats the Friars responded. PC was able to fend off a pesky Georgia squad to get a 71-64 victory to salvage a split in the Baha Mar Hoops tournament. With the win the Friars improve to 4-1 on the season and put themselves on solid footing to have a good non-conference resume. Let’s take a look at how they got it done.

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Baha Mar Game Preview: Providence vs Georgia

The Friars will hit the court again on Sunday afternoon in the consolation game of the Baha Mar Hoops tournament. PC battled tough with Kansas State on Friday night but ultimately fell short 73-70 in OT. Kansas State coach Jerome Teng remains undefeated in overtime as a head coach. The Friars will now shift their attention to the Georgia Bulldogs who fell to Miami. Here’s what to look for in this one.

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Baha Mar Game 1 Preview: PC vs Kansas State

The Providence Crier has made it to Nassau and ready for a great weekend of beaches and basketball. The Friars are coming into this thing with a ton of positive momentum with their convincing victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday. Kansas State is coming off a banner year in which they saw Jerome Teng lead the Wildcats to an Elite 8 in his first season as coach. However, their season is off to a so-so start with victories over South Dakota St and Bellermine but they took a 82-69 loss in their opener vs USC. Teng is trying to replicate the portal magic he had last year with Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell by bringing in Arthur Kaluma and Tylor Perry. It should be a good opening test for the Friars as they start this two-day event, lets dive in.

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Providence Makes a Loud Statement – Friars Demolish the Wisconsin Badgers 72-59

Don’t let the final score fool you. This game was over from the opening minutes, and the final 3-4 minutes concealed just how much of a thorough beat down this game was. Providence was the better team from the onset, using their superiority in athleticism to get out in the open and run, run, run.

This team found their footing from deep early , and you began to see the vision of what Kim English wants this team to be. When Providence is filling it up from deep like they did last night, while acting like a boa constrictor on the defensive end (like they have all year), you begin to ponder if this team not being a nationally ranked preseason team and Top 5 squad in the Big East is an egregious oversight by the national media.

I’ve pushed my chips to the center of the table and said all preseason this team has the chance to be a second weekend squad at worst. That’s quite honestly my floor for them. At the risk of sounding foolish, how many teams nationwide can claim they return a First Team All Conference Player, another All Conference honoree, and a mid-major transfer that was two time first team selection in his respective conference?

I’ve scratched my head at how this bullish stance of mine is an apparent outlier amongst those who follow college basketball. This season is still young, and Providence has a few warts (hello, turnovers and free throw shooting), but the team defense coupled with a trio of Hopkins, Carter, and Oduro makes this squad very dangerous. Layer on the sophomore leap of Jayden Pierre and the addition of uber-talented freshman Garwey Dual, and you start to talk about this team in a different tone than what Friar fans are used to.

Before their trip to the Bahamas, we opine on a few other tangible items related to the beat down of the Badgers.

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Gavitt Games Preview – Wisconsin Travels to Rhode Island to Take on the 2-0 Providence Friars

Providence is looking to keep the English era at PC off to an undefeated start. Wisconsin is looking to bounce back after a tough home loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. This should be the stiffest test for the Providence Friars, who are averaging a 14.5 margin of victory over two home wins.

Below, we break down what to expect from the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday night at the AMP.

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Providence Beats Milwaukee 79-69: The Emergence of Garwey Dual

There is a reason that one of the first actions of the Kim English era was to fly out and re-recruit Providence commitment Garwey Dual. Garwey has been proclaimed as a sleeper first round pick and potential one and done. I cautioned throwing too many expectations on the true freshman, as the college game is vastly more difficult than prep ball. Expectations can swallow a player whole.

Well, Dual has made tempering expectations impossible after last night’s performance. Dual scored 14 points, had 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Most important, he seemed in complete control and dictated pace of the game. Dual hit a few timely three’s when Milwaukee was trying to make a run and seemed to be an asset from deep, which was something folks were unsure of about his game. If he can be a 40% three point shooter, I don’t think Dual will be long for college basketball, and Friar fans should enjoy his short stay in Providence.

Beyond Dual’s impressive game, we break down the good and bad from last night’s victory.

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