Coming off a monster win against Texas Tech at home, Providence looks to keep piling on victories against in-state foe URI. You can throw the records and quality of team out the window when these two play. It is sure to be an energetic and raucous atmosphere at the Dunk. We break down the URI Team below and key in on a few themes to help Providence secure the win.
Rhode Island Rams Overview
Record: 6-2 with KenPom rating of 74, Notable wins over Boston College (2x) and Harvard
Team Stats: Averaging 39% from 3, 72% from Free Throw, over 7 Blocks a game, over 15 Turnovers a game
Keys to Friar Victory
1. The anti-Texas Tech blueprint on defense: Providence and the staff quickly realized against the Red Raiders that they couldn’t win playing man-to-man defense. The switch to zone allowed Providence to settle in and not give Texas Tech the ability to blow by them.
Providence has the horses to play on-ball defense against URI and pressure them the entirety of the court. Averaging 15 turnovers a game, sticking to man defense may lead to easy buckets in transition. A zone D, and URI can easily shoot right out of it.
2. Get the Mitchell twins in foul trouble: Don’t let the Mitchell twins playing at URI fool you. They were bonafide, blue chip recruits that left Maryland for a variety of reasons. Watson and Horchler need to be on their game. Getting these two in foul trouble changes the entire dynamics of the game. Makhel averages over 3 blocks a game and is a relentless force on the defensive end. Watson and Horchler need to get them in foul trouble early. If they do that, Providence may be able to run away with this one.
3. Use the crowd’s energy: Only 3 players on Providence have played in this annual rivalry game. Nobody on URI has. This atmosphere will be a shell shock for both teams to start, and it is imperative that they use home court to jump out to an early lead and get the Rams on the ropes.
4. Take better care of the ball with Bynum out: Providence had 16 turnovers against Texas Tech, 4 of those coming from Durham. Bynum is out again for this game, so it is imperative that we focus on minimizing careless turnovers. Providence is the better team, and sloppy play is an easy recipe to let URI hang around.
1. Reeves shines in his senior year rivalry game, scoring 18
2. Horchler gets back to form after slumping against Texas Tech and scores 15 with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Crier: Providence wins running away 84-63. Cooley has down played the rivalry in the past but I feel like this one has extra significance. There were many claiming that PC “ducked” URI last season. Be careful what you wish for.
BOC: I’ve been off compared to the Crier, so proceed with caution. I think Providence wins 78-72.