Tuesday night the newly named Amica Mutual Pavilion will set the stage for a big evening in Friartown. PC will ring in the new season by celebrating the historic one from last year. PC will host a banner raising ceremony for the program’s first ever Big East regular season championship and the school’s 6th appearance in the Sweet 16. After the festivities, PC will suit up against Rider.
The college basketball offseason is long and full of terrors. For Providence it was full of transfers, as Cooley & staff reloaded the roster through the transfer portal with five additions. PC brings in two new freshman to go alongside key returnees of Jared Bynum, Ed Croswell, Alyn Breed and Rafael Castro. Let’s take a look at some of the things to watch for Tuesday’s contest.
- Rider vs Providence
- 6:30pm Amica Mutual Pavilion
- PC -13.5, O/U 139
What Will Rotations Look Like?
In the two exhibition games PC had two different starting 5s. Against AIC, it was a guard heavy starting unit of Jared Bynum, Noah Locke, Devin Carter, Bryce Hopkins and Ed Croswell. In the next game Providence went with a bigger starting lineup with forward Rafael Castro replacing Noah Locke. The Friars probably have the best depth at the guard position in Ed Cooley’s tenure. They also have a lot of versatile players that can play multiple positions. It will be interesting to see who gets the starting nods and how long their rotation will be. Tuesday will be our first look at that.
Will Rebounding Be a Concern?
While you don’t want to read too much into exhibitions, a glaring stat from the AIC game was rebounding. PC only out rebounded DII AIC by only 4 and gave up 13 offensive rebounds. The Friars must’ve put an emphasis on it going into the Assumption exhibition because they dominated the glass to a +30 margin. The Broncs will be a tough test in this department. Rider led the MAAC in rebounding last season and get production up and down the lineup.
Bryce Hopkins Debut
The transfer on the Friars that seems to be getting the most hype is Bryce Hopkins. Hopkins flashed potential in limited minutes in his freshman season at Kentucky. In the Mal Brown Scrimmage and the two exhibitions Hopkins has put up gaudy scoring numbers. Hopkins figures to a matchup nightmare for oppositions with his physical frame with a good handle and a jump shot. If Hopkins can be the player many, including myself, think he can be, Providence is going to have a successful season.
Familiar Foe on Rider
Providence isn’t the only program that brought in transfers this season. Rider also added a transfer that Friar fans may recall. After transferring into URI from Towson, Alan Bertrand transferred to Rider. Bertrand has never faced PC, as he missed the beginning portion of the season. Injuries derailed his lone season at URI and with Archie Miller taking over Bertrand, now healthy finds himself at Rider. Expect him to be a big focal point for them on offense along with preseason first team all-MAAC guard Dwight Murray Jr.
Crier: Considering all the energy that should be in the building it’s hard to envision PC dropping the opener, Cooley has only done so once as head coach of the Friars. Having said that Rider is no slouch as an opener. The Broncs were projected to finish third in the MAAC and that was prior to the mass exodus out of Manhattan College. Think this one will be tight early but their athleticism will overwhelm and ultimately win out. PC 81 Rider 64
BOC: I think Cooley is going to use the first few games to figure out a rotation. Until the proverbial lights come on, you never know who is going to perform. Practice is vastly different than an actual in-season game. With all that said, I’d anticipate we see 10+ players get time on Tuesday evening. There will be flashes of excellent play, along with periods of frustrating and sloppy play. I think PC wins this one, but fans need to be patient. This team needs time to gel. 78-70 Providence.