What To / Where To: Providence vs. Rhode Island Game Preview

dave@friarblog —  December 23rd, 2011 1:42 PM —  Comments
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After the Friars defeated New Hampshire, Ed Cooley noted in his press conference that from then on, the competition was going to become very different. As @TTAPCBBall replied on Twitter,

“Yeah, it’s gonna get much worse. #lolURI”

While that definitely gave me a chuckle, this Friar team can’t afford to take any team lightly, let alone a rivalry road game in a hostile environment. The Rams have been playing a pretty awful brand of basketball this season, one that doesn’t play into the weaknesses of this PC team. However, we all know that in this series the talent and win-loss record of both teams never seems to translate. Still, the Friars should be confident going in to the Ryan Center this year with a more disciplined team and stable roster playing smart basketball.

So let’s do this! Can the Friars be the undisputed champion of Cacapoopoopeepeeshire? (and yes, I used this same joke for a URI/PC preview years back. It’s still awesome.)

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: 7:00PM EST

Opponent: Rhode Island (1-10, yup, ONE AND TEN)

Location: The Ryan Center

Spread: Providence -5.5

ESPN Accuscore: Providence 74.7, URI 65.4 (Providence wins in 74.4% of 10,000 simulations)

CBSSports Daily Picks: Providence 75, URI 69

Four Factors

Hit up the rest of the preview after the jump.

WHAT TO: LOOK FOR

The General Does Not Fear the Ryan Center: Vincent Council is fresh off a long break, and playing at an extremely high level. Council has also excelled against the Rams in two previous meetings, including a game at the Ryan Center as a freshman. In that game the Friars lost, VC scored 16 points off the bench on 6-10 shooting, while dishing out 6 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. Last season at the Dunk, he scored 17 points and had 10 assists in one of PC’s best wins. As he is responsible for more possessions this season, Council will once again be the key to a Providence victory.

Much different URI rotation: The Rams will be getting some reinforcements by way of two transfers – Billy Baron (who will try to bring some outside shooting to a team that has been woeful) and Andre Malone (who will help the inside game). However, it’s possible they will also be without their two top scorers. Nikola Malesevic punched a wall and broke his hand, and Jamal Wilson could miss another game after being suspended by Coach Baron. His status is not known for the game tonight.

Possible terrible flashbacks to last two seasons: No, thankfully Ed Cooley will not be the one bringing back Keno-ball for the night. I know the roster is going to be a little different for URI, but it’s hard to ignore the stats the Rams have accumulated so far. Good offensive rebounding numbers, a terrible adjusted defensive efficiency (107.4, ranked #302), lots of jacked threes with bad percentages, terrible assist rates, and all sorts of problems with players off the court. Sound familiar? I thought Keno was an analyst for the BIG 10 Network? Is he still consulting in Rhode Island? Anyways, will the two transfers be enough to turn the ship around? Not likely.

From FriarFrenzy: PC relies heavily on scouting and understanding their opponents tendencies when preparing for a game. Getting a good feel for URI will be difficult with Billy Baron and Andre Malone making their Ram debuts tomorrow night. Look for PC to try to impose their game on the Rams as a counter, playing straight man to start and trying to get out on the break, which typically URI would have no problem obliging. Then, depending on what Cooley and company learn and how the game goes look for them to adjust accordingly.

WHAT TO: READ

StatSheet.com: Pregame

Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]

The PC Friars and the URI Rams will be renewing their Ocean State rivalry for the 122nd time on December 23, with PC holding a 67-54 edge in the series, including a 35-23 mark in Providence. In the last eight meetings between the two teams, the series is tied at 4-4 with the home team winning each of the last eight games. Last season, the Friars earned an 87-74 win on December 4, 2010, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. In the most recent win by URI, the Rams took an 86-82 decision on December 5, 2009, in only the fourth meeting in Kingston, R.I., since 1973. The first two meetings between PC and URI were exhibition contests in Kingston in 1920 and ’21. The first regular- season match-up was a 53-38 Friar win at the Rhode Island Auditorium. The series has been continuous since 1935, with the only interruption coming in 1943-44 when PC did not field a team due to World War II. URI is one of three schools the Friars have played over 100 times, with the others being Brown (118 games) and Boston College (106 games).

GoRhody.com: Rams, Friars Meet for 124th Time on Friday Night

NOW TRENDING: ASSIST/TURNOVER RATIO
* Through the Runnin’ Rams first 11 games, they have posted more assists than turnovers once – the lone win vs. Hofstra on Nov. 25.
* On the season, URI has a 0.74:1 assist/turnover ratio (129 assists/174 turnovers)
* URI is averaging 15.8 turnovers, while dishing out 11.7 assists per game.
* Last season, in games with a positive assist/turnover ratio, Rhody was 12-3.

Cox Sports Online: Rivalry 101: Friars vs. Rams

Jimmy Walker, Johnny Egan, Joey Hassett, “Flea” Malloy, Pappy Owens, Tyson Wheeler, Lamar Odom, Otis Thorpe, Tommy Garrick, Ryan Gomes … there have been a lot of greats who have played in this classic interstate rivalry.

GoLocalProv: Friars, Rams have history…but do they have a future?

However, this game is played for the two schools, and for the respective fans of those schools, more than ever before.

And that’s not a bad thing. PC-URI still creates a local buzz, some years more than others, and keeps us all focused on “us.” This is a game that should always be played, no matter the circumstances, for the history alone…if nothing else. In this day and age when 100-year rivalries are tossed aside in other parts of the country like yesterday’s trash, this is one rivalry we should all embrace.

Because it’s something we, as Rhode Islanders, can call our own.

GoLocalProv: Malesevic Hurts Rams Again

With URI and PC about to square off in front of a ruckus crowd at the Ryan Center Friday night, Rhody will have to play the game without one of its starters Nikola Malesevic. The 6-7 junior will miss the next few weeks with a broken hand. GoLocalProv.com has learned from multiple sources that Malesevic broke his hand hitting a wall sometime after the Rams loss to Yale on Sunday.

Malesevic was supposed to be one of the team’s leaders this season but, instead, has proved to be one of the more divisive forces on a team that has struggled to develop any type of chemistry and cohesion.

GoLocalProv: First Semester Grade – URI Rams: F

And we don’t mean “Fabulous!” An “F” may seem like a harsh grade for Rhode Island but we call them like we see them and what we saw through the first ten games (1-9) was downright ugly!

Yes, Rhody did have a rather ambitious start to the season with road games at George Mason, Texas and Nebraska where they went a collective 0-3. But, nobody was criticizing the team after those 3 losses because they were very competitive in two of them and we chalked up the Nebraska blowout loss to it being their third game of a rigorous trip.

It’s what has happened since that 0-3 start that has been very disturbing. After beating Hofstra for their one and only win, URI lost to Boston University and then got thumped by Cleveland State at the Ryan Center.

The Sports Network: Providence at Rhode Island

With Providence firing all cylinders and Rhode Island struggling and shorthanded, this may not be a competitive bout. With rivalry games, all previous knowledge tends to be irrelevant, but the Friars have proven they are a very efficient team that rarely takes any opponent lightly.

The Good 5 Cent Cigar: Under the Fedora: the Runnin’ Rams perplex to start the season

That’s what makes this year’s Rams so perplexing to watch. There is talent everywhere on the floor, but the team has yet to put together a quality game.

The freshman class was lauded as one of Jim Baron’s best recruiting classes since he began his career in Kingston in 2001. With three upperclassmen coming back after logging significant minutes last season and several players fully healthy after a year plagued with injuries, the 2011-2012 edition of the Rams looked to be a young, exciting team that would realize its full potential in one or two years.

Eight games in and the upside has turned into a downward slide that has seen the Rams lose to two teams from America East Conference, Brown University for the first time in a decade and receive a pasting at home at the hands of Cleveland State University.

Friar Basketball: 38 in 76: #24 Winning in the Ryan Center

In speaking about the Providence/URI rivalry, new head coach Ed Cooley noted that he had a better understanding of the importance of this game than any recent Providence coach. If he’s going to start his Providence career on a winning note against the Rams he’ll have to do what neither Tim Welsh or Keno Davis could do: win at the Ryan Center.

The Friars have not only lost there, but they’ve done so in painful ways.

Narragansett Patch: Overview of Jim Baron’s Contract as URI Basketball Coach

Baron’s base salary is $348,984.
As part of his contract, Baron is also guaranteed the gate receipts for one game. This is allotted at $229,181 by the university.
A line item referring to “paid fringe benefits” is $92,295.

ESPN: Rhode Island Blue Ribbon Preview [INSIDER]

When a team integrates seven new players, time is needed to develop and create chemistry on both ends of the floor. Rhode Island will be challenged early to score the ball in the half-court and must overcome the loss of its only two seasoned dribble penetrators in James and Jones. The Rams will also be operating without a proven back-to-the-basket presence or go-to player, though the absence of the latter may help them share the ball and improve upon their subpar 12 assists per game total from a year ago. In the half court, expect a steady dose of ball screens to create penetration and kick-out opportunities. Also watch for bigs Holton and Outerbridge to be used in the pick-and-pop game.

WHAT TO: WATCH

The Rhode Island Rams lost to Yale 68-65, in a game that was televised and produced by Cox Sports. Austin Morgan hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left. Yale was fouled in the process and two free-throws resulted in a crucial 5-point turnaround.

GoRhody.com Staff Reporter, Taylor Kinzler, has the post game wrap up following the URI vs Yale game

The Maine Black Bears take URI 76-74 in OT.

Cox Sports’ Vin Parise and Chris DiSano preview the upcoming Atlantic 10 season from the conference’s media day in Brooklyn.

The Brown Bears beat the Rhode Island Rams Wednesday night in Providence, 65-56.

WHERE TO: FOLLOW

Friars.com: Gametracker

Twitter.com: I’ll probably be live tweeting the game @friarblog. Also be sure to follow the #pcbb hashtag as always.

WHERE TO: WATCH

Cox

FriarTV: PC vs. Rhode Island

WHERE TO: LISTEN

Friars.com: All-Access

IHeartRadio.com

WEEI 103.7 FM

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