[4:30 PM] #21 Rhode Island @ Providence

Who will WIN this matchup?

#21 Rhode Island Rams (5-2)

@ Providence Friars (5-2)


Fresh off an upset loss on the road, No. 25 Rhode Island will try to recover when it visits Providence on Saturday in the 127th – and one of the more anticipated – meetings in this Ocean State rivalry. A second-half rally fell short as the Rams dropped a 65-62 decision at Valparaiso on Tuesday in a game they hope will trigger improvement going forward.

The Friars – who won on a buzzer-beater at Rhode Island last season – have suffered single-digit losses at Ohio State and against No. 6 Virginia on a neutral court but they’ve dispatched of their other five opponents, including all four at home. Rodney Bullock was the driving force behind the latest Dunkin’ Donuts Center triumph, scoring a career-high 36 points in a 76-62 win over New Hampshire on Wednesday.

The Rams gained their national ranking and burst out of the gate with four straight wins largely due to the presence of guard E.C. Matthews, who returned from an injury-marred campaign to average 19.5 points during the 4-0 start. However, Matthews has hit a wall during the current 1-2 stretch, posting three straight single-digit scoring efforts while shooting 31.8 percent and missing all five of his 3-point tries. Fellow junior Jared Terrell has picked up some of the slack by topping the 20-point mark in two of the last three games and he now averages 15.3 to rank second to senior Hassan Martin (16.4) on the team’s scoring list.

ullock hit 5-of-8 from 3-point range and the Friars were 12-of-21 behind the arc in the victory over New Hampshire as coach Ed Cooley picked up his 200th career win. The junior has scored at least 16 points in all seven games and had exactly that many in last season’s win at Rhode Island.

Providence has won six straight meetings overall and six in a row at home.


StreakSmarts Pick: Providence Friars

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick