Sources reported that the Rhode Island Rams will travel to the Dunkin Donuts Center to take on Providence in the non-conference portion of the 2016-17 season. The game will be held on December 3rd and will be a return game from last year’s contest in Kingston. The Friars took down the Rams 74-72 in 2015 on a Ben Bentil buzzer-beating tip-in. Reloaded with new and returning talent, Rhody will be looking for revenge this year.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 19, 2016
Last year’s Providence team found itself in the Top 25 for a large portion of the season while Rhode Island struggled to keep its record above .500. Next season, things might be a little different. The Rams return injured E.C. Matthews, Hassan Martin, Kuran Iverson, Jared Terrell, and Jarvis Garrett just to name a few. They’re expected to be a Top 25 team next year and possibly make a run for the Atlantic 10 title.
Providence returns some talent from the team that took down #8 USC at the last second in last year’s NCAA Tournament, but most of it has departed. Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil have both departed early, and Junior Lomomba has decided to transfer, leaving a young roster with no scholarship seniors. Rodney Bullock, Ryan Fazekas, and Kyron Cartwright will all be returning, but Ed Cooley is going to have some rebuilding to do if he wants to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for a 4th consecutive year.
Rhode Island will likely be the better team heading into this matchup, but the Providence home crowd will make this a very fun game to watch. I’m marking my calendars for this one, because this rivalry game certainly doesn’t disappoint. Check out this article for a history of the rivalry between the two teams.