Here’s last year’s Pre-Season Non-Conference schedule rankings: Ranking the Friars Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Games for the Upcoming 2017-2018 Season
There are 13 Non-Conference games for the Providence Friars for this upcoming season before they get into Big East play on New Year’s Eve, so what would be better to get us all in Friartown ready for the upcoming season other than ranking the games (one hypothetical depending on another game’s outcome).
Overall on the Friars schedule, they have two true away games (Texas & UMass) and three neutral court games (Wichita State, South Carolina, & Michigan/George Washington). Those are important to note with the new quadrant system being used by the NCAA selection committee.
13. Tuesday, November 6th vs. Siena
Last Year: 8-24 (4-14; Tied for 10th place in the Atlantic Athletic Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 303
2018 RPI Rank: 299
It’s actually hard to say that the first game of the Friars basketball season is my least anticipated game of the season. It’s not actually the least anticipated game, but it is the least anticipated opponent. Providence always seems to have 1 team each year that is right about at the 300 rank for KenPom and RPI from previous year. This year it just happens to be Siena.
The one silver lining is that the game is actually going to be played at The Dunk this year rather than at Alumni Hall or somewhere else because of Comic Con occurring at The Dunk at the same time…so there’s that. There are now 353 teams in Division I basketball, so a ranking of 300 is actually getting better each year they add an additional team. Your team is actually ranked better than about 15% of the team’s in the country if you’re ranked 300. Hey, I’m trying here.
12. Tuesday, November 13th vs. Holy Cross
Last Year: 12-19 (8-10; 6th place in the Patriot League)
2018 KenPom Rank: 290
2018 RPI Rank: 265
Holy Cross, keeping it Catholic. Holy Cross should be an improved team this year with 5 contributing Freshman coming back from last season. They may be young, but they have playing experience.
Although the team played better in conference then might have been expected, they were only able to win 4 of their 13 non-conference games last season.
11. Tuesday, November 27th vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
Last Year: 13-18 (9-9; Tied for 6th place in the Northeast Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 274
2018 RPI Rank: 256
It’s kind of annoying that we’re not playing Brown or Bryant this season as I think that we should play those teams each and every season rather than a random team like Fairleigh Dickinson. Keep it local and all.
The best part about these first three games is that they are all on Tuesdays. It’s nice to have the worst opponents and games on weekdays and the best games on the weekends, at least in my opinion.
10. Sunday, December 16th vs. Central Connecticut State
Last Year: 14-18 (7-11; 8th place in the Northeast Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 310
2018 RPI Rank: 266
UConn alum and Big East legend Donyell Marshall returns to CCSU for his 2nd season as the head coach. They should be improved with a year under Marshall and his system and his recruits starting to funnel into the program but they are still at least a couple of years away from contending in the Northeast Conference in any sort of tangible way.
9. Friday, December 7th vs. UMass
Last Year: 13-20 (5-13; 13th place in the Atlantic 10 Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 207
2018 RPI Rank: 242
Here we have the last non-conference opponent that Providence is playing that had a losing record last year. However, the games with UMass seem to take on a little higher level of physicality than the average OOC game. While UMass certainly stunk last year, they were still somehow able to beat Providence. They’re basically like Providence’s non-conference version of DePaul. Providence is seemingly the much better team every year, but every year, somehow UMass is able to give them a game and beat them on occasion as well.
8. Tuesday, December 18th vs. Albany
Last Year: 22-10 (10-6; 4th place in the America East Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 151
2018 RPI Rank: 146
Based on Albany’s record last year, you might expect them to be higher on this list but their two lead guards have both taken advantage of the good season they had individually and as a team last year and transferred to some big time schools. David Nichols will be playing this upcoming season at Florida State and we will get to see a lot of Joe Cremo at Villanova this season.
— Joe Cremo (@JCremo24) May 8, 2018
7. Saturday, November 24th vs. Iona
Last Year: 20-14 (11-7; 4th place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 137
2018 RPI Rank: 110
15 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to Duke in the 1st Round
Now we get to our first opponent who was an NCAA Tournament team last year. Iona will once again be in contention for the Automatic bid for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and will have a bunch of Junior College transfers that will be contributing this season. The game takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving which is perfect, because I’ll probably still be laying around and digesting all the copious amount of food that I have consumed up until then.
The student section may be a little thin with the majority of the kids home for the holiday and long weekend but I’m hoping that those returning home to Rhode Island will venture over to The Dunk for what should be a competitive game.
6. Saturday, November 17th vs. South Carolina
Last Year: 17-16 (7-11; 12th place in the Southeastern Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 80
2018 RPI Rank: 88
The Friars take on South Carolina at Mohegan Sun aka ‘Friartown South’ in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. South Carolina is just two years removed from a remarkable Final Four run and feeds of their defense, specifically the returning SEC Co-Defensive Player of the year, Chris Silva.
I’ll be in attendance at the game with the rest of the Friartown Faithful and I’ll be sure to never look Frank Martin in the eyes so as to stay alive for the forseeable future.
5. Tuesday, December 4th at Boston College
Last Year: 19-16 (7-11; 12th place in the Atlantic Coast Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 77
2018 RPI Rank: 95
5 seed in the NIT, lost to Western Kentucky in the 1st Round
Boston College was primed to take a leap this year with the dynamic backcourt of Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman leading the team through a tough ACC. However, Robinson unexpectedly declared for the NBA Draft and was selected 13th overall by the Clippers.
Ky Bowman is a stud who can fill it up as well as anyone in the country and will probably make it back-to-back years with a BC Eagle being selected in the NBA Draft. Although Bowman has a good shot at being named to the First Team All-ACC, it doesn’t look like Boston College will be finishing the season anywhere near the top of the Conference standings. Bowman averaged 17.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, and 4.7 apg last year and with another year under his belt and Jerome Robinson’s 20.7 ppg leaving for The League, those numbers will likely improve as well.
Even with Bowman being so incredible offensively, he has still has Raggedy Anne’s haircut.
4. Friday, November 9th vs. Wichita State
Last Year: 25-8 (14-4; 3rd place in the American Athletic Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 21
2018 RPI Rank: 21
4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to Marshall in the 1st Round
Although Wichita State had a disappointing end to their season last year, being upset by the 12 seed Marshall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that they were able to earn a 4 seed in the Tournament in the first place.
The Shockers will be extremely effected by those players graduating from last year’s squad and also lost Landry Shamet to the draft, even though it felt like he was in College for roughly a decade anyway.
This game will take place in Annapolis at Navy’s on campus gym as part of a double-header of the Veteran’s Classic Basketball Tournament. Of course, this is one of those so-called “tournaments” that isn’t actually a tournament but rather just two one-off games. The first game will be Wichita State vs. Providence, followed by Navy vs. Maryland.
I’ll be making my way down to catch this one in person…which should be a ton of fun.
3. Saturday, December 1st vs. Rhode Island
Last Year: 26-8 (15-3; 1st place in the Atlantic 10 Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 52
2018 RPI Rank: 23
7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to Duke in the 2nd Round
Providence should be able to avenge their first loss in 8 seasons to URI from last year as the Rams have lost a ton from this past season’s team. Not only have Jared Terrell, E.C. Matthews, Jarvis Garrett, & Stanford Robinson all graduated, but Coach Dan Hurley has moved on to become the coach of UConn.
This year may be tough for URI but screw them. I want to start another 7 game winning streak immediately. This year is at The Dunk, so that should give a little boost to the energy level too.
2. Friday, December 21st at Texas
Last Year: 19-15 (8-10; Tied for 8th place in the Big 12 Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 36
2018 RPI Rank: 56
10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to Nevada in the 1st Round
The Friars will travel to Texas to take on the Longhorns and then will continue to play some Big 12 teams with the new deal between the Big East and the Big 12 beginning next year. The Friars and Texas just wanted to get a little head start it looks like.
Even though I’ll be rooting for Providence in the game, I’ll be rooting for Andrew Jones all season. The Longhorn basketball player is coming back from leukemia, so all the best to him both on and off the court.
Texas guard Andrew Jones is not letting leukemia keep him from getting up some shots. pic.twitter.com/3Wr26bkkAT
— ESPN (@espn) February 8, 2018
1. Sunday, November 18th vs. Michigan
Last Year: 33-8 (13-5; Tied for 4th place in the Big Ten Conference)
2018 KenPom Rank: 7
2018 RPI Rank: 8
3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to Villanova in the NCAA Finals
Assuming that the Friars take care of business against South Carolina and Michigan disposes of George Washington, the two would meet at Mohegan Sun in the Championship Game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
It’s hard to top playing against the NCAA Finals Runner-Up from last year in the rankings of the Non-Conference schedule for Providence. Michigan is ranked in the high teens in most of the preseason polls and besides Villanova, is currently the only team on the Friars schedule that will be ranked heading into the season. I foresee Marquette and possibly another Big East team or two being ranked in the near future but as for right now, the ranked opponents sits at 2.
I’m expecting to see a lot of this…