Saturday marks the 126th meeting of the University of Rhode Island Rams and the Providence College Friars. While certainly no Duke-UNC or Georgetown-Villanova, this is THE rivalry within the Ocean State. With both teams amid promising seasons, this match-up should be one for the record books.
Check out the tale of the tape
Saturday's game will mark the 126th meeting between the URI Rams and the PC Friars, but just the seventh such game played on Rhody's home court. The Rams -- in a limited sample -- hold the advantage at the Ryan Center with a 4-2 record. Providence, however, holds the series advantage, having won 71 of the 125 previous meetings -- including the last 5.
Th URI Rams have allowed just 57.7 points per game to their opponents through seven games. That ranks 7th among all teams in Division I. Providence College allows 68.0, which is tied for 98th.
3. Star Power
This was supposed to be the epic final showdown between PC's Kris Dunn and URI's E.C. Matthews. Both have been tabbed as future lotteryt picks in the NBA, and both are the most prolific scorers in their respective fan bases' recent memory. However, a horrific knee injury to Matthews will keep him sidelined all year, leaving Kris Dunn all alone on the star meter. URI has quite an ensemble cast, but no individual leader who you'd want with the ball in their hands for the final possession.
One team has a player's coach, the other an old-school disciplinarian. One team has a coach with experience in the NCAA tournament, the other has a coach with a system that draws the region's top recruits.
Providence College coach Ed Cooley is Rhode Island through and through. He grew up in Providence, was formerly an assistant coach at URI under Al Skinner, and has restored faith among Friartown. He has a career record of 86-57 at Providence over 4+ seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament in the most recent two.
Rhode Island's Dan Hurley was a legendary prep school coach from New Jersey. He arrived in Kinston via Wagner College, and got off to a slow start with the Rams, going 22-39 through two seasons. Hurley's Rams saw a change of course last season, however. Armed with the first wave of Hurley recruits, Rhody finished 23-10 in 2014-15 and nearly led his team to an A-10 title. The Rams have clearly bought into Hurley's defense first system, and have become one of the destination teams for top-level defensive talent.
Will mascots factor into the game results on Saturday night? Absolutely not.
Does it matter who has a better mascot? Probably not.
Does one them have a mascot far superior to the other? Absolutely.
Rhody, the URI Ram pays homage to the school and Rhode Island's rich agricultural history. He's playful and fun, he jumps around the arena with playful delight.
Friar Dom, is an "anthropomorphic" Dominican Priest (you don't need a foam suit to represent an actual person). The Friar nickname comes from the short-form nickname of the Dominican Order, the "Blackfriars." Essentially, the team mascot is a priest. That's neither fun, nor playful.
Advantage: Rhody (Plus, the PC mascot is really creepy)
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