Nelly's Friday College Hoops Delivery - Dec. 7
2018-12-07 19:00:00

12/07/2018 Nelly's 8* #521 Massachusetts + over Providence 7:00 PM ET

Massachusetts went just 13-20 last season but they beat Providence 72-63 at home last December. The Minutemen also had a win over Georgia, while playing close with South Carolina and BYU as they did well in a competitive non-conference campaign before sinking to just 5-13 in A-10 play. Like last season, Massachusetts is young and small, but the return of Rashaan Holloway has been a game-changer for the Minutemen after the massive center sat out the second half of last season when Massachusetts struggled. His minutes are kept in check but he is a difference-maker, particularly in a matchup playing up against a Big East squad with good size. Fairfield transfer Curtis Cobb and Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent also makes the Minutemen a more experienced squad than it appears though as the 5-4 start suggests, there will be some inconsistency for a new grouping. Losses to Howard and Holy Cross are concerning but three of four defeats have come by five or fewer points with the only lopsided loss coming in Las Vegas against a Nevada team that looks like one of the nation's best. Massachusetts beat a top 100 Southern Illinois team by 22 points and also nearly beat a solid Harvard team. This will be a big opportunity on the schedule and the offensive potential for the Minutemen is great with strong shooting numbers across the board. Providence is 7-2 but they are coming off a long overtime game with Boston College on Tuesday night. The Friars are off for more than a week after this game as this could certainly be a flat spot in a series that means much more to the underdog. Providence has struggled defending the 3-point shot and UMass takes a lot of long range shots while the Friars have had limited success scoring inside and at the line this season as the size edge might not matter that much for the hosts. Providence is one of the most inexperienced major conference teams in the country and facing a quick turnaround after a big win could be a challenge in game the team is expected to win. None of the seven wins this season have come by more than 12 points this season as Providence has played exclusively close games this season other than a blowout loss to Michigan. Teams outside the nation's top 200 like Siena and Fairleigh Dicksonson have played close games with Providence as Massachusetts should be capable of staying within this number. 

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