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Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Providence Friars Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/28/13

Providence Friars (10-2) at Massachusetts Minutemen (10-1)

College Basketball: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm (Mullins Center)

The Line: Massachusetts Minutemen -10.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPNU

The 10-2 Providence Friars face their first true road test of the young season as they make the short trip to face the 10-1 UMass Minuteman Saturday at 6PM on ESPNU.

Providence is off to one of their better starts in recent memory and kept their strong momentum rolling forward last Saturday with a dominant, 94-70 win over the lowly Maine Black Bears.  Providence exploded for 56 first half points and built a 23 point lead heading into the break that was never in jeopardy.  The entire Friar starting 5 reached double figures with Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts combining for 44 points (22 each), with Batts adding 11 boards and Cotton adding 10 assists.  The Friars were an impressive +23 on the glass and shot the ball very well at the free throw line finishing 9-10.  The win marks the Friars third in a row since their loss to Kentucky.

Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Providence Friars Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/28/13

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The 23rd ranked Minutemen look to get back on a long win streak after their undefeated campaign came to an end with a gritty loss to Florida State 60-55.  This one was close throughout but the strong, physical play of Florida State really overwhelmed the Minutemen.  UMass was outrebounded for the first time this season, but still hauled in 43 team boards -- two above their 41 per game average that ranks 17th nationally.  Cady Lalanne led the way for UMass, scoring 10 points and adding 15 boards to go along with 4 blocks.  Derrick Gordon added 12 points but the Minutemen were ultimately shut down by the Florida State D.  UMass finished just 1-16 from deep and just over 33% shooting for the game -- season lows in both categories.

Some trends to consider -- Providence is 5-1-1 against the spread in their last 7 against the Atlantic 10 and UMass is 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 home games.

These two teams are playing high level ball early this season and are a couple of narrow losses away from both being undefeated.  I like the Friars versatility but ultimately think UMass’s home court advantage and front court play will be the difference in this one.  Look for this contest to go wire to wire with the Minutemen pulling away late for both the cover and the win.

 

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UMass -10.5

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