Providence Friars vs. Georgetown Hoyas Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2024

A familiar voice will echo from the sideline at Amica Mutual Pavilion on Saturday when Georgetown coach Ed Cooley returns to Rhode Island to face Providence in a Big East Conference contest.

Cooley, a Providence native who led the Friars for 12 seasons before leaving for Georgetown last March, returns to his hometown to face his former team for the first time.

Cooley acknowledged that it will be emotional, but he isn’t reminiscing on his tenure at Providence, which included 242 wins and seven NCAA Tournament berths.

“(I) appreciate the time there, but this is a different time, different era, different team,” Cooley said. “Time to keep moving forward.”

Cooley’s current focus is reviving a Hoyas program that entered this season 2-37 in Big East play since winning the conference tournament in 2020-21.

Georgetown (8-11, 1-7) had shown flashes of improvement amid a few hard-fought conference games, including a 92-91 loss at Xavier on Jan. 19 in what the coach called the Hoyas’ best performance of the season.

But Cooley’s optimism faded after Georgetown was annihilated 90-66 by Butler on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., for the Hoyas’ season-high fourth straight loss.

“I can’t point to one positive thing Georgetown did,” Cooley said. ” … Other than we put on an incredibly nice-looking uniform, and we had a great bus ride over, we had an incredible pregame meal and everybody’s still on scholarship.”

Kim English, Cooley’s replacement at Providence, is still trying to steady the Friars after star guard Bryce Hopkins suffered a season-ending knee injury during a loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 3.

Providence (13-6, 4-4) dropped its next three games after Hopkins’ injury but has since won its last two, including a 67-63 victory over the Pirates on Wednesday in Newark, N.J.

The Friars’ defensive effort at Seton Hall inspired English, who said that the team’s biggest challenge without Hopkins has been upholding their size, physicality and “switchability” on defense.

Providence limited Seton Hall to 32.3 percent shooting, the first time the Friars have held an opponent below 45 percent from the field since losing Hopkins.

Saturday’s contest features a matchup between the Big East’s top two scorers in the Hoyas’ Jayden Epps (18.8 points per game) and the Friars’ Devin Carter (18.0).

–Field Level Media

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