It’s college basketball season and important nonconference games have been played, but as the calendar turns to December, there is one game that Rhode Islanders look forward to every year. Saturday will mark the 131st meeting (depending who you ask) between the University of Rhode Island Rams and the Providence College Friars.
It’s a rivalry game that somehow seems to live up to the hype every season, even as it has evolved over the years. As recruiting has gone global, PC and URI rarely go toe-to-toe anymore trying to land the local stud the rest of the country hasn’t heard of. There’s no more meeting up at the playground in the summer to see how your team stacks up against your in-state rival six months before you face them at the Providence Civic Center.
Still, you can throw a kid from Philadelphia or a coach from New Jersey into the sold-out atmosphere this game brings, and the intensity and competition level will instantly rise. The players bring it – for their school, for this state, sometimes just because they live down the road and want revenge for being slighted by the other school on the recruiting trail. We’re looking at you Tyson Wheeler.
All-in-all, there is a deep history of brawls, buzzer beaters, and bragging rights when the Rams and Friars play, and the last few years have been no different. There may be new faces, but the rivalry remains.