Providence to open Big East season at Xavier

September 13, 2016 - 11:02 am

PROVIDENCE -- Ed Cooley's sixth team at Providence College may be less experienced than the past couple of editions, but the schedule won't be affording these young Friars many breaks. The Big East Conference on Tuesday announced the complete league schedule for 2016-17, featuring 18 games (9 home, 9 away) in a round-robin format with each of the Big East's 10 teams. PC's Big East slate will launch on Dec. 28 in Cincinnati at 7 p.m. against Xavier. Nine home games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center will begin the next week on Jan. 4, as Georgetown will visit. But before PC gets the home confines of the Dunk, the young Friars will have to open with two games on the road -- following the opening league game at Xavier will be a trip to Indianapolis to face Butler on New Year's Day in a 3 p.m. tip. The Friars lose two-time Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn (now with the Timberwolves) and first-team all-Big East forward Ben Bentil (second-round pick of the Celtics) from last year's 24-11 team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Providence defeated USC in the opening round before falling to eventual national runner-up North Carolina in the next game. PC also loses guard Junior Lomomba from last year's team, as the graduate transfer will play this season at Western Kentucky. Two starters (and a third part-time starter) return in Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey and Kyron Cartwright. Four freshmen and six first-year players overall are expected to see playing time this season. Season practices will begin next month, with the opening game Nov. 14 at the Dunk against Vermont. Two games of note for this year as opposed to recent seasons. One, instead of the New Year's Eve Marathon, the Big East is moving its wall-to-wall coverage of games (all 10 teams, five games back-to-back) to MLK Day on Jan. 16. Providence will play the nightcap at Georgetown for the MLK Day Marathon. And two, the Big East opener at Xavier on Dec. 28 (rather than on New Year's Eve) is a change from previous seasons under the Big East 2.0, since the league reconfigured prior to the 2013-14 season. PROVIDENCE 2016-17 SCHEDULE (Big East games in bold) Nov. 14, vs. Vermont, 7 p.m. Nov. 17, at Ohio State, 7 p.m. Nov. 19, vs. Grambling, noon Nov. 21, vs. St. Francis (Brooklyn), 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25, vs. Memphis, at Destin, Fla., 9:30 p.m. Nov. 26, vs. Iowa/Virginia, at Destin, Fla., 4/7 p.m. Nov. 30, vs. New Hampshire, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3, vs. Rhode Island, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 6, vs. Brown, 7 p.m. Dec. 10, vs. UMass, noon Dec. 17, vs. Wagner, noon Dec. 20, vs. Maine, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 23, at Boston College, 4 p.m. Dec. 28, at Xavier, 7 p.m. Jan. 1, at Butler, 3 p.m. Jan. 4, vs. Georgetown, 7 p.m. Jan. 7, vs. Creighton, 2 p.m. Jan. 10, at DePaul, 9 p.m. Jan. 14, vs. Seton Hall, noon Jan. 16, at Georgetown, 9 p.m. Jan. 21, at Villanova, noon Jan 25, vs. St. John's, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28, at Marquette, 2 p.m. Feb. 1, vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. Feb. 8, at Seton Hall, 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11, vs. Butler, 4 p.m. Feb. 15, vs. Xavier, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22, at Creighton, 8 p.m. Feb. 25, vs. Marquette, 4 p.m. Feb. 28, vs. DePaul, 8:30 p.m. March 4, at St. John's, noon March 8-11, Big East Tournament, at New York