Kim English's first year gets off to a fast start with three tough opponents in week two
Kim English's first season as head coach of Providence College's men's basketball team will begin on Monday, November 6. The Friars will open the season at home against Columbia that night. It is the second season in a row that Providence has hosted the Lions; the Friars won by 14 points after Thanksgiving last year.
Opening week concludes on Saturday with Providence being visited by Milwaukee in the first ever meeting between the Friars and the Panthers. Milwaukee is expected to be one of the top teams in the Horizon League next season.
After starting the year with consecutive home games against low-major opponents, the Friars begin a pivotal stretch in the non-conference slate in the second week of the season. Providence is faced with three high-major opponents in six days in a test that could set the tone for the inaugural season of the Kim English era.
That stretch starts with the Friars hosting Wisconsin in the Gavitt Games on Tuesday, November 14. The Badgers, led by Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl, have frequented way-too-early top-25 lists throughout the offseason and project as one of the top teams in the Big Ten. Providence and Wisconsin met in the Gavitt Games back in 2021 when the Friars pulled off a huge road victory.
Providence leaves Rhode Island for the Bahamas later that week for the Baha Mar Championship. The Friars match up against Kansas State on Friday night, fresh off an Elite Eight appearance and the addition of former Creighton star Arthur Kaluma. Led by Jerome Tang, the Wildcats are poised to be back in the NCAA Tournament next season. Providence will play either Georgia or Miami on Sunday. The Hurricanes were in the Final Four a season ago and are led by former Friar Jim Larranaga. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are entering year two of Mike White's tenure and looking to build off of a .500 performance last season.
After the tough stretch before Thanksgiving, the Friars return home for three consecutive games. Matchups with Lehigh and Wagner on Black Friday and the Tuesday after Thanksgiving should be a welcome lull in the schedule before the Ocean State Rivalry is renewed on the first Saturday in December. Providence will look to make it three wins in a row against a Rhode Island program that has struggled in recent years.
Kim English coaches his first true road game for the Friars on December 5 when Providence travels to Oklahoma for the Big East-Big 12 Battle. Providence takes on the Sooners for just the second time in school history. Oklahoma is 0-4 in the series between the conferences, and head man Porter Moser is seeking his first NCAA Tournament berth in his third year with the team.
The non-conference slate wraps up with consecutive games at the Amica Mutual Pavillion. The Friars restart the inter-city rivalry with Brown University on December 10, meeting the Bears for the first time since they handed Providence an overtime scare in 2017. Then, Providence plays host to Sacred Heart on December 16th in a tune-up game before Big East play begins.
Kim English's first season in Providence begins with a healthy mix of tough opponents, rivalry matchups, and get-right games. Eight of the eleven games take place at the AMP; Providence should be heavily favored in seven of them, with the potential top-25 opponent in Wisconsin coming to town in what will likely be a toss-up. Add in a pair of neutral site games with a chance to play two teams that excelled last March and a road test against a strong power conference program and there are plenty of opportunities to add quality wins to the resume before Christmas.