- Indiana is a 1.5-point favorite over Providence in the first round of the Maui Classic, which has been moved to Asheville, NC this season
- Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis had 26 points and 11 rebounds in a season-opening victory over Tennessee Tech
- Eric Watson scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Providence’s win over Fairfield in its opener
In what figures to be a most unusual college basketball season, it is perhaps fitting the Maui Invitational will not be played anywhere close to the shore of the Pacific Ocean.
Instead, because of COVID-19 concerns, the eight-team crown-jewel event will be played in Asheville, NC, from Monday to Wednesday.
One of the first-round matchups pits Indiana against Providence at 2:30 pm ET Monday at Harrah’s Cherokee Arena. Both teams opened the season with easy home victories on Wednesday and Indiana is a slight favorite.
Indiana vs Providence Odds
|Providence||+100||+1.5 (-118)||Over 140.5 (-106)|
|Indiana||-118||-1.5 (-104)||Under 140.5 (-114)|
Odds taken November 29th FanDuel
The other first-round games are Texas-Davidson, North Carolina-UNLV and Stanford-Alabama. The Indiana-Providence winner plays the Texas-Davidson winner on Tuesday in the semifinals.
There was quite a bit of thought that Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis would turn pro following a fine freshman season in 2019-20.
Instead, Jackson-Davis decided to stay in school.
In the season-opening 89-59 victory over visiting Tennessee Tech, Jackson-Davis showed why his presence in the lineup makes Indiana a threat to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.
Jackson-Davis posted a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds. His 10 points keyed a 28-2 run by Indiana that ended the first half and gave the Hoosiers a 51-19 lead.
Great playcalling progression from Archie Miller and Indiana last night. Same circle set, different angles for duck-ins from Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Sets up his man perfectly. Really masterful punch/ counter-punch combo pic.twitter.com/tHr7A3E0Wy
— Adam Spinella (@Spinella14) November 26, 2020
Last season, Jackson-Davis averaged 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds. He made the All-Big Ten freshman team as Indiana finished 20-12.
Trey Galloway, one of Indiana’s three touted freshmen guards, scored 13 points in his collegiate debut. Junior point guard Rob Phinisee added 12 points.
The Hoosiers played a strong all-round game. They shot 57% percent from the field, scored 31 points off 20 turnovers, and held a 58-28 advantage in points in the paint.
Watson Comes Up Big
Providence’s guard play is good enough to get the Friars to the NCAAs this season. The question is whether they will get enough production from the frontcourt beyond senior forward Eric Watson.
At the very least, Watson showed on opening night that he seems poised for a big season. He had a career-high 23 points and added 10 rebounds as Providence rolled to a 97-56 victory over Fairfield.
Providence opens season with dominant win over Fairfield.
— PC Men's Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) November 26, 2020
Watson averaged 9.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 2019-20 when the Friars had a 19-12 records. Providence won its last six games before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the season.
Junior guard David Duke scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a winning effort. He is expected to be one of the better players in the Big East coming off a season in which he had a 12.0 scoring average.
Junior guard AJ Reeves scored 14 points, an encouraging sign following two up-and-down seasons for the much-ballyhooed recruit, to begin his time with Providence.
Forward Noah Horchler, a graduate transfer from North Florida, added 11 points in his Friars’ debut. That leads to hope he can give Watson help around the basket.
Brunk’s Bad Back
Indiana senior center Joey Brunk sat out the opener with a back strain. He is questionable for this game.
Brunk apparently does not lack for things to do while sidelined.
Joey Brunk says quarantine has prepared him well for retirement. "I really enjoy golfing, reading." #iubb
— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) July 28, 2020
Brunk started 31 of 32 games last season, averaging 6.8 points and 5.6 rebounds.
47 Years Later
The schools are meeting for the just the second time.
The other game came on a major stage in 1973 when Indiana notched a 97-79 victory in the NCAA Tournament’s third-place game at the Final Four in St. Louis. Providence was beaten in the semifinals by Memphis State while Indiana fell to eventual national champion UCLA.
It is doubtful either team will reach the Final Four this season, but the two NCAA tourney-caliber teams should make for an interesting game. All these years later Providence gets its revenge.
The Pick: Providence +100
Let's have fun and keep it civil.