Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center – Milwaukee, WI
How: Fox Sports 1/WEEI 103.7 FM
- PC is 4-12 all time against Marquette and has lost 10 of their 11 matchups as members of the Big East
- Marquette has now played in 3 straight OT games after not playing any extra basketball in their first 17 games. They are 1-2 in those 3 contests
- Todd Mayo has been stepping up his scoring of late and he’s been doing it in clutch situations. Of the 28 points he has scored in Marquette’s last 3 games, 17 have come in the final minute of regulation or overtime
- Providence is looking for their 6th straight conference win for the first time since the 2003-2004 season. 6 is also the current record for longest Big East win streak in PC history
- Line opened at PC +5.5
Based on my numbers this game should be a pick ’em but my numbers don’t take into account home court advantage, etc. The line has since moved down a bit to 4.5 or 5 depending on where you look but about 2/3 of the money is coming in on the Friars from what I’ve seen.
It’s been well documented and discussed during the 4 day layoff between games that PC has struggled against Marquette over the years, especially in Milwaukee. The Friars last win against Marquette came in January 2007 at the Dunk. PC hasn’t won at Marquette – ever. This is a Friar team that is focused and playing their game right now though. Marquette is a team that has been very up and down all year and has gotten inconsistent production from just about everyone on their roster. Some of their fans see this season as a lost year and think Buzz Williams should be focusing on the future already.
PC has only played 4 road games this year and has split the contest 2-2. The Friar’s biggest issue on the road has been their shooting. Granted their shooting hasn’t been all that spectacular at the Dunk either but they cannot afford to get into an early hole a la @ Villanova. They enter tonight’s game with an eFG% of 46.9 which is good for 282nd in the nation according to Kenpom. Not surprisingly, PC’s offense has had better efficiency numbers in their road wins than their road losses but a lot of the other stats don’t really present any patterns. Maybe that’s because of the small sample size or maybe it’s because this team hadn’t established their identity until recently.
The key to the game will be for Providence to play their game (duh). Cotton and Batts should continue to work the pick and roll and they should be getting into the lane and looking to score in the paint or get fouled (or both, preferably). Fortune will have to shut down Todd Mayo who has played pretty well at home this season. I think the X factor for tonight’s game will be Tyler Harris. He can provide another scoring threat for PC who may need that “other” person to step up and help out Cotton and Henton/Batts if those guys get off to a slow start and he may present some matchup problems/force Marquette to adjust their lineups. I think Henton will continue his strong rebounding numbers from Saturday when he registered his 22nd career double double (only 2nd of this season). This will likely be a grind it out game (Marquette is ranked as the best scoring defense in the Big East at 65.5 ppg) that is won on the glass and at the free throw line. That favors Providence.
Prediction: Providence 62 Marquette 60