Where: Cintas Center – Cincinnati, OH
How: Fox Sports 1/WEEI 103.7 FM
- Including their game on January 25th at the Dunk, the all time series is now tied 2-2.
- Cotton’s 32 points on Tuesday night were a Big East career high while his overall career high is 34 points scored against Bryant in December 2011.
- Xavier is 1st in the Big East in rebounding margin and narrowly outrebounded the Friars in their last meeting 40-38.
- Bryce Cotton is 2nd in the Big East in scoring (21.3 ppg) and Semaj Christon is 5th (17.1 ppg)
- Bryce Cotton is 1st in the Big East in assists (5.8 apg) and Dee Davis is 2nd (4.7 apg)
- Matt Stainbrook is 2nd in the Big East in rebounds (8.9 rpb), Kadeem Batts is 4th (7.7 rpg) and LaDontae Henton is 5th (7.4 rpg).
Note: Rankings reflect Conference Games Only
When Providence has the ball
|Efficiency||107.6 4||110.6 9||104.2|
|Avg. Poss Length||19.4 0||18.4 0||17.8|
|Effective FG%:||47.6 6||52.2 8||49.5|
|Turnover %:||18.0 7||13.8 10||18.5|
|Off. Reb. %:||36.5 1||26.9 2||31.6|
|FTA/FGA:||45.4 1||36.9 6||40.8|
|3P%:||33.9 6||41.8 10||34.4|
|2P%:||46.1 7||46.2 5||48.5|
|FT%:||75.6 1||67.7 1||69.7|
|Block%:||7.6 2||6.6 8||9.8|
|Steal%:||9.8 9||7.1 9||9.1|
When Xavier has the ball
|Efficiency||111.4 3||106.6 7||104.2|
|Avg. Poss Length||17.2 0||17.6 0||17.8|
|Effective FG%:||52.0 4||49.7 6||49.5|
|Turnover %:||17.3 5||15.5 8||18.5|
|Off. Reb. %:||33.4 2||29.6 5||31.6|
|FTA/FGA:||44.0 2||34.8 4||40.8|
|3P%:||34.3 5||33.1 5||34.4|
|2P%:||52.2 3||49.6 7||48.5|
|FT%:||74.8 2||74.1 7||69.7|
|Block%:||12.8 9||13.2 3||9.8|
|Steal%:||8.1 4||8.7 5||9.1|
Road wins in the Big East are tough to come by. All Friar fans have to do is look at PC’s last road contest in Chicago when they struggled to pull out a win, even after a fast shooting start, against a depleted DePaul team. The Xavier squad that they will take on tomorrow afternoon in Cincinnati is currently their direct competition for 3rd place. A win tomorrow means the Friars would be 7-4 and have solo ownership of 3rd place behind Creighton and Villanova. A loss and their resume gets even more cloudy, as one of the big missing pieces is quality road wins, and Xavier would take over 3rd place in the conference at 6-4. The irony for the Big East is that this game could be another nail in one of these team’s coffins and could be a key reason why they end up not making the Big Dance. There is still time and there are more opportunities beyond Saturday but this game has big implications for both teams.
Providence is coming off a tough home loss against a surging St. John’s squad that got out to a huge lead (23 at the highest point) and held on for dear life as the Friars made a 2nd half comeback that fell short. Home losses hurt. But this one didn’t hurt as much since PC won the first matchup at Carnesseca Arena. A win tomorrow would wipe that loss out of fan’s minds and catapult the Friars back into a more comfortable position on the bubble than they currently hold which, as of yesterday’s ESPN Bracketology, is in the last 4 in category and playing a First Round play-in game against LSU as an 11 seed.
Xavier is also coming off a loss but theirs was on the road and it was against a team they are looking up at in the standings in Villanova. The Muskies held on for a while on Monday night as they went into the half only being down by 6 and getting the deficit down to 3 a few minutes into the 2nd half. But James Bell and the Wildcats proved to be too much to handle as Nova pulled away about 6 minutes into the 2nd half and never looked back. Bell finished with a game high 27 points while hitting 6 three pointers. The troubling thing for Xavier is the loss against Villanova marks their third L in a row. They are desperately looking to get back on track but they are currently a 9 seed in ESPN’s latest Bracketology release yesterday.
Now that the updates and implications are out of the way, on to this game.
Semaj Christon was largely contained the last time these two teams met on January 25th. He did most of his scoring damage in the 2nd half trying to come from behind. It seemed like when he wanted to get to the basket in the 2nd half he could do it every time and he played a much more assertive game. He didn’t do that much in the 1st half. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the last 17 minutes of the game. I expect Christon to have a pretty big game tomorrow and score 20+. Bryce Cotton should be able to negate most of Christon’s point by scoring around 20 himself but the big question for the Friars will be: who else will contribute? In the last meeting, LaDonate Henton went for 23 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with just over 2 minutes to play. Kadeem Batts and Tyler Harris were both solid and the PC frontline was able to keep Matt Stainbrook under control. Jalen Reynolds was productive in only 8 minutes as he was able to score 6 points and grab 4 rebounds but he has been suspended since January 28th so he can concentrate on his “responsibilities greater than basketball”. PC needs to have Henton or Batts come out and put up a big game along with Cotton if they have a shot to steal this one on the road. Henton has traditionally played well in the Midwest against DePaul and his family has attended those games so maybe he will continue that trend in Cincinnati which is about the same travel time as Detroit to Chicago.
I know there has been a call for more Carson Desrosiers and less Tyler Harris throughout Friartown since Tuesday night but I just don’t believe that will be, nor do I think it should be, the case. Harris will get an opportunity to rebound from his poor performance against the Red Storm on Tuesday because, well there just isn’t anyone else walking through that door. Desrosiers will play solid minutes but look for Harris to start and get the majority of the minutes between the two.
I expect this game to be hard fought and be a bit of an old school Big East battle. PC will play well and keep it tight but I ultimately believe Xavier, who has had 5 days of rest, practice and preparation will hold serve on their home court. That makes Monday’s game at Georgetown all the more crucial for the Friars as they NEED to be at least 1-1 on this road trip heading into Alumni weekend to still be in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
Prediction: Providence 71 Xavier 75