Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI
How: Fox Sports 1/WEEI 103.7 FM
- The Friars and Golden Eagles have met 17 times all time. Marquette has a dominant edge in the series, 13-4. Providence has still yet to win in Milwaukee. Ever.
- Bryce Cotton leads the nation in minutes per game with 39.9. He is averaging a mind boggling 41.7 mpg in Big East contests. He is 13th in the nation in points per game at 21.6, 22nd in the nation in assists per game at 5.8 and tied for 13th in the nation in Free Throws made at 179. Cotton is now in 6th place all time on the PC scoring list with 1,838 career points in a Friar uniform. He only needs 2 points to surpass the great Marvin Barnes for 5th all time.
- Bryce Cotton is 2nd in the Big East in scoring (21.5 ppg) and Davante Gardner is 11th (14.9 ppg)
- Bryce Cotton is 1st in the Big East in assists (5.8 apg) and Derrick Wilson is tied for 6th (4.1 apg)
- Kadeem Batts is 3rd (7.8 rpg) and LaDontae Henton is 6th (7.0 rpg) in the Big East in rebounds while Davante Gardner is 12th (5.7 rpg) and Jamil Wilson is 13th (5.6 rpg)
- Line opened at PC -3.5
Note: Rankings reflect Conference Games Only
Marquette has owned Providence over the years. Since joining the Big East in 2005, the Golden Eagles are a staggering 11-1 against the Friars with PC’s lone win coming at the Dunk on January 4, 2007. It should be noted that only 4 of the 12 matchups have been in Providence thanks to the unbalanced scheduling of the old Big East. Nothing has changed since last week. This is a must win game. Coming off the road win against a depleted Seton Hall squad without their Senior leader, Fuquan Edwin, the Friars need to take care of business at home in a game they are favored to win.
As you can tell from the series record, Marquette has been a bit of a boogeyman for the Friars. In their last meeting in Milwaukee on January 30th, PC managed to have their worst first half scoring output, 14 points, since scoring 11 against UConn on February 5, 2002. They shot 32.8% from the field including 2-17 from beyond the arc (11.8%). Marquette didn’t play lights out but they were able to score enough to get out to a 17 point lead at the break. PC made their run in the 2nd half and got the game to within 3 with 11:33 remaining but they would never get closer and ended up falling 61-50.
The Friars have only scored in the 50’s 4 times all season and are 1-3 in those contests, winning at URI 50-49 and falling against Maryland in the Paradise Jam, 56-52, at Xavier 59-53 and at Marquette 61-50. The lowest output at home, however, is 65 in a win against Butler, 65-56 on January 21st during the 5 game winning streak earlier this season.
Marquette has been riding on the back of their big Senior, Davante Gardner. In their last 5 wins, Gardner is averaging 18.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg and he’s shooting 59% from the field and 45/55 from the line, good for 82%. In their last 3 losses, he is averaging 8.7 ppg, 3 rpg and is shooting 53% from the field and only got to the line 10 times, making 8. If Batts, Desrosiers and maybe a little Kofane can keep Gardner in check, the Friars have a really good chance to win. The other key to this game is the officiating. While you may be saying, “duh!”, I believe the physical way that Marquette plays on the defensive end will be a factor and will either allow them to smother Bryce Cotton like they did in Milwaukee where it looked like a 1980’s Syracuse/Georgetown game at times or, they will be called for a ton of fouls and be forced to give Cotton room to operate. The other beneficial thing for PC if they call the game tight is that the Friars have been the most proficient in the nation at hitting their free throws for the majority of the season.
After Xavier fell at Seton Hall tonight, this game is for a share of 3rd place, though if the season ended tomorrow around 11pm, Xavier would be the 3 seed in the Big East tournament since they own the tiebreaker against both PC and Marquette at the moment.
Tomorrow night is Senior Night at the Dunk. Emotions will be running high and the crowd should be rowdy since there is plenty of time for pre-game libations ahead of the 9pm start (which is a joke btw and I’ll be writing about the scheduling later this week). I think there will be enough juice in the building and these Seniors will want to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. The Friars take this one in dramatic fashion.
Prediction: Marquette 65 Providence 80