Where: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
- This will mark the 31st meeting all-time between Providence and Miami. The series is tied 15-15. The first meeting came on December 8, 1962 in Providence with the Friars falling to the Hurricanes, 82-75. Miami won the last two times the teams have played with the last game being March 18, 2009 in the NIT.
- Miami travels to Brooklyn coming off a 28 point loss at home against Eastern Kentucky on December 19th. The Hurricanes are led in scoring by junior guard Sheldon McClellan who averages 16.0 points/game. Leading on the glass is junior center Tonye Jekiri who averages 9.4 rebounds/game.
- Providence is 131-191 against the ACC conference all-time including a 2-1 record this season. 121 of the 131 wins came against ACC team when they were members of the Big East conference. The Friars are 8-12 against ACC members who were never part of the Big East.
- The line opened with Providence as a 1 point underdog. The total is 131.
Note: Stats include games through December 21st vs D-1 teams only
Providence came off their 6 day exam break and blew UMass out of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center by 20 points on December 20th while Miami came off their 11 day break by getting blown out of their own building by Eastern Kentucky by 28 points on December 19th. The Hurricanes were ranked 18th in the AP poll last week but that bad loss to Eastern Kentucky knocked them out of the top 25 in both polls this week.
Early in the season the Hurricanes were being led by Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez who was averaging 16.2 points/game through the team’s first 6 contests while shooting 43% from the field. Included in that 6 game stretch was his 24 point performance in Miami’s upset victory at Florida while they were ranked 8th in the country. Over the team’s last 5 games he is only averaging 9.2 points/game while shooting an abysmal 21% from the field including an 0/6 shooting performance in their last game. It will be a big help for the Friars is Rodriguez stays in his current funk but if he manages to break out he’s a dangerous scorer.
The Hurricanes leading scorer for the season is junior guard Sheldon McClellan who has played much more consistently over the team’s 11 games. He has a high scoring game of 31 in a blowout win over Charlotte and also averages a team-high 32.1 minutes/game. I think stopping McClellan will be the key to success for Providence in this contest.
LaDontae Henton broke out and had a game-high 27 points last time out against UMass and Kris Dunn continues to play very well. If these two can play well again tonight and the Friars can manage to hold down McClellan and not let junior center Tonye Jekiri grab too many offensive rebounds I like Providence’s chances in a close game. Miami scores 36.6% of their points from behind the 3-point line while shooting 40.3% from downtown. Providence is allowing opponents to shoot only 30.1% from 3-point range so whoever wins this battle could determine the winner of the game. Miami is not turnover prone but the Friars have the 28th best steal % according to Kenpom.com.
I see this game being played at a pretty slow pace with the Friars running a good amount of flex offense and trying to force Miami to play a sluggish halfcourt game. The Friars may end up playing more man to man against Miami because of their shooting prowess which could lead to foul trouble so I expect Ed Cooley to mix in zone here and there depending on how Miami is shooting during the game and to possibly protect any players who may end up in foul trouble. The game may come down to the final possession but I think Providence continues to play well and roll into the Big East season on December 31st with a win in their final non-conference game.
Prediction: Providence 66 Miami (FL) 65
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