Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI
When: 12:00 PM
- This will mark the 65th meeting all-time between Providence and Georgetown. The series is led by the Hoyas, 44-20, with all but 2 of those meetings coming since the formation of the Big East in 1979-80. The series is tied, 14-14, when played in Providence. Last season’s January 8, 2014 win for the Friars snapped an 8 game losing streak against Georgetown. Providence and Georgetown split the series last season with each team winning on their home court.
- Georgetown comes to Providence following a two game home stand after opening the Big East season on the road. The Hoyas lost the opener during the New Year’s Eve marathon at Xavier but won both home games against Creighton and Marquette. The Hoyas are led in scoring by junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who averages 14.3 points/game. Leading on the glass is senior big man Josh Smith, who averages 6.3 rebounds/game.
- Providence got their first road win of the season on Tuesday night at Butler following a strong second half performance by Kris Dunn who finished the game with a career high 25 points. The Friars enter Saturday’s game at 2-1 in league play so far.
- The line opened with Providence as a 2 point favorite.
Note: Stats include games through January 8th vs D-1 teams only
Providence is coming off a gritty road win, their first of the season, on Tuesday night against Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Georgetown is hitting the road after two straight home wins. This will be a battle of 2-1 Big East teams but more importantly it should be a straight battle. Georgetown and Providence both have the ability to be very physical with their size and length on the front line and larger than normal guards. Both teams also are counting on freshmen to contribute significantly and both figure to be in the race for an NCAA Tournament bid as things look at the moment.
On paper Georgetown looks like they match up well with the Friars. The Hoyas offense is ranked 16th nationally in Offensive Rebounding % (38.5%) and their defense is 70th in Turnover % (21.8%). Both of those things have been downfalls for Ed Cooley’s team at times this season. However, Georgetown also struggles with turnovers on offense. They rank 241st nationally in Turnover % (20.8%). The Hoyas also struggle to grab defensive rebounds and are in fact ranked worse than the Friars in that category at 278th nationally (34%).
In looking deeper into the statistics for this preview it made things even more clear that his will be a classic Big East battle on Saturday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Both teams run offenses that can be deliberate at times with Georgetown running Princeton offensive sets and Providence running the flex offense. Both offenses have shown good efficiency numbers though.
The keys for a Providence victory will be to limit turnovers, clean the defensive glass and limit Josh Smith’s opportunities to score in the paint and control the offense. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown’s leading scorer, will likely score his points but Providence needs to keep a hand in his face and not allow him to have a big second half which is something he has already done numerous times this season. Georgetown also has talented freshman that contribute with L.J. Peak leading the way for their class in on-court production so far.
Kris Dunn will have to take care of the ball on offense and look for opportunities to get steals to spark transition buckets because Georgetown has the size and bodies to blanket LaDontae Henton. This is a game that will be critical for another scorer to step up for Providence. Will Tyler Harris get out of his funk and start producing again? We’ll see. The larger question will be to see how the 3 starters that got benched for the second half against Butler will respond to that message sent by Ed Cooley. I’m sure that same message from Tuesday night was reiterated in practice leading up to Saturday’s game as well.
I expect this game to be played in the low 60’s and be reinstatement to the Big East of the 1980’s. Hopefully this Providence team can try to take after the 1994 Big East Championship team on the glass as that team will be honored at halftime of this game.
Prediction: Providence 65 Georgetown 63
Follow me on Twitter @pcbb1917