Game Notes & Preview: Providence 14-5 (4-2) vs Xavier 12-6 (3-3) 1/22/15

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 7:00 PM

How: Fox Sports Network (Rich Ackerman & Ron Thompson)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

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Game Notes

  • This will mark the 6th meeting all-time between Providence and Xavier. The series is led by the Musketeers, 3-2. The series favors the Friars, 2-0, when played in Providence. Providence went 1-1 against Xavier last year with each team winning on their home court.
  • Xavier comes to Providence following a 1-1 week in Big East play. On January 14th the Musketeers fell at Villanova, 88-75. They rebounded on January 17th against Marquette by beating the Golden Eagles in Cincinnati, 62-58. The Musketeers are led in scoring and rebounding by senior Matt Stainbrook, who averages 12.4 points/game and 7.0 rebounds/game. Freshman Trevon Bluiett is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 points/game and leads all Big East rookies in scoring.
  • Providence also went 1-1 last week but their results were garnered on opposite courts to the Musketeers as the Friars lost at home to St. John’s on January 14th and then went on the road to defeat Creighton on January 17th.
  • LaDontae Henton is in 9th place on the all-time points scored list at Providence College with 1,790 career points. Henton is now 19 points behind Bruce ‘Soup’ Campbell for 8th place in school history. Carson Desrosiers is 9th on the all-time blocked shots list at Providence College with 140 blocks through 53 career games as a Friar. After 6 blocks against Creighton he trails Bilal Dixon by just 1 block for 8th all-time.
  • The line opened with Providence as a 1.5 point favorite and the total is 140.

Kenpom InstaGamePrep™

Note: Stats include games through January 21st vs D-1 teams only

Kenpom.com
Kenpom.com
Kenpom.com
Kenpom.com

Game Preview

Providence returns home to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center following a road win at Creighton on January 17th. The extra couple of days between games should have allowed them to travel home from Omaha and get a little extra practice in which I’m sure made Ed Cooley happy. Xavier is coming off a home win against Marquette on January 17th so they also had an extra couple of days between games.

The Musketeers are a talented offensive team that has the best eFG% in the Big East, per Kenpom.com. That 55.4 eFG% ranks 14th nationally. Xavier also sports the 9th best adjusted offensive efficiency according to Pomeroy’s site. Where Xavier struggles is on the defensive end where they have the 248th best defensive eFG%. Teams have shot 36.1% from 3-point land against them this season which ranks 263rd nationally.

Providence will look to control Matt Stainbrook down low using a combination of senior Carson Desrosiers and freshman Ben Bentil with fellow freshman Paschal Chukwu figuring to get minutes when Stainbrook is benched. Xavier’s best player on offense is likely Indiana transfer Remy Abell but they are also getting a strong offensive output from freshman Trevon Bluiett who is second on the team in scoring behind Stainbrook.

LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn will look to key Providence’s offense as usual but to keep up with Xavier’s potential scoring the Friars will absolutely need someone like Tyler Harris, Jalen Lindsey or maybe even Desrosiers to step up and add points to the ledger. Lindsey and Harris likely have the edge because of Xavier’s difficulty defending the 3-point line.

Look for Providence to play improved on the defensive end compared to their last home outing against St. John’s when they gave up 8 1st half 3-pointers. Ed Cooley has stressed the importance of defending the 3-point line and also of defending home court. I expect Providence to come out with a solid effort behind a near sell-out crowd at the Dunk tonight and beat a Xavier team that has struggled mightily on the road this season.

Prediction: Providence 75 Xavier 70

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