Game Notes & Preview: Providence 17-6 (7-3) at Xavier 14-9 (5-6) 2/7/15

Where: Cintas Center – Cincinnati, OH

When: 1:00 PM

How: Fox Sports 1 (Joe Davis and Nick Bahe)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Where to Gamewatch

Game Notes

  • This will mark the 7th meeting all-time between Providence and Xavier. The series is currently tied, 3-3. The series favors the Musketeers, 3-0, when played in Cincinnati. Providence went 1-1 against Xavier last season and are 1-0 against the Musketeers this season. The Friars beat Xavier, 69-66, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on January 22nd. That game required overtime.
  • Xavier welcomes Providence to the Cintas Center following a 79-72 defeat at home against Creighton in overtime. The Musketeers are led in scoring and rebounding by senior Matt Stainbrook, who averages 12.6 points/game and 6.8 rebounds/game. Stainbrook is 3rd in the Big East in field goal percentage and sophomore Jalen Reynolds leads the league at 64.2%. Reynolds tied a career high of 17 points in the last game against Creighton.
  • Providence was 1-0 this week after a gritty road win at Georgetown on Wednesday night.
  • LaDontae Henton is moved ahead of Marvin Barnes on the all-time points scored list at Providence with 1,855 career points. Henton is now in 6th place on the list and trails Jamel Thomas by 116 points. Henton broke the all-time starts record at Providence by starting his 123rd career game on Wednesday. That record was previously held by Geoff McDermott. Carson Desrosiers is 8th on the all-time blocked shots list at Providence College with 151 blocks through 57 career games as a Friar. Desrosiers is now 4 blocks behind Randall Hanke for 7th place in school history.
  • The line opened with Providence as a X point underdog.

Kenpom InstaGamePrep™

Note: Stats include games through February 5th vs D-1 teams only

Game Preview

Providence is coming off one of the best wins the program has seen in a long time. The fact that they did it on the road adds to the gravity of the win. In addition to sweeping the season series against Georgetown the Friars also got their first win in Washington DC in 10 years and beat a ranked team on the road for the first time in 11 years. What makes the road win so impressive is that it has been so difficult to win on the road in the Big East. The Friars will get another chance for a road win and season series sweep on Saturday against the Xavier Musketeers.

Xavier is coming off a less than inspiring home loss to this season’s Big East cellar dweller, DePaul Creighton. The Bluejays are 2-9 in league play and have been dead last in the standings for most of 2015. Sophomore guard Myles Davis had some interesting post-game comments about the team’s lack of ability to play to the scouting report while also questioning the effort of some of his teammates. Things said immediately after a bad loss should be taken with a grain of salt but the anger and frustration Davis expressed in a fairly mild mannered way seemed pretty real.

After doing some quick analysis of Xavier’s shooting in wins vs. losses and at home vs. on the road you can see pretty clearly that the Musketeers are a different shooting team when they are at the Cintas Center as they will be for this game against Providence. Xavier shoots 51.1% from the field at home and 45.8% on the road. The numbers are about the same in wins vs. losses for the Musketeers so it leads me to believe they are a much better team at home. Providence, on the other hand, shoots roughly the same percentage at and away from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Where Providence’s shooting numbers fluctuate is when you look at them in the context of wins vs. losses. The Friars shoot a robust 47.5% from the field when they win and a lowly 38.7% when they lose.

The Friars have shown tremendous resiliency on the road at times this season but I fear that Xavier will be looking to rebound from the loss to Creighton and I am concerned that Xavier’s shooting will come to life against the Friars much like St. John’s has managed to do against the Friars this season. I do think the game will be tighter than the opening betting line of 7.5 points but I think Xavier comes away with the win this time.

Prediction: Providence 66 Xavier 69

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