Game Notes & Preview: #25 Providence 19-8 (9-5) at #6 Villanova 25-2 (12-2) 2/24/15

Where: The Pavilion – Villanova, PA

When: 7:00 PM

How: Fox Sports 1 (Joe Davis & Bill Raftery)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • This will mark the 93rd meeting all-time between Providence and Villanova. The series is currently led by Villanova, 37-55. The series favors the Wildcats, 12-29, when played in at Villanova. Providence went 0-2 against Villanova last season and are 0-1 against the Wildcats this season. The Friars fell at home against Villanova, 74-68, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on February 11th. Providence last won at The Pavilion on February 2, 2013 by the score of 55-52. Bryce Cotton hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds on the clock to even Providence’s season at that point at 11-11. That win stopped a 3-game losing streak and started a 4-game winning streak on the way to Providence’s quarterfinal loss in the NIT to Baylor on March 27th.
  • Villanova welcomes Providence to The Pavilion following an 87-76 win at Marquette on February 21st. The Wildcats are led in scoring by senior Darrun Hilliard, who averages 14.4 points/game. Villanova is led in rebounding by junior Daniel Ochefu, who averages 8.3 rebounds/game.
  • Providence is coming off a road win that completed the season sweep of the DePaul Blue Demons in their last outing. The Friars controlled the game early and never took their foot off DePaul’s throat en route to the 84-57 victory at AllState Arena. LaDontae Henton led the Friars with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 4th double-double of the season. Kris Dunn also chipped in 21 points while Ben Bentil registered a double-double of his own with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
  • LaDontae Henton remains in 6th place on the all-time points scored list at Providence with 1,946 career points. Henton trails Jamel Thomas by 25 points for 5th all-time and Henton is 54 points away from 2,000 career points. Henton is also just 7 rebounds away from 1,000 for his career. If he were to accomplish both the scoring and rebounding feats Henton would join Ryan Gomes as the only other Friar to accomplish those career milestones. Carson Desrosiers is 8th on the all-time blocked shots list at Providence College with 153 blocks through 61 career games as a Friar. Desrosiers is now 2 blocks behind Randall Hanke for 7th place in school history. Kris Dunn‘s 193 assists this season rank him 11th on the all-time assists in a season list. Next on the list is Carlton Screen, who had 198 assists in the 1988-89 season.
  • The line opened with Providence as an 11.5 point underdog and the total is 137.

Kenpom InstaGamePrep™

Note: Stats include games through February 23rd vs D-1 teams only

Game Preview

Providence travels to Villanova Tuesday night to complete the regular season series with the Big East-leading Villanova Wildcats. The Friars are ranked #25 in the AP poll, which is the first time they have been ranked in that poll in 10 years. The game is being played at Villanova’s on-campus arena, The Pavilion, and it’s senior night. In the last meeting between these two teams the Wildcats pulled off a road win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on February 11th, which finished off a brutal 4-game stretch for the Friars where they finished 1-3 playing at St. John’s (loss), at Georgetown (win), at Xavier (loss), vs. Villanova (loss).

The keys for Villanova’s victory at the Dunk less than 2 weeks ago was their ability to shoot 50% from the field and make 37 trips to the free throw line. Providence didn’t have a terrible shooting game at 43% and the Friars made 8 3-pointers but Villanova outscored them by 11 points at the charity stripe. Kris Dunn had 8 assists and only 2 turnovers last time out. Providence’s only chance of winning is if Dunn and Henton have big games while the Friars contain Villanova’s 3-point shooting – 40.1% in conference play to lead the Big East – and Providence uses their size advantage to their benefit.

I just have a hard time seeing Providence winning this game on Villanova’s senior night and further think that there is potential for a game like last season at Creighton for their senior night where the Wildcats have a hot shooting night and run Providence out of the building. I think Providence keeps it closer than that but still think they fall on the road against the #6 ranked Wildcats. Also of note is that Carson Desrosiers is a game-time decision with a knee injury suffered at DePaul last week.

Prediction: Providence 65 Villanova 74

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