Game Notes & Preview: Providence (1-0, 0-0) at Ohio State (2-0, 0-0) 11/17/16

Where: Value City Arena – Columbus, OH

When: 7:00pm EST

How: Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler & Seth Davis)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and Ohio State will meet for the 2nd time ever on Thursday with the only other game between the Friars and Buckeyes coming in the First Round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament. Ohio State won that game, 84-83. The Friars are 1-0 all-time in Gavitt Tipoff Games after they defeated Illinois last season.
  • Providence is 31-26 all-time against teams from the Big Ten conference. The last time the Friars played a Big Ten opponent on the road was December 29, 1997 when Providence lost at Purdue, 81-79.
  • Ohio State is 2-0 this season. They defeated Navy by 10 to open the season and most recently they hung on against North Carolina Central by 6 on Monday night. The Buckeyes are led by Thad Matta, who is in his 13th season at the helm of the Ohio State program. Junior Kam Williams leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 16.0 points/game and junior Keita Bates-Diop grabs the most rebounds, averaging 8.0 rebounds/game.
  • Opening Line: Providence +7 at Ohio State 11/17/16

Game Preview

Ohio State opened their season on the road at Navy last Friday and despite shooting 57.4% from the field, including 10/18 from beyond the arc, the Buckeyes only managed to beat the Midshipmen by 10 points. Their home opener on Monday night featured another slow offensive start and they barely held off North Carolina Central by 3 to improve to 2-0 heading into the Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup against Providence.

A name Friar fans will be familiar with from the recruiting trail is JaQuan Lyle. Lyle, now a sophomore at Ohio State, started both games for Thad Matta this season, but he hasn’t produced much. He only played 13 minutes in the game against Navy and has only managed 8 points and 4 assists in 35 total minutes through the first two games of the 2016-17 season. His 6’5, 230 lb frame could present a problem for Providence on the defensive end of the floor, but if he continues to be this ineffective expect to see C.J. Jackson running the offense. Jackson has been the team’s assist leader in both of their games this season, averaging 8.5 dishes across the two contests. The two players to watch for scoring are Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams. Tate starts while Williams comes off the bench but they have traded 20+ point performances with Williams going for 23 points against Navy and Tate pouring in 21 against NC Central. One stat the keep an eye on for Ohio State is free throw shooting. The Buckeyes are shooting 56.8% from the free throw line in their two games this season. That’s bad good for 305th nationally, per Kenpom.com. Providence shot 85% in their opening win against Vermont on Monday and that ranks the Friars 11th in the country.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Providence
Ohio State

The keys to victory will be for Providence to get out to a fast start on offense and, on the defensive side, defend the 3-point line vigilantly. The latter should be similar to how they prepared for Vermont’s usually potent 3-point shooting attack, but the Buckeyes and Catamounts play different styles in terms of generating those looks from beyond the arc. With Ohio State getting off to slow starts in both of their games this season, the Friars jumping ahead early would allow them to control the pace to the speed they want while also taking the crowd out of things. This will be the first hostile road environment for many of these young Friars, but Cartwright, Rodney Bullock, Jalen Lindsey, Ryan Fazekas and Emmitt Holt have all experienced this kind of loathing before. One interesting thing to keep an eye on is whether or not Drew Edwards plays in this one. Edwards’ defense could certainly be used against the Ohio State guards, but the sophomore is still on the mend from knee surgery and did not play on Monday night after only returning to full contact practice about two weeks ago.

Prediction: Providence 73 Ohio State 70

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