Game Notes & Preview: Providence (3-1, 0-0) vs Memphis (4-0, 0-0) 11/25/16

Where: Northwest Florida State College Arena – Destin, FL

When: 9:30pm EST

How: CBS Sports Network (Brad Johansen & Doug Gottlieb)/WEEI 103.7 FM and (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and Memphis will meet for the 6th time ever on Friday. The Friars lead the all-time series, 3-2. This game is part of the 2016 Emerald Coast Classic. The Friars defeated Grambling St and St. Francis (NY) in campus site games of the Emerald Coast Classic. The last time Providence played Memphis was December 10, 2005 and the Tigers won, 97-89. Three of the five previous meetings between the two teams occurred in postseason tournaments. Providence defeated Memphis in the 1960 and 1967 NIT Tournaments at Madison Square Garden and the Tigers defeated the Friars in the 1973 Final Four in St. Louis, MO.
  • Providence is 45-60 all-time against teams from the American Athletic Conference. This game will mark the first time Providence has played a team from the AAC since the conference was formed in 2013.
  • Memphis is 4-0 this season. They defeated Texas Rio Grande Valley and Savannah St during the campus site portion of the Emerald Coast Classic. They also beat Milwaukee and McNeese St. The Tigers are led by Tubby Smith, who is in his 1st season at the helm of the Memphis program and 26th season as a head coach overall. Sophomore Dedric Lawson leads the Tigers in scoring at 20.8 points/game and he grabs the most rebounds, averaging 12.3 rebounds/game. His brother, K.J., is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.8 points/game and 9.8 rebounds/game.
  • Opening Line: Providence -2.5 vs Memphis 11/25/16

Game Preview

Providence opens the on-site portion of the Emerald Coast Classic at Northwest Florida State College’s arena in Niceville, FL against the Memphis Tigers on Friday night. This will be Memphis’ first game this season against a team from a high major conference, while the Friars have already scrapped with Ohio State as part of the annual Gavitt Games. Both teams are in a year of transition with Providence looking to find their identity and ceiling after Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil moved on to the NBA. Memphis is in their first season under Tubby Smith after 7 years of Josh Pastner. The Lawson brothers remained at Memphis after Smith kept Keelon Lawson, Dedric and K.J.’s father, on his staff. Dedric Lawson has recorded a double-double in all four of Memphis’ games this season and will be one of the best big men Providence faces this season.

The Friars will have their hands full on the defensive end where Memphis is shooting 59.0% on 2-point field goals and the Tigers sport low turnover and high assist rates that place them 35th and 5th nationally in each respective category. The thing to worry about for the Friars in the halfcourt is cleaning the glass. Memphis is 30th nationally in Offensive Rebound % at 37.7% on the season. Look for Providence to mix in some zone defense to keep Memphis off balance. The Tigers have faced zone on 49.8% of their possessions this season and their field goal % drops substantially when running offense against a zone versus their man-to-man offense. Against man-to-man defense, Memphis is shooting 52.2%. Against zone defense, Memphis is shooting 39.2%.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:


The key to victory for Providence will be to control the tempo of the game. Memphis has scored 35.9% of their points in transition and they are shooting 62.4% on their 85 transition field goal attempts. If Providence can force the game to be played at a slower pace they will mitigate some of Memphis’ transition offense. Playing zone will also help slow Memphis down and make them think a little more on the offensive end. Keep an eye on whether Providence opts to crash the offensive glass hard or not. That might give an early indication of how worried Ed Cooley is about Memphis’ transition game. With Emmitt Holt expected to be a game-time decision, it could mean another start and potentially another game of expanded minutes for freshman Kalif Young.

Prediction: Providence 71 Memphis 69

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