Game Notes & Preview: Providence (14-11, 4-8) vs (22) Butler (19-5, 8-4) 2/11/17

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 4:00pm EST

How: CBSSN (Andrew Catalon & Steve Lappas with Jamie Erdahl)/CBSSN Stream (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and Butler will meet for the 9th time ever on Saturday. The Friars lead the all-time series, 6-2. Providence is 3-1 all-time at home against Butler. The Bulldogs defeated the Friars, 78-61, earlier this season at Hinkle Fieldhouse on New Year’s Day.
  • Providence is 2-7 this season on the road against an 11-3 record at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars are also 1-1 on neutral courts. Providence’s last win at home came on January 14th against Seton Hall. The Friars have dropped their last two games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (St. John’s 1/25/17, Villanova 2/1/17).
  • Providence’s record when unranked against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 is 71-211 all-time. The Friars are 1-6 this season against ranked teams with the lone win coming on December 3rd against then 21st-ranked Rhode Island. Five of the six losses have come against Big East foes, including two losses to Villanova.
  • Butler is 19-5 this season, including an 8-4 Big East record. The Bulldogs are 1-0 this week. They beat Marquette, 68-65, on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Butler was picked to finish 6th in the preseason Big East Coaches’ Poll. The Bulldogs are led by Chris Holtmann, who is in his 3rd season at the helm of the Butler program. Junior Kelan Martin leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 15.7 points/game, which ranks him eleventh in the Big East. Martin also leads the team in rebounding,  averaging 5.5 rebounds/game, which ranks him fourteenth in the Big East.
  • Opening Line: Providence +4 vs (22) Butler 2/11/17

Game Preview

Providence returns to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center coming off a disappointing overtime loss on the road at Seton Hall on Wednesday night. The Friars failed to get off a game-winning or game-tying shot both at the end of regulation and overtime and fell, 72-70, to split the season series with the Pirates. With Butler coming to town on Saturday, Providence will be looking to even the score after they were essentially blown out of Hinkle Fieldhouse back on January 1st. This game coincides with Providence’s annual Alumni & Family Weekend and the game is already sold out as a result.

Butler enters this game ranked 22nd in the AP Poll and the Bulldogs are coming off a road win at Marquette on Tuesday night where they improved to 8-4 in league play and are 2 games back from 1st-place Villanova and a half game behind Xavier for second place in the Big East standings. Chris Holtmann has shaken up his starting lineup pretty often for a team that’s been ranked in the Top 25 the last 11 weeks in a row and probably the most significant shake-up came last time out when Holtmann pegged Kethan Savage and Avery Woodson to start in place of Tyler Lewis and Kelan Martin. Martin was picked by the league’s coaches to the preseason All-Big East First Team but he’s struggled to score the ball consistently. Martin has only scored more than 15 points twice in Big East play and he also has 7 games with 13 or less points, including scoring just 1 point last time out against Marquette after being benched for the entire first half.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Providence
Butler

The keys to victory for Providence are to contain Butler’s shooting numbers and to look to score the ball inside on the other end. Butler shot a blistering 73% in the first half and 62% for the full game last time they played Providence. The Friars seemed incoherent on defense and even had a few possessions where the players were confused about which defense they were supposed to be playing, zone or man-to-man. The good news for Ed Cooley is that was game 2 of the Big East schedule and this is game 13. Butler has a number of dangerous shooters that need to be checked once they cross the halfcourt line and the Friars need to ensure Butler doesn’t get hot like they did at Hinkle on New Year’s Day. Butler’s frontline is vulnerable inside and this is a game that Emmitt Holt should be getting the ball below the free throw line early and often. One other note that is perhaps a goal for Providence if they are going to win this game: Butler is 15-0 this season when allowing less than 70 points and 4-5 when their opponents have scored 70 or more points.

Prediction: Providence 67 (22) Butler 70

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