Game Notes & Preview: Providence (18-11, 8-8) vs DePaul (9-20, 2-14) 2/28/17

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 8:30pm EST

How: FS1 (Alex Faust & Vin Parise)/Fox Sports GO (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Game Notes

  • Providence and DePaul will meet for the 38th time ever on Tuesday. The Friars lead the all-time series, 27-10. The Friars are 17-3 against DePaul in Providence. DePaul defeated Providence earlier this season, 64-63, in Chicago on January 10th.
  • Providence is 3-7 this season on the road against a 14-3 record at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Providence is 4-3 at home in Big East play. The Friars are also 1-1 on neutral courts.
  • Tuesday night is Senior Night. Four-year walk-on Casey Woodring will be honored as the lone senior on Providence’s roster this season. Woodring has logged minutes in 23 games in his career totaling 11 points and 6 rebounds in 39 minutes.
  • The first 2,500 fans in attendance for this game will get a Kris Dunn bobblehead.
  • DePaul is 9-20 this season, including a 2-14 Big East record. The Blue Demons went 1-1 last week with a win on the road at Georgetown followed by a home loss to Seton Hall on Saturday. DePaul was picked to finish 10th in the preseason Big East Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Demons are led by Dave Leitao, who is in his 2nd season at the helm of the DePaul program after spending 3 seasons as the head coach from 2002-05. Sophomore Eli Cain leads the Blue Demons in scoring at 16.0 points/game, which ranks him eleventh in the Big East. Junior Tre’Darius McCallum leads the team in rebounding,  averaging 6.6 rebounds/game, which ranks him tied for second in the Big East.
  • Opening Line: Providence -13 vs DePaul 2/28/17

Game Preview

Providence is red hot after their fourth straight win on Saturday that notched them the season sweep over the Marquette Golden Eagles, a fact that could prove useful during Big East tiebreakers. The Friars have also won three straight home games after losing to Villanova to start on the month on February 1st. Providence has crept into the brackets of both ESPN.com and CBSSports.com and they are in 86.7% of brackets on BracketMatrix.com. For more information on Providence and the rest of the Big East teams in the NCAA Tournament mix, click here. The focus for Ed Cooley and his team will be on getting revenge against DePaul. The Blue Demons beat Providence for just the 3rd time ever back on January 10th in a game that Kyron Cartwright was hobbled by knee tendinitis.

DePaul got their second league win last week when they went to Georgetown and beat a lifeless Hoyas team with a pair of Billy Garrett, Jr. free throws with less than a second to go. The Blue Demons are not having a good year with just 9 wins in 29 contests and they are locked into the last place slot again for the 3rd time in 4 years of this newly configured Big East conference. Dave Leitao’s group has talent, though, and the Friars will need to keep their focus on this game and not look ahead to their matchup with St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.

Interestingly, when asked during the most recent Big East coaches media call last Thursday if he’s discussed the NCAA Tournament at all with this team like he with past Providence teams, Cooley said “I haven’t discussed one word about the NCAA Tournament with this group.” Cooley cited the youth of his current team and went on to say “if we deserve to be in the Tournament we’ll be there. If we don’t earn it we don’t deserve it.” The Friars may just be able to earn their ticket to a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament if they take care of business in this game and on Saturday. First things first.

The probable starters according to the game notes are:

Providence
DePaul

The keys to victory for Providence are play fast when it makes sense and to take care of the basketball. If the Friars do those two things and have a halfway decent shooting night they should beat DePaul. The Blue Demons are susceptible to turnovers and pushing the ball off turnovers is one example of playing fast when it makes sense for Providence’s offense. The Friars are a much better offensive team in the halfcourt when they can get some easy baskets in transition to go along with their halfcourt sets. DePaul’s defense has been second best in Big East play at Turnover %, per Kenpom.com. If the Friars limit turnovers, which should limit easy baskets for DePaul, Providence’s defense should be able to stifle the Blue Demons. Look for Emmitt Holt and Rodney Bullock to get the ball below the free throw line to take advantage of DePaul’s lack of a rim-protector.

Prediction: Providence 75 DePaul 60

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