Game Notes & Preview: Providence (16-8, 7-4) vs DePaul (9-14, 2-9) 2/10/18

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 4:00pm EST

How: FSN (Dave Sims & Tarik Turner)/Fox Sports GO (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Current Spread, Total, ML: Odds Central

Tickets: SeatGeek

Game Notes

  • Providence and DePaul will meet for the 40th time ever on Saturday. Providence leads the all-time series, 29-10, which includes a win earlier this season in Chicago on January 12th. The Friars are 16-3 against the Blue Demons in Providence.
  • DePaul is 9-14 this season, including a 2-9 Big East record. The Blue Demons are currently on a 3-game losing streak, their fourth 3-game losing streak of the season and third in Big East action. DePaul is coached by Dave Leitao who is in the 3rd season of his second stint with DePaul after coaching the Blue Demons from 2002-2005. The Blue Demons are led in scoring by redshirt junior Max Strus who is averaging 17.0 points/game. Graduate student Marin Maric leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 rebounds/game.
  • The Friars returned home on Tuesday to defeat Georgetown, 73-69, last time out at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
  • Providence senior forward Rodney Bullock went over 1,000 points in his career against Boston College on November 25th. He became the 48th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points. Bullock is the 17th-fastest Providence player, tied with Eric Murdock, to score his 1,000th point (73 games). Bullock’s current place on the list is 25th with 1,264 points. He is 18 points behind Donnie McGrath.
  • Providence senior guard Kyron Cartwright continues his drive up the all-time assist record list at Providence. He began the season tied for 12th with John Linehan (450). Cartwright has 142 assists through 23 games. He has 592 assists in his career, which places him 3rd all-time at Providence. Next on the list in front of Cartwright is Ernie DiGregorio (662). Cartwright recorded his 500th career assist against URI on December 2nd. He is the 7th Providence player to record at least 500 career assists. Cartwright notched a career-high 15 assists in Providence’s win at St. John’s on December 28th.
  • Providence officially announced on November 29th that Emmitt Holt would miss the entire 2017-18 season as a redshirt while he continues to recover from abdominal surgery. Holt has been off campus recovering, but is expected to return to school in January. Holt did return to school over the MLK weekend and is back with the team, though he remains out of competition this season.
  • Providence announced on January 11th that former Friar Ernie “Pop” Lewis passed away. Lewis was a key member of Providence’s 1987 Final Four team. You can read the official release and watch a tribute video here.
  • Opening Line: Providence -9.5 vs DePaul 2/10/18

Game Preview

Providence and DePaul will meet for the 40th time ever on Saturday afternoon at the Dunk. The game will tip at 4:00pm and be televised on FSN. Providence is 4-0 against DePaul at home in this current configuration of the Big East that began with the 2013-14 season. The Friars are 16-3 at home against DePaul all-time.

DePaul isn’t in the basement of the Big East in early February, so from that perspective I suppose you could say it hasn’t been a terrible year for the Blue Demons. However, expectations were higher than normal for this team with a fairly veteran squad heading into the season. Besides a win at St. John’s in early January and a last second win at Georgetown in late January the Blue Demons haven’t beaten any other Big East squads despite giving Creighton a scare last time out in Chicago on Wednesday.

Providence held Max Strus in check the first time these two met in mid-January and won by 7 despite allowing 14 offensive rebounds. Much of that was because the Friars held DePaul to 38.8% from the field and kept them off the free throw line with just 11 attempts. DePaul doesn’t get to the line very much anyway, but Providence getting there 27 times was a big advantage, especially on the road. Providence will look to force DePaul into shooting contested jump shots and smother Strus again to make another Blue Demon beat them.

Listen to the latest Providence Friarcast:

The probable starters are:

Providence
DePaul

The keys to victory for Providence are contain Max Strus and make 3-pointers. Providence did a very good job of slowing down Strus in their first matchup this season, holding the Blue Demons’ leading scorer to just 8 points, which was his lowest output in Big East play this season until Butler held Strus to 7 points on February 3rd. Strus is most dangerous when he’s making 3’s and getting to the free throw line. If Providence can force him to take 2-point jumpers and defend him tightly at the 3-point line they should be able to stymie him again.

On the other side of the floor DePaul is very vulnerable to 3-point shooting. The Blue Demons are 306th nationally in Opponent’s 3P% and they allow 39.2% of points against from downtown, a figure that is the 9th-highest in the country. The other place DePaul can be hurt is at the free throw line. Providence has been getting to the line at a very good clip this season and they have the best Free Throw Rate in Big East play at 42.5%. If the long-range shots aren’t falling look for the Friars to get the ball inside with both the bigs and Alpha Diallo. Look for big games from Diallo and Isaiah Jackson and a better overall performance from Kyron Cartwright than the relatively pedestrian game he had in the first matchup with DePaul.

Prediction: Providence 80 DePaul 68

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