Game Notes & Preview: Providence (16-9, 7-5) vs (3) Villanova (23-2, 10-2) 2/14/18

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI

When: 7:00pm EST

How: FS1 (Gus Johnson & Bill Raftery)/Fox Sports GO (Where Available)/WEEI 103.7 FM and Friars.com (John Rooke and Joe Hassett)/FriarTV

Current Odds: pcbb1917 Odds Central

Tickets: SeatGeek

Game Notes

  • Providence and Villanova will meet for the 101st time ever on Wednesday. Villanova leads the all-time series, 62-38, which includes a win earlier this season in Philadelphia on January 23rd. The Friars are 24-20 against the Wildcats in Providence.
  • Villanova is 23-2 this season, including a 10-2 Big East record. After losing to Butler on December 30th the Wildcats had a clean January before a loss at home to St. John’s snapped a 9-game winning streak on February 7th. Villanova is coached by Jay Wright who is in 17th season at the helm of the program. Wright is the longest tenured head coach in the Big East. The Wildcats are led in scoring by junior Jalen Brunson who is averaging 20.1 points/game. Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman leads the team in rebounding at 7.7 rebounds/game.
  • The Friars dropped a surprisingly bad game, 80-63, last time out at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against DePaul.
  • 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 1,270 points. He is 12 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 144 assists through 24 games. He has 594 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 vs (3) Villanova 2/14/18

Game Preview

Providence and Villanova will meet for the 101st time ever on Wednesday night at the Dunk. The game will tip at 7:00pm and be televised on FS1. Providence is 0-5 in their last 5 meetings against Villanova, including a 20-point blowout loss in Philadelphia in January. Both teams are banged up with Jalen Lindsey still not cleared for contact as of Tuesday due to a concussion suffered against Georgetown on February 6th and Eric Paschall still questionable recovering from his own concussion suffered on February 4th. Villanova will also be without Phil Booth who broke his hand during the last meeting between these two teams.

Despite injured players the game must go on and the Friars will look for their first victory at home against a top-3 opponent since beating #1 Pittsburgh on February 24, 2009. The last top-3 ranked opponent that has played at the Dunk were these Wildcats on February 6, 2016. Providence was ranked 11th for that contest and lost, 72-60.

The probable starters are:

Providence
Villanova

The keys to victory for Providence are to get hot from beyond the arc and force Jalen Brunson to do it all himself. Upsetting a team ranked 3rd in the nation will likely have to come with a little luck and the Friars could certainly use any help they can get. Having a good shooting night would be critical and much of that likely stems from the availability of their best 3-point shooter in Jalen Lindsey. When St. John’s knocked off Villanova last week one interesting stat was the low assist rate for Villanova. Combine that with Brunson’s 28 points, by far the most by any Wildcat, and that could be a way to slow down Villanova’s prolific offense. If Brunson is forced to score more off the dribble and take on a heavier shooting load it could mean Villanova gets less good shots against Providence’s defense.

Prediction: Providence 75 Villanova 85

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