The Providence Friars host—reigning National Champs— Villanova Wildcats Saturday afternoon at the Dunk. PC (10-4, 0-1) opened up Big East play with a frustrating home loss at the hands of the Crieghton Blue Jays, while Nova (10-4, 1-0) barely got past DePaul, 73-68, in their opener. The last time these two met it was a hotly contested affair in the 2018 Big East Championship, with the Wildcats taking home the crown. With this game expected to be an exciting one, let’s get to my thoughts on the game.
Trouble Getting Their V’s Up?
It was only a matter of time until Villanova would have a “down” year and this year seems to be it. It’s really hard to blame Jay Wright due to the amount of talent he has had to replace in Philadelphia. If you thought them losing 4 players to the NBA off last years team is tough, just look at the total of what Wright had to replace in the past 3 seasons. Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Daniel Ochefu, and Ryan Arcidiacono. Which reminds me do you know everytime I drive home to Boston’s Historic North End I have to drive past an apartment with an Arc fat head in the window? Are you fucking serious? If the guy hasn’t haunted me enough! Regardless, those are 8 guys who not only brought talent, creating the offensive machine that was Villanova but also brought great leadership that fueled Nova’s winning culture. It is not to say this Nova team lacks talent, they returned Phil Booth, Conor Gillespie, and Eric Paschall and added a great freshman class led by Jahvon Quinerly, but they don’t seem like the Villanova you recognize. The ball movement is far from crisp and even when they do create good looks they are shooting a subpar 35% from deep. This may be the worst Villanova basketball team since….
Which Friar Team are We Going to See?
I fell into the trap of thinking that these Friars were onto something after a big road victory, and apparently so did the team. For the second time, this season PC follows up a gutsy road victory with an absolute dud home loss. PC showed a ton of heart in a comeback OT victory at BC and then the following game showed none in a 20-point choke job against UMass. Last Friday the Friars went into Austin and asserted their will against the Longhorns then followed that up of playing an uninspiring brand of basketball against Creighton. What frustrated me most about the Creighton game was that we kept helping on the dribble drive in let Creighton players wide open for corner threes. What is the gameplan that would suggest that we need to help out on dribble drives against fucking Creighton? Wake up and smell the Dunkin guys! The Blue Jays were only going to get their offense from threes and we served it to them on a platter. So what are we going to get? The team that will play a gutsy brand of basketball and takes care of their advantage in the post or the one that won’t stick to shooters and get down on themselves when things don’t go well? That will go a long way to determining who wins this one.
Friars 74 Villanova 70