Providence & Alabama square off in the 5th place game of the Asheville Invitational, with both teams possessing a 2-1 record, with their one loss coming in the opening round of the tournament.
Keys to Victory for Friars
Limit Easy Looks from Deep– In 3 games, Alabama has taken 31, 29, and 40 three point shots. Contrast that with Providence who has taken on average 16 three pointers in their first three games.
Clearly, the three point shot is the preferred shot for Alabama on offense. Interestingly enough, their field goal percentage beyond the arc has been subpar. In 3 games, they’ve averaged 23%, 24%, and 38%. With those statistics provided, it’s imperative that Providence prevents easy looks from 3. Providence must run them off the 3 point line and make Alabama convert shots inside the arc. Prove to the Friars that they can do that with some consistency.
If they do shoot 3’s, ensure it is contested. Giving them easy looks from beyond the arc will make winning this game a much more difficult task.
Avoid a Track Meet – Nate Oats wants to run the entire game. Given their propensity for 3 point shots, he wants to run on every possession to try to get his team open looks in transition. A fair comparison to this Alabama squad may be the Mike Anderson led Johnnies. Providence must slow the game down and pick and choose their spots to pick up the pace. If they can dictate the flow of the game, I like the chances of the Friars.
In three games, Alabama has averaged 77 points a game. In their loss against Stanford, they only scored 64 points. If Providence wants to win, they have to slow the game down and keep this game in the high 60s/low 70s.
Feed Big Nate – Nate Watson has started this season on a tear, averaging 19 points/game. What is more impressive to me than the points averaged is the efficiency in which Watson is getting those points. He is averaging almost 58% from the field, showing he isn’t simply getting these stats by throwing up a ton of shots.
To feed off themes 1 and 2, running the offense through Nate in the half court set will lead to slowing the game down and limiting the transition threes.
Players to Watch
Jaden Shackelford and John Petty Jr. – If the Friars lose this game, it will be because one (or both) of these two went off from deep. They are the main three point threats for this Bama squad. In yesterday’s game against UNLV, Petty Jr. went 6-10 from deep. The scouting report must start with limiting looks from deep for these two.
Jahvon Quinerly – Ah, a blast from the past. The former Villanova PG is now leading the charge for Alabama and has had a lot of early season success. Quinerly is leading Bama in points per game at 17/game. David Duke Jr. must stay out of foul trouble and make life miserable for Quinerly. Avoid easy buckets on the fast break and make Quinerly orchestrate looks for his team in a half court set.
Final Score Prediction
Friars defense is the key again in this game, frustrating the Bama perimeter players into taking many contested three point shots. Friars win 72-69.
Given the start of the tournament, leaving Asheville with 2 wins against Alabama and Davidson would be considered a successful trip and keeps the Friars on track to get an NCAA tournament berth.