Here are some themes ahead of the Butler – Providence rematch being played at Providence at 5pm on FS1.
1. Be prepared for Butler to play zone and front Nate. This approach stymied the Friars in the second half of the original match-up. Nate didn’t get touches nearly enough in the second half. With the success Butler had, I anticipate them to implement a similar defensive strategy. The Friars need to be ready for this and draw up offensive sets to get Watson touches. Horchler did a great job against DePaul of lobbing the ball over a post player fronting Nate, which led to an easy bucket. We need to do more of this if Butler continues to do this.
2. Consistency from Reeves & Co. When Reeves is on, like he was against DePaul, he is arguably one of the top offensive threats on the court. Friar fans would love to see this from Reeves on a consistent basis. Is it fair to expect 20+ from Reeves game after game? Absolutely not. If he can string together another strong performance in the form of 12-15 points with solid defense, Friar fans would seemingly be thrilled. I speak on behalf of all Providence supporters in that this team plays at a different level when Reeves is on. A consistent Reeves is a nationally ranked Friar squad and second weekend type team, in my humble opinion.
In the first game against Butler, the other starters besides Duke and Watson scored 9 points total. Compare that with the DePaul game where the starters beyond the dynamic duo put up 38 points. Land somewhere in the middle between 9 and 38, and I think the Friars will be in a good place come game’s end.
3. Aaron Thompson Effect. We’ll see if he suits up against Providence. They haven’t played again since their defeat of Providence, so we’ll likely receive updates closer to the tip. The freshman PG did an admirable job in his place, but Thompson is the floor general that makes this team go.
4. Get to 33% from 3. This isn’t too much to ask for, is it? The last two games they’ve shot 26% and 15% from 3. If Providence can even get to 30-35% from 3, they should likely win this game.