Providence – Xavier Preview

Providence (7-4) looks to bounce back from their buzzer beater loss against Creighton. They play at 11AM EST on Fox against the 9-2 Musketeers. These are the type of games that Providence needs to win should they want to secure a bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Keys to The Game for Providence

Limit Freemantle’s Production: The Sophomore from New Jersey has come on strong this year, averaging 16 and 8 this year on 54% from the field. Watson must play tough defense and work on getting him in foul trouble when they are matched. The battle in the frontcourt will be one to watch.

Match Defensive Intensity of Xavier: Everybody who watches the Big East has heard about Xavier’s notorious “Kill”. It is when Xavier’s team prevents a field goal three stops in a row. Beyond the fact that it is a good culture setter, it also illustrates Xavier’s defensive prowess. Providence, also known for their toughness and grit, will need to limit easy looks and generally be ready for a fistfight of a game. This game won’t be an aesthetically pleasing one, and I think both teams prefer it that way.

Force Nate Johnson to Score in Other Ways: Johnson is shooting an outrageous 49% from 3 while scoring 11 per game. Providence should learn from the game against Ballock and not give Johnson an inch of space. Ballock scored 14, and 12 of those 14 were from 3 pointers made. That can’t happen, especially when the scouting report coming in is that that player’s main area of production is from 3. If you prevent the 3 and that allows Johnson to beat you off the dribble for a 2 in the lane, so be it. You can’t give a hot shooter open looks from 3.

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