Providence lost on a buzzer beater to Creighton in their first match-up 67-65. In case you missed the write-ups from the first game, see link below:
Heading into the rematch (7pm EST on FS1), the Providence Friars desperately need a win. Getting a road win against a nationally ranked squad will certainly get the team back on track and in the discussion for the NCAA tournament.
Here is what to watch and what the Friars need to do to secure a victory and get back on track to avoid a 4 game losing streak.
Jump Out to Early Lead: This game is being played at Creighton. If there is any chance at an upset, the Friars need to get an early lead and play from ahead. The Creighton offense is too potent for the Friars to try and come from behind on the road.
Limit 3 Point Attempts from Ballock: Although Ballock is unanimously known as one of the best three point shooters in the Big East, Providence still allowed him to attempt nine 3-point attempts in the first match-up. He made 4 of them. To limit Ballock’s production, make him beat you off the dribble. If he beats Providence in the lane with 2-point jumpers and floaters, so be it.
Limit 3 Point Attempts, Part 2: Essentially, Providence needs to do everything in its best efforts to avoid as many 3 point attempts for Creighton as humanly possible. When studying the Creighton Bluejays, I found the following three stats very interesting:
- They have the highest 3 point field goal percentage in the Big East at 38%.
- They are tied for most three pointers attempted (with Villanova) in the Big East at 28.
- They have attempted the most 3’s in the Big East at 358 attempts. The next closest is St. Johns at 299, even though St. Johns has played two more games than Creighton.
Zegarowski went 6-11 from 3 in the first game, and Denzel Mahoney missed all 7 attempts. That is an extreme outlier for Mahoney, who is averaging 38% from 3 in the Big East.
A good coach scouts the opposition and focuses on taking away the thing that the opposing team does best. This is clearly the three point shot for Creighton. Force Creighton to beat you in a different manner. Cooley should be hammering this point home to his team on defense. If they can limit the three point attempts to 15 – 18 attempts, the Friars should be in a good place at game’s end.
A Healthy Bynum Makes A Difference: Bynum was injured in the initial game against Creighton and has missed the last two games. It is no coincidence that Providence has lost three games (inclusive of Creighton) since Bynum got injured. He is a steadying hand as a point guard and helps lighten the load for Duke Jr. when it comes to ballhandling duties. Hopefully, Bynum is healthy enough to play.
Bounceback Games from Duke & Watson: Both stars scored only 13 points a piece in the first match-up. Look for Cooley to slow the offense down and get the ball in the post repeatedly to Watson. He needs to get Bishop and Kalkbrenner in foul trouble. Both of those players don’t have the strength and skill to effectively guard Watson down low, and I hope Providence exploits this match-up.
For Duke, you don’t see him go 5-19 from the field very often, which he did in the first game. This is just a prognostication that he reverts back to what he has been doing all season. Expect a big game against Creighton.