Providence Wraps up Regular Season against Villanova – Prep for Big East Tournament Ahead

Providence, sitting at .500 for the season at 12-12, looks to end their tumultuous season on a high note against #10 ranked Villanova. The game is being held at Alumni Hall in Providence at 2:30 on Fox. Providence is looking to even the score against the Wildcats, as Villanova beat Providence 71-56 in Philadelphia.

The dynamics of this game are drastically different than the first game, with Jared Bynum healthy for the Friars and Collin Gillespie (torn MCL) likely done for the year for Villanova. Bynum was unavailable for the first game with an injury.

In case you missed it, we have provided the articles from the first match-up against Villanova.

Providence – Villanova Game 1 Preview: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/01/22/keys-to-victory-against-3-nova-friar-game-preview/#more-3070

Providence – Villanova Game 1 Recap: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2021/01/24/second-half-slump-costly-turnovers-hurt-friars-in-loss-to-3-villanova/#more-3082

Keys to Victory for the Providence Friars

Take Advantage of Gillespie’s Absence with Full Court Pressure – It’s a shame that the face of the Big East tore his MCL and will be out for likely the remainder of the year. Gillespie is the leader of the Wildcats in all facets: on the court and emotionally. Besides them losing their leader, they also lose the player on their team that can effectively run their offense and handle the point guard duties.

Due to this, I’d like to see Providence pressure the Gillespie-less Wildcats for the duration of the game. This approach is almost exactly the opposite of the one we recommended against St. Johns, as I’d like to see the Friars force the Wildcats to pick up the pace. Full court pressure can potentially exploit the lack of ball handlers on Villanova.

I think turnovers will be the story of this game and if Providence can force Villanova into a few costly turnovers due to inexperience at the point guard spot, they have a good chance of pulling the upset.

Watson Needs to Get Upper Hand on JRE : Jeremiah Robinson-Earl did a fantastic job against Nate Watson in the first match-up, limiting Nate to 12 points. Nate needs to pick and choose his spots and not force errant shots. Watson has great footwork in the post and needs to be patient when hunting shots.

On the defensive end, Watson cannot let JRE expose him. JRE had a tough game in the first match-up, but he has the ability to absolutely take over a game. This will be a great match-up to watch with two of the best big men in the Big East.

Duke Cannot Repeat Results from First Game: With Gillespie out, David Duke Jr. can use this opportunity to string together an All Big-East caliber type performance. In the first game, Duke went 4-16 and had 6 turnovers. With Bynum healthy, Duke can play his preferred position of off-ball guard. Getting downhill is imperative for David in this game.

Questions Heading into the Game:

  1. Can Providence defend the 3 point line well?
  2. How does the Villanova offense look without Gillespie?
  3. Can Horchler bounce back after a tough performance against St. Johns?

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