Providence, the 6 seed of the Big East Tournament, takes on 11 seed DePaul at 9pm on Wednesday evening. The winner takes on 3 seed UCONN in the quarterfinals Thursday at 9PM.
Providence is 2-0 this year against DePaul, beating them 57-47 in the rematch and 95-90 in the original match-up (in overtime).
Keys to the Game
Don’t Self Implode – This sounds easy enough, but Providence is simply a better squad than the DePaul Blue Demons. If Providence doesn’t turn the ball over 15+ times, they should win relatively comfortably. Having Bynum healthy will hopefully lead to a controlled offense without too many live-ball turnovers.
Duke Continues Good Streak of Games Against DePaul – In both games against DePaul, David Duke Jr. has led the Friars in scoring. Duke went off for 24, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in the first game and 17, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists. It is clear he is comfortable playing the Blue Demons, and I hope this continues heading into the (fingers crossed) first of 4 games in MSG.
Build an Early Lead…and Maintain It! – It is an incredibly daunting task to play 2 games in 2 days, let alone 4 games in 4 days. If Providence is going to have a shot against UCONN, it needs to ensure that this game doesn’t get too tight and potentially goes into overtime.
Providence needs to be refreshed and energized should they face off against the Huskies. Too many times this year, Providence has built a sizable lead only to allow the opponent to claw back into the game. In an ideal world, Providence wins by 15 and the starters don’t have to play more than 25 minutes.
Full disclosure: I highly doubt this happens, but it would be great to see.
Stay Healthy – This is a bit of luck more than anything, but this team isn’t deep enough to make a Big East run if any of the players get dinged up.
4 Players in Double Digits Scoring – I think you can assume Duke and Watson will score in double digits. It would be great to see Horchler continue his hot streak of late, with Reeves, Bynum, or Breed being the 4th option to get double digits. UCONN is too tough of a team defensively to simply rely on Duke and Watson to carry them. If Providence can have 4 guys pour in points against DePaul, it will lead to more confidence from those outside of the dynamic duo.