The Providence Friars are coming off one of their biggest wins in what feels like awhile. PC did beat #11 Creighton in Omaha last year but this win feels different. To go on the road and beat Wisconsin to move to 3-0 on the young season will do that. This Friar team is showing real promise. Now the Friars look to carry over that momentum as they host UNH Thursday night.
Things to Know
- Tip Time: 6:30
- TV: FS2
- Radio: WPRO 99.7 FM / 630 AM
- Opponent: UNH (1-1)
- KenPom: UNH #213, PC wins 75-61 with 90% win probability
- Betting Line: PC -13.5, O/U 135.5
What to Look For
- Avoiding a Wisconsin Hangover- As mentioned above, Monday night in Madison was a huge win for PC. Hosting a team like UNH and with the Legends Classic around the corner it could be the perfect storm for a hangover. The Friars need to get off to a good start and carry that momentum over from the Wisconsin game. UNH has a pretty potent offense with Jayden Martinez and Nick Guadarrama combining for 34.5 ppg 15.5 rpg and 6.5 apg. If I were the Friars I’d set the tone early giving them a hefty dose of Watson. If the Friars can avoid a Wisconsin hangover they will be 4-0.
- Jared Bynum Finding His Offense– Junior point guard Jared Bynum was off with his shot against the Badgers. Not to say Bynum had a bad game per se, his 7 assists and team-high 9 rebounds was not lost on the Crier, but Bynum went 1/10 from the floor and had 5 turnovers. If you haven’t heard a million times PC’s record without Bynum last year was 3-6. His prescience certainly is vital for this Friar team. Look for Bynum to have a bounce back game, which will be good going into the Legends Classic.
- Wing Defense Priority Number 1 – UNH’s two leading scorers, Jayden Martinez and Nick Guaddarama, are 6’7 and 6’5, respectively. They are physical wings, illustrated by them averaging 9 and 6.5 rebounds, respectively. This may be a Justin Minaya type game where they put him on the court to bolster the perimeter defense and provide additional size when rebounding.
- More Shots for Horchler– Noah Horchler battled foul trouble in the Wisconsin game yet was excellent on the defensive end with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 26 minutes. However he only attempted one shot. Look for Cooley to draw up some shots for Horchler, having him compliment Watson in the scoring department will be an added bonus for this team.
- Continue to Feed Nate – UNH doesn’t have much size, and this should be another game for Nate to make his All-American campaign case. Providence really went away from Nate at the end of the Wisconsin game, and it almost cost them. When a team decides to front Nate, we need our staff to draw up creative ways to get him the ball. The end of the shot clock deep contested 3’s is not how Providence is going to win.
- Clean Up the Little Things– The one glaring critique from Providence’s victory over the Badgers was their turnovers and free thrown shooting. PC had 14 giveaways and shot 58% from the line, typically not a recipe for success on the road. Look for PC to clean up these areas.
The Crier’s Prediction
BOC tried to shame me on Twitter for picking PC to lose against the Badgers. Now I’ve noticed people wanting me to pick against the Friars. They want to fade the Crier! Aren’t you aware I almost nailed the Sacred Heart score to a tee?!
Regardless I think this UNH team has a few guys that can play show, they showed that against Marquette, and PC shouldn’t take them lightly. Having said that I don’t think they will. Nate Watson should be able to have another domiNATE performance, PC’s guards should overwhelm the Wildcats. PC will start 4-0 for the first time since 2015.
Providence 81, UNH 63
Given the experience of this Friar squad, you hope that they aren’t reading the press clippings too much and come out ready to play. If they start slow or are generally sloppy, the Friars can absolutely lose this game. This is a classic trap game before the tournament in Newark, and I know Cooley will be emphasizing focusing exclusively at the task at hand.
Too much size against UNH leads to a win for the Friars. Look for Watson and Horchler to have big games.
Providence 80, UNH 69