Friars Host Unbeaten Texas Tech in Big East / Big 12 Challenge

The 2021-22 Friars first real test came against against Wisconsin, and the Friars passed that with flying colors. This will be Providence’s first big test in front of a home crowd. PC will play host to undefeated Texas Tech on Wednesday night, and the Red Raiders will certainly be another litmus test into the quality of this Friar squad. Let’s take a deeper look into this one.

What to Know

  • Opponent: Texas Tech (6-0)
  • Time: 8:30 est
  • TV: FS1
  • KenPom: T Tech- 11 , PC- 69
    • Texas Tech W 70-66, 64% Win Prob
  • Game Line- PC +3 O/U 136.5

Crier’s Keys to the Game

  1. Nate Watson vs Texas Tech front court- Nate Watson struggled against Tony Bennett’s pack line defense to the tune of 8 points on 4/11 shooting. Texas Tech doesn’t feature the length or defensive principals of Virginia, but they are a formidable group. It is led by a trio of transfers, with first year head coach Mark Adams following in the footsteps of his predecessor Chris Beard. Beard was notorious for going the transfer route, with resounding success. Bryson Williams is a transfer from UTEP that has had no issues fitting in with the Red Raiders, averaging 14.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Kevin Obanor comes over after his run in the NCAA Tournament with Oral Roberts. Off the bench is a holdover from the Beard led Red Raiders Marcus Santos-Silva, who originally came over from VCU. All of these players are talented in their own right, but lack the size to compete with Watson. The tallest player of the bunch is 6-8. Expect the Friars to establish Nate Watson early and often in this one . The Crier assures you he will score more than 8 points.
  2. No Bynum, Who QB’s the Offense?- When point Jared Bynum left injured against St Peter’s, it didn’t look like an apparent minor injury. Bynum suffered a bad ankle/foot sprain on a drive and dish vs the Peacocks. If you’ve been paying attention the Friars were 3-6 in the 9 games they were without Bynum last season due to a hamstring injury. Bynum is certainly a floor general for the team, but PC may be better equipped for him being out of the lineup this season. Ed Cooley said responsibilities would fall to Al Durham and Allyn Breed. Durham stated he came to PC to get more opportunities with the ball in his hands, but he needs to increase his assist numbers at 3.6 assists/game. More importantly, he cannot have a game where he has 4-6 turnovers, like he has in a few games this year. Allyn Breed stepped up last season when Bynum went down, and he’s certainly capable of doing that again. PC would’ve loved for Bynum to suit up for them Wednesday, but they still have the talent to get a big win. The game will be decided not so much by how effective Durham and Breed can be as co-lead guards, but more so how much they can mitigate negative plays on their end.
  3. Horchler vs Obanor- This is the most intriguing matchup in this game, in my opinion. We discussed it on the latest episode of the Providence Crier Podcast because it’s one that could determine the outcome . Obanor is only averaging 10.3 ppg but is a great pick and pop big that has shot 42% from deep. Where we have seen the biggest improvement in Noah Horchler’s game starting late last year and carrying over into this year would be on the defensive end. Horchler has adjusted to PC’s defensive schemes using his length and athleticism to be a reliable defender on the perimeter. Horchler has also shown pick and pop ability (50% 3pt) for the Friars, and Obanor may not be ready to defend that. It’s definitely the key matchup to watch, and it is time for Horchler to shine in a big out of conference match-up. He is due to start getting some national recognition alongside Watson.
  4. Pace of Play- Texas Tech is off to a fast start this year with a 6-0 start. They have shown an ability to really score on their opponents at 88.3 ppg, good for 6th in the nation. However, their adjusted tempo per KenPom only puts them at 256th in the country. PC comes in at 290th but it will be interesting to see the kind of pace PC will want to play with. We haven’t seen enough of Texas Tech this year, but playing a slower half court pace may frustrate them. We will see.
  5. Rebounding is the Responsibility for all Friars – When Jake Zimmer was on the podcast, he threw out a great stat to us on the Red Raider’s prowess for offensive rebounding. They are number 1 in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage off missed shots. This is going to be a tough game for the Friars, but they cannot allow Texas Tech to get multiple looks on the offensive end. Cooley must reiterate throughout the game that everybody needs to crash the glass and secure the rebound.

The Crier’s Prediction

Texas Tech has a pretty balanced team with a good frontcourt and scorers in Terrance Shannon and Kevin McCullar. They are ranked 11 in KenPom for a reason. However Tech hasn’t really played any one and it will be Mark Adams first time leading the helm in a hostile environment. Think PC will get a big outing out of the big dog and slow down Texas Tech’s offense in front of a late night Friar crowd. PC 76 Texas Tech 68

BOC’s Prediction

The Crier put me on the spot in our latest podcast (can find on Spotify), and I instinctively chose the Red Raiders to win 78 – 74. Providence is a 3 point dog in this one, so my prediction isn’t too far off.

If Providence can minimize turnovers and emphasize getting the ball into the post, they have a very good chance of winning. PC needs a raucous home environment as well.

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