#15 ranked Providence travels to Queens to take on St. John’s at 9PM on FS1. The game is being held at Carnesseca Arena and is the rematch of the first game between these two where Providence won at home 83-73. The Friars have a quick turnaround here after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles Sunday. We break down the keys to the game, as well as provide our game predictions. For a refresher, take a look at our Game 1 preview and recap.
Keys to the Game
- Avoid coming out sluggish – It is easy to say that these kids are college students and have endless amounts of energy. The reality is that Providence just finished an absolute battle with Marquette merely 48 hours ago and exerted a lot of effort to secure a win. With the late start (who schedules a 9pm game?) and potential let down of playing a non-ranked team, I fear that Providence may be lifeless in this game. Somebody needs to bring the “juice” for this team because Providence can no longer sneak up on their foes anymore with the #15 ranking to their name. The Friars have a target on their back and must head into every game with the mindset that teams are now going to give them their best shot to upset a ranked foe.
- Contain Champagnie – Minaya did a fantastic job of Champagnie in the first game, holding him to 11 points on 5-19 shooting. Champagnie is too good of a player to have that repeat performance. Being at home should lead to improved shooting numbers, and I fully expect Champagnie to put up 20 in this game. Even so, it is imperative that Minaya does what he has done all year and make every basket difficult for the St. John’s star. A 20 point effort on even 8-20 shooting would be a win for the burgeoning Friar star.
- Limit the Turnovers – Providence had 18 turnovers in Game 1 against St. John’s. The Achilles heel to Providence, exemplified by the first game against St. John’s and first half against Marquette, may be carelessness with possessing the ball. Bynum had 4 turnovers in the first match-up, with Breed and Durham each having 2. Providence needs to ideally look to have 10 turnovers or less if they want to win comfortably. This Johnnies team is a nuisance defensively, but that doesn’t give the Friars any excuse to have a litany of careless plays.
- Own the Paint & Own the Glass – Nate Watson should build off his strong showing against Marquette and feast in this one. St. John’s doesn’t have a big man who can guard Nate. In the first match-up, Soriano only played 15 minutes because he was hampered with foul trouble all game. Providence has the size advantage and should look to own the glass on offensive and defensive rebounds. Their size and physicality should overwhelm this St. John’s team.
- Reeves and Horchler Time? – Given the inability to stop Watson in Game 1, it wouldn’t shock me if Coach Mike Andersen decided to double Big Nate the moment he gets a touch. If that is the case, our wing players need to be ready to make them pay for sagging off them by burying the deep ball. If the looks are there, Reeves, Horchler, and Minaya need to punish St. John’s.
BOC: I don’t have the nervousness about this one that The Crier has. I get that it is a road game after a daunting week last week, but I have faith in the Friars. The only route I see in St. John’s defeating Providence is if the Friars have 15+ turnovers and Champagnie has one of those nights where everything is dropping to the tune of scoring 25+. I envision a 77-71 Friar victory to get them to 19-2.
Crier: Listen Friars it’s not you it’s me. There has really been nothing this season that I could point to and tell you they won’t win this game at St. John’s. However this game feels like an absolute trap. The fishy betting line, coming off an emotional rollercoaster that was last week and SJ has some serious talent in Champagnie and Alexander. Minaya has been an absolute stud on defense this year but can he really hold one of the conference’s best scorers to 11 points again? The Johnnies interior defense is terrible but look for Mike Anderson to make adjustments. Friars come to play but ultimately drop this one 77-71.