Providence, 5 days removed from the slugfest that was Villanova-PC, is looking to get back on track with a road match-up against Butler. The game is being played at 1PM EST on FS1. Butler has an extremely quick turnaround, as they were ambushed by the scorching hot St. John’s Red Storm in Queens Friday night 91-57. In Game 1 of this match-up, Providence was able to fend off a Bulldog team at home and win 69-62.
We break down the rematch of the Bulldogs and Friars and detail the keys to victory below.
In case you missed it, below are articles containing the preview and recap from the first match-up:
Keys to the Game
- Health of the Butler Bulldogs – Against St. Johns Butler was without Bo Hodges. This is important to note because Hodges had 17 and 8 against the Friars in the first match one. If Hodges cannot go, it significantly alters the make-up of the Bulldogs on the court.
- The Streakiness of Reeves has to be a Thing of the Past – In the recap article we wrote about the Villanova loss (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/02/16/villanova-outshoots-providence-to-win-89-84-game-recap/), one of the key takeaways from the game was the emergence of A.J. Reeves. Historically, Reeves would follow up that type of outing with a clunker of a game, but Cooley must generate quality looks for him from the get-go. Ideally, we see Reeves slashing to the rim instead of just settling for three pointers. A second consistent game for him will do wonders for this Friar squad.
- Will There be a Hangover? My head and heart tell me no. This team knows one game doesn’t define a season, and I truly believe they come out playing as if they just won the game against Villanova. We will be able to tell what type of team this is right from the onset. The Big East is still theirs for the taking, and I hope they show up on the court with that “kill or be killed” mentality.
- Durham: Attack First, Shoot Later: Maybe I am just an eternal optimist, but I think a reversion to the mean from deep is coming for The Closer. He is presently shooting 21.3% from 3, which is 17% points below his average last year! With all that said, I think it would be wise of Cooley and staff to tell him to attack downhill in this one early and often. It may raise the confidence of Durham to see one go in the hoop early. As great as he has been in the closing minutes, we cannot expect him to continue to put a cape on in the second half. If one or two buckets near the rim drop in the first half, we’ll see Durham bang a few three’s in the second half (that will be my bold prediction of the game).
- Frontcourt Touches A Necessity – As we saw in the first match-up, nobody can match Watson and Croswell in the front court. Watson should be fed the ball early in this game to set the physical tone of this game. Let Ed Croswell come in in relief and continue to beat up this Butler frontcourt. It takes the pressure off the perimeter players who were shockingly cold from deep against Villanova.
BOC: After watching the Bulldogs get throttled against St. John’s, I believe Providence should win by 15+. With that said, they don’t call it Hinkle Magic for nothing. The Bulldogs play better at home, no doubt, but this Friar team is just significantly better than them. I expect Hodges to play and believe this one will be close for most of the game. The Friars pull away late and win 71-63.
Crier: The Crier isn’t thrilled that Butler got their doors blown off by 34 points against St. John’s. The dogs on a quick turn around will probably give a much better effort in this one. For Providence stick to the recipe that has worked all season. Build an early lead, defend well and execute down the stretch. Friars escape Hinkle 72-68.