Providence, fresh off a nail-biter against Butler, is playing the Creighton Bluejays in the first of two semifinal games at Madison Square Garden. Providence, at the time of this writing, is only favored by 3 points. Given how the Friars have performed all season, I expect another game that will be decided in the final seconds.
We preview the game below and how the Friars can emerge victorious in this game.
Game 1 Preview: https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/02/25/4622/#more-4622
Keys to Victory
- Ball Pressure. Ball Pressure. Ball Pressure. – Creighton is without their stud freshman point guard for the remainder of the season. With him being out, along with Alex O’Conell being a bit banged up after an awkward landing yesterday against Marquette, I would full court press the Bluejays the entire game. Creighton only had 51 points in the first match-up with the Friars, and I don’t expect Creighton to score more than 65 in this one.
- Don’t Force the 3 Ball – Providence almost lost to Butler because it was ice cold from deep. With Watson playing amazing basketball right now, I’d lean on the frontcourt and post touches in this one. I don’t expect Reeves and Horchler to have another bad game from deep, but I wouldn’t be as reliant on the deep ball as they were against Butler. That isn’t a recipe for success.
- Bynum Attacking – Creighton doesn’t have the guard to contain Jared Bynum, and I’d expect him to thrive tonight off driving to the hoop. This will hopefully kickstart an offense that was far too stagnant yesterday against Butler.
- Get Kalkbrenner in Foul Trouble – Watson is going to take this match-up personally against the existing Defensive Player of the Year. If Watson can get Kalk in early foul trouble, it changes the entire dynamics of the game for Creighton.
- Keep Minaya on Hawkins – Hawkins feasted against Marquette, scoring 18 on 7-12 from the floor and 4-7 from deep. Minaya needs to be assigned to Hawkins and prevent him from getting quality looks from 3. This team will go as far as Hawkins carries them offensively.
BOC: Providence wins comfortably 77 – 65. I think they got their “bad” game out of the way against Butler and have their sights set on securing the regular season and tournament championship.
Crier: I think the Friars matchup better against Creighton than they do Marquette but the Jays have looked strong since the last meeting between these two. I expect better games from Horchler, Reeves and Durham tonight. Friars advance to the title game 72-62.