Providence – Richmond Preview: Friars Look to Advance to Sweet 16

Providence took down the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Thursday (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/03/17/survive-and-advance-providence-friars-beat-south-dakota-state-jackrabbits-66-57-in-1st-round-of-ncaa-tournament/) and are facing off Saturday at 6:10 PM EST against the A-10’s Richmond Spiders. The Spiders upset the Iowa Hawkeyes in the first round, matching the 12 seed Spiders against the 4 seed Friars.

We give an overview of this Richmond squad and what the Friars need to do to emerge victorious and head to Chicago for the Sweet 16.

Richmond Team Overview

24-12, Winners of the A-10 Conference Tournament over Davidson

Tyler Burton – 6’7 Junior from Massachusetts (played at AAU Mass Rivals) who averages 16 points and 8 rebounds

Grant Bolden – 6’10 senior averaging 14 & 6

Jacob Gilyard – 5’9 Senior averaging 14 & 5 assists

Nathan Cayo – 6’7 Senior averaging 9 points (scored 15 against Iowa)

Themes for a Friar Victory

  1. Stay engaged defensively – Richmond runs a Princeton style offense, which consists of a lot of perimeter passing and backdoor cuts. Providence needs to not ball watch and stay glued to their man. Providence has the athleticism advantage, but that can be eliminated if Providence is playing lackadaisical on the defensive end. It’s imperative when playing a Princeton offense to stay locked in on your man and essentially trust that your teammates will do their job on their man. If you sag off to help, you’ll get toasted on a pass via a cut.
  2. Looking in the mirror – Providence and Richmond have almost identical stats. It is scary. Take a look at the below stats for each team:

Richmond: 33.7% from 3, 44.4% from the floor, 71.7 points/game, 68.1 points allowed defensively

Providence: 34.3% from 3, 43.7% from the floor, 71.8 points/game, 66.7 points allowed defensively

Richmond also has a trio of scorers averaging double figures, as does Providence. The similarities are shocking.

The reason I bring this up is because their stats are nearly identical; however, Providence did this in the Big East while Richmond did this in the A-10. This isn’t meant to besmirch the A-10, but it is no Big East. If Providence plays their game offensively and defensively, they should settle in and secure a win.

3. Contain Tyler Burton – Burton is going to get the Minaya treatment, as we’ve come to expect with the opposing team’s best offensive player. Burton is a much more physical player than Scheierman and is also a weapon from deep (37%), but Minaya should be a perfect match-up for him. I’d anticipate Minaya to limit Burton’s offensive output and force him into some tough shots due to frustration.

4. Look for Breed to see more minutes against Gilyard – Breed is more of a defensive presence than offensive threat at this juncture in his career, and it may be beneficial to see him try and match Gilyard in this game. I think Gilyard is too quick for Durham, and it would benefit Bynum to operate off Gilyard on the defensive end so he can be effective offensively. Gilyard did whatever he wanted against Iowa to the tune of 24, 6, and 6. Breed has been coming on of late, and I would anticipate he sees 15-20 minutes in this game trying to slow down Gilyard.

5. Dominate the Glass….again – Providence significantly outrebounded South Dakota State, and I anticipate the same against Richmond. Providence has a starting line-up that runs 6’2, 6’6, 6’7, 6’9, 6’10. Their length and persistence on the boards are bothersome, and it will wear on a team like Richmond.

6. Be true to Friar basketball – Stylistically, you couldn’t find a more opposite team from Iowa than Providence, and I think Richmond was able to secure the upset because Iowa was too passive. They settled for too many three’s instead of letting Murray work in the post. I’d love to see Providence play downhill and attack the rim. Force the Spiders to play defense rather than settling for 3’s, and I think the Friars have a great chance of winning.

Predictions

BOC: I think Providence secures a win in a low scoring affair 69 – 63. Nobody will mistake this game for a beauty of a game, but that suits Providence well. This will be a scrappy, physical affair, and I think Providence does just enough to win and advance to the Sweet 16.

Crier: It was clear that Friar fans were pulling for a Richmond upset over Iowa and for good reason. Had PC played Iowa I think their physicality would’ve bothered the Hawkeyes but did not want to go up against an offense talent like Keegan Murray. Richmond has been playing their best ball of the season at the right time. The Gilyard/Bynum matchup will be critical in determining a victory. Gilyard is a pick pocket (3 spg) so Bynum needs to take care of the ball but Jared should be able to take advantage of a facing a guard of similar stature. As BOC pointed out the Minaya/Burton will also be one to watch. Think ultimately PC’s physicality wins out and the Friars finally make it to the second weekend under Cooley. PC 74 Richmond 66

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