Providence, coming off a tough road loss to Creighton, is back on the road Wednesday as they play 14-5 and #20 Marquette. Tough sledding for the Friars, eh? Marquette is coming off a loss as well to Xavier, so both programs are looking to avoid starting a losing streak. The game tips at 9PM EST .
If Providence can somehow get a win here and split the road trip at 1-1, they will have gotten through arguably the toughest part of their schedule at 3-1 (home UConn, home St. Johns, road Creighton, road Marquette). With both Providence and Marquette standing at 2 and 3, respectively, in the Big East, this is a massive match-up for both programs. Marquette is looking to even the record with Providence after the classic 103-98 double overtime game at the AMP. Providence, with a win, stays on pace with #8 Xavier to try and repeat as Big East Champions.
We’ll discuss below what the Friars will look to do heading into this game to secure a road victory over the Golden Eagles.
Revisiting Past Marquette Articles – Preview of Game 1 and Recap of Game 1
Updated Player Stats – Marquette
Kam Jones – 15.8 Points/Game, 35.4% from 3
OMax Prosper – 14.4 Points/Game, 4.9 Rebounds
Oso Ighodaro – 12.0 Points/Game, 6.4 Rebounds, 1.7 Blocks
David Joplin – 10.2 Points/Game, Super Sub off Bench
Tyler Kolek – 9.8 Points/Game, Big East Leading 7.9 Assists/Game, 4.0 Rebounds, 1.7 Steals, 3.36 in A/TO which is Second in Big East behind World Beater Chris Arcidiacano
Updated Team Stats – Marquette
82.7 Points/Game (2nd in Big East) – Providence 5th at 79.2
32.8 Rebounds/Game (9th in Big East) – Providence 1st at 40.2
316 Free Throws Attempted (Tie for 7th) – Providence 1st at 452
474 Three Point Attempts (3rd in Big East) – Providence Last at 322
18.5 Assists/Game (2nd in Big East) – Providence 6th at 14.2
1.68 Assist/turnover Ratio (1st in Big East) – Providence 7th at 1.08
Keys to Victory
Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken – How did Providence win in the first match-up? Getting to the line and crashing the glass.
Marquette fans were quick to complain about a home whistle, but the stats above don’t tell a lie. Marquette is content often times playing from the perimeter, while PC’s default strategy is playing the game at the rim and attacking the lane. PC lives at the foul line, and it is tough to get to the line when you are playing the game on the wing.
Don’t Fix What Is Not Broken, Part 2 – I think Creighton would have won regardless, but Providence shot more threes than they average on the season. I’d like to see the Friars pick and choose their spots from deep, but their offensive strategy should be to get Marquette in foul trouble and force them to defend off the dribble. Especially with Bynum out, Providence doesn’t have enough weapons from deep to try and go toe to toe with Marquette.
Own the Glass – Providence has a clear rebounding advantage on Marquette. Marquette isn’t very big, and Providence’s tenacity on the glass can be a factor in securing the win. Look for Carter, Hopkins, and Croswell to have nice games in the rebounding category.
Providence outrebounded Marquette by 15 total rebounds in the first match-up. I don’t see that as an anomaly and expect PC to have similar advantage in this re-match.
Pick Your Poison on Kolek – In my opinion, Tyler Kolek is the best point guard in the Big East. Besides what the stats say, he has an incredible feel for game flow and putting his teammates in optimal positions to score. It is no surprise to me that Ighodaro and Prosper have elevated their game this year. It’s in large part due to Kolek.
With all that said, PC needs to live with Kolek “getting his”. Kolek thrives on offense when help D arrives. In my opinion, you force Kolek to beat you scoring. Breed and Pierre will have to fight through screens and do their best to limit Kolek. In the two games Cooley deployed that strategy, he is 2-0. When Cooley sends a ton of help defense Kolek’s way, Marquette is 1-0.
Providence players need to play sound defense and stay true to their man. Too many times against Creighton, Providence players sagged off their man to reach in on a defender driving only to have their man drain a 3. Trust your teammate to play sound D and force Marquette to make a contested shot. Don’t give up open looks from deep because that is just a focus issue.
Slow Game Down – Marquette wants this game to go up and down the court. Providence needs to slow this game to a crawl and utilize the offensive advantages they have with Carter and Hopkins. They are each exceptional at drawing fouls. Providence is banged up and short handed. A run and gun game doesn’t suit this iteration of Providence well.
Status of Bynum – A season can’t be won in one game. It can be lost, however. Despite this game’s importance, Bynum should not play unless he is 100%. Cooley needs to think long term with Bynum and this squad. Two losses won’t matter in the grand scheme of things if Bynum is fully healthy in February and March.
All Hands on Deck, Reinforcements Needed – I do believe Bynum will sit this one. If he does, the bench needs to be relied on to give quality minutes, not turn the ball over, play sound defense, and provide an offensive spark. That’s not asking for a whole lot.
In 30 minutes of combined play against Creighton, the bench of Providence scored 4 points. That’s unacceptable and makes Cooley coach with one hand behind his back. One of Pierre and Floyd Jr. need to step up in the backcourt, and the same goes for Moore and Castro. The bench has been really disappointing all season, and I hope they can turn it around.
BOC: Marquette wins this one 80 – 75. I feel good about this game, but I just thinking winning on the road in the Big East is a total bear. I also think Marquette’s offense is humming along in a way that makes it really difficult to slow down. Big picture, going 2-2 against Connecticut, St. John’s, Creighton, and Marquette is something the majority of the fanbase would have signed up for prior to this 4 game stretch. Even with a loss against Marquette, an NCAA berth and run at a Big East championship isn’t out of reach.
Crier: I got a real chuckle on the pod when BOC accidentally predicted the score of PC Marquette to be the same as KenPom’s algo. While there are things that concern me about this game I think Providence gives another spirited effort in this one, like they did in Omaha. The Golden Eagles have several scoring options but will Tyler Kolek be one of them this game? If not then Ighodaro and Prosper need to step up and provide Kam Jones some supplemental scoring. I think Kolek looks for his shot less in this one but he doesn’t have the benefit of running P&R with Justin Lewis like he did last year in Fiserv. Gimme the Friars 80-75, take that Ken.