Providence, coming off a brutal 2 game road trip, is looking to get back in the winning column after two straight losses. In comes DePaul, a suddenly hot team after knocking off the Big East leader Xavier at home. Providence had its way with DePaul on 1/1 when they beat them 74-59 in Chicago. While the Friars should be heavily favored in this (early lines showing -13…wow), one cannot overlook any Big East teams, especially when the Friars are a bit dinged up.
Below, we preview the game and what Providence needs to do to continue to be within arm’s reach of the top of the Big East leaderboard.
DePaul Game 1 Articles
Bynum Return?– If you count the UConn game, where Bynum only registered 9 minutes due to injury, the Friars are 2-2 without their lead guard. Bynum has missed the last 3 games due to the injury suffered early against Connecticut. His absence was felt the biggest Wednesday night at Marquette. The offense never seemed to get in sync, and they had 13 turnovers without the calming presence of Bynum, who has done a great job taking care of the ball and getting teammates involved. At the end of the day, we want Bynum healthy in February and March but the Friars could sure use him to return against DePaul. He had arguably his best game of the season in the first matchup with the Demons.
Get Out to Another Fast Start- The last two games the Friars put themselves in a hole by allowing the opposition to build a good lead in the first half. DePaul knows what happens when you don’t get out to a good start. In the first game against the Demons the Friars raced out to a 10-2 lead before finishing the half up 16. They essentially just cruised to victory after that. With a good crowd and the need to stop a 2-game skid look for the Friars to come out guns blazing.
Slowing Down David Nelson– At the top we mentioned that DePaul is suddenly a hot team. The Demons are winners of 2 out of their last 3 games. DePaul was able to beat Villanova and #8 Xavier with a narrow loss to Seton Hall sandwiched in between. Part of DePaul’s hot stretch is the play of David Nelson, who broke out against the Friars in the first matchup where he had 17 points. In Nelson’s last 5 games, he’s averaging 16 ppg coming off the bench. This is an advantage that the Demons have over the Friars and PC should look to try and slow him down, while making Johnson & Gibson try and beat you.
Floyd Jr. Playing Time – A lot of folks have been clamoring for Floyd Jr. to get more minutes. I get it. He plays strong defense and is a big guard to rebound. With that said, if Bynum returns, I’m not sure how much time will be allocated to Floyd Jr.
Locke is the starting two guard. Besides the clunker last game against Marquette, he has been coming into his own of late. You cannot dismiss the good of Locke and simply remember the bad. If Locke struggles offensively and chucks up ill-advised shots, then we can have that discussion. Until then, you ride with Locke.
Rebounding & Making a Statement – Cooley is a master motivator, and I’m certain he is telling his team that they are being overlooked after their two game skid. I anticipate Providence to come out and be aggressive as all hell. They had a 5 rebound advantage in the first match-up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is doubled. DePaul doesn’t have size, and the Friars will come out angry (I hope).
Crier: For those who think this game will be a walk in the park for the Friars to get back to their winning ways, you are mistaken. This DePaul team has played a lot better and they gave us trouble in the second game last season. However DePaul has been absolutely atrocious on the road as of late and I think they meet somewhere in the middle in this game. Friars get the win 79-70.
BOC: Ah, the comfort of home. Students are back, and it’s been some time since Providence has had a home game. I think this may be the return for Jared Bynum, and his potential comeback leads to PC playing a much cleaner game than they have of recent. PC 85- DePaul 74.