The Villanova Wildcats travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Friars, (9-8, 1-4) on Saturday at 4:00PM. Providence is coming off a couple relatively close losses vs Syracuse (72-66) and Georgetown (74-65). Villanova is coming off a disappointing loss to Pittsburgh at the Pavillion, where Pitt scored the final 15 points of the game to rout the Wildcats 58-43. Villanova needs to approach this game very carefully. While Providence is just 9-8, they are 7-2 at home. Here are some things Villanova will need to do to win this basketball game against the Friars.
Take Care of the Basketball I don't know how many times I can say it. TAKE CARE OF THE BASKETBALL! Reducing turnovers will always be a key for this team to win. Turnovers are a huge reason why a number of games have gotten away from the 'Cats. They are averaging 16.3 turnovers per game (291st in the country), including 17 in the loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. If Villanova can keep their turnovers under 11 per game they will be able to hang in games vs any opponent. This starts with Ryan Arcidiacono, who had 6 turnovers in each of Nova’s last two losses, but only a total of 3 turnovers in their previous two wins against St. John’s and USF. We have to remember that he is just a freshman so you have to expect mistakes especially with him playing 35 minutes a game. If he can keep his turnovers low and his assists high, Villanova should be in good position to pull out a win.
Continue to Play Good Defense Villanova has been playing very good defensively of late. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Nova only gave up 58 points to Pittsburgh since the ‘Cats offensive output was abysmal at 43 points. Villanova is only giving up 67 points per game in their first four Big East matchups. Providence is averaging 66.5 ppg in Big East Play. However, Providence has players who just have a knack for scoring. Junior guard Bryce Cotton is averaging 21.6 ppg while also dishing out 3.7 assists. Another productive scorer for Providence is Sophomore forward LaDontae Henton. He is averaging nearly a double-double scoring 15.2 points per game and grabbing 8.2 boards per game. Villanova will need to contain those two players in order to come away with a win against the Friars.
Get Jayvaughn Pinkston Going Early and Often Jayvaughn Pinkston is leading the team in scoring at 13 points a game, but is only getting the 4th most minutes on the club. He has been coming off the bench and has thrived in that role early on, but has seemed to press a little bit of late. Villanova will need to get him going early, feed him in the post where he has an array of moves to score. Jayvaughn is somewhat of a liability on defense, but the 'Cats really need his offense and he needs to be on the floor more to produce.
Prediction I really feel that Villanova bounces back after that ugly loss to Pitt with a win on the road 61-53.