Sunday, January 5, 2014
When: 7:00 pm Eastern
RPI: Providence: 95 | Villanova: 5
KenPom: Providence: 75 | Villanova: 10
The Pavilion (Capacity: 6,500)
Where: Villanova, PA
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 610 WIP
Odds: Villanova -12.5 | O/U 133.5
Villanova holds a dominant lead in the head to head, with a 52-37 record. Last year, however, the Friars were able to stun the Wildcats twice with two 3-point wins. The first ended 69-66 loss and the second game ended in a 55-52 loss. Villanova looks to start off this season right with a win at the Pavilion.
Providence entered this year with some expectations, which is something new for the Friars. They were picked 6th at the start of the season, but those expectations have all but disappeared after sophomore Kris Dunn injured his shoulder in an exhibition game on November 2nd and will be out for the rest of the season. But not just Dunn is missing from this Providence team. Highly touted freshman Brandon Austin, who was suspended on December 23rd for the 2013-2014 season after violating the College Student Code of Conduct, will transfer from Providence. With the loss to Seton Hall to start the Big East Conference and with Austin's transfer, the Friars are a mess right now.
But still, they have one of the best players in the conference with Bryce Cotton leading the way with 19.9 points per game. Cotton played all 50 minutes against in the Double OT loss to the Pirates and scored 25 points. Cotton will be a lot to handle for the Wildcats, he has averaged 21 points per game in the last three matchups.
"He can shoot the ball coming off a screen and he can get a shot off at any time," Jay Wright said to Villanova's official website. " He can get a shot off at any time. He's really difficult to guard that way. And, because he's forced to play the point, he's passing the ball better. He's such an integral part of their offense."
Seton Hall is shooting a Big East low 41.4% from the field along with an equally unimpressive 32% from three. The Wildcats are still must be ready to play and must not look past this Providence team.
"Now you've got a hungry Providence team coming in here," says Wright. "I'm sure they let one slip away against Seton Hall. Our mindset coming in here will be (very) important."
Ed Cooley started his coaching career as an assistant coach at UMass Dartmouth, and he received his first head coaching job in 2006 for Fairfield University. After five years at Fairfield, where he went 92-69, Cooley returned to his hometown and became the head coach of the Providence Friars. Last year Coley was able to lead Providence to a 19-15 record, with the Friars losing in the NIT Quarterfinals.
This season, Cooley has taken a renewed interest in his health. This past July Cooley underwent a "weight reduction surgery" and has lost over 100 pounds since 2012, when he weighed 344 pounds. We wish Coach Cooley good luck and good health, but he might need to lose a little more weight to fit into Jay's suits.
Providence alumni include two of the best coaches of all time in John Thompson Sr. and Lenny Wilkins. The famed ESPN analyst, Doris Burke is an alumni. Former Big East Conference Commissioner, John Marinatto also attended Providence.
Like comedy movies? Peter Farrelly, producer of Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene, and There's Something About Mary, is a Friar. So is Robert Gallo who played a large role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the infectious agent responsible for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Long Island: 7:00 PM, MacArthur Park Restaurant, 1 Maple Ave, Rockville Centre, NY
Northern California: 4:00 PM, The Final Final, 2990 Baker St, San Francisco, CA
Northern New Jersey: 6:30 PM, Park West Tavern (30 Oak Street Ridgewood, NJ) & Wicked Wolf Tavern (120 Sinatra Drive Hoboken, NJ)
Manhattan: 7:00 PM, The Mason Jar, 43 E 30th Street, New York, NY.