The Villanova Wildcats will be traveling to The Dunk on Wednesday night to take on the Providence Friars in what many will label a laugher after the 'Cats just got done with a brutal week, involving two Top-10 matchups - a loss at UConn and a win at Syracuse.
But as Lee Corso (somebody put him out of his misery) says all too much - not so fast my friend! Providence, though putting up dismal record after dismal record in the BIG EAST each year, is a very dangerous squad. Their claim to fame is 'Keno Ball' - which apparently means try to score 200 points and not worry about playing defense.
Prior to their shocking upset (I said they were dangerous!) over Louisville on Saturday, the Friars were winless in conference games this season, although they did give Pitt (4-point loss) and Syracuse (7-point loss) difficulty.
Providence relies mainly on senior G Marshon Brooks, who is averaging 23.6 points per game and 7.5 rebounds a game (both team-highs) and 2.2 assists per game (2nd on the team). Beyond Brooks you've got Vincent Council who averages 14.2 ppg to go with a team-high 6.4 assists per game. Freshman Gerard Coleman just won Big East Rookie of the Week, so he'll garner some attention as well.
As much as I've pumped up the Friars though, the fact of the matter is, they aren't very good. They play almost no defense, and to make matters worse they've put their opponents on the charity stripe over 400 times already this year. Not a recipe for success, and one that will feed into 'Nova's strengths.
Avoid looking ahead to Georgetown on Saturday (I know it's hard) and take care of business in Rhode Island. More pregame coverage after The Jump.
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island
TV: ESPN3 & WPVI-DT2 in Philadelphia (Channel 466 on FIOS & 245 on Comcast)
Around The Blogosphere:
The View From Vegas:
Villanova are 5.5 favorites. They are -240 on the ML. Providence are +200 on the ML. The Over/Under is OFF.
The Nova Blog's Take:
Coming off one of the toughest weeks in recent memory for the program, it would be all too easy to have a letdown against a weaker foe. I would be a lot more worried if this game was at home though. Going on the road, Jay Wright will have his seniors re-focused and ready to lead this team into hostile territory.
Providence is full of belief after stunning Louisville over the weekend. They'll believe they can play with 'Nova, and why not? It's up to the 'Cats to play solid defense early and take the inevitably easy buckets that Providence will allow.
It's imperative that we start strong and close the door early. Providence had the ability to play behind from double-digits because of their offense, so we'll need a complete effort to guarantee a victory. This team took Pitt and Syracuse to the end of the game. Let's not let the same happen to us.
Look for big games from Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns, and Corey Stokes. Providence doesn't have the defenders to stick with this trio of guards.
Give us your thoughts on the game in the comments below!