Thanks to stellar defense and an 18-0 run in the first half, Providence was able to defeat St. John's and move into a semifinal matchup against Villanova on Friday. The Wildcats looked absolutely unstoppable in their win on Thursday, but the Friars will certainly be a tougher test. Here's what you should know.
Kris Dunn and the Amazing, Outstanding, No Bad, Very Good Day
I don't think I'm the only one who felt as though Kris Dunn deserved the Big East Player of the Year award to himself (especially since Villanova has no true star), and Dunn played as though he could still change coaches' minds. The guard went off for 17 points and dished out 11 assists.
Dunn scored just four points on 2-10 shooting in the last matchup against Villanova, and he will surely be the key test for the Wildcat defense.
Friars are a TEAM.
Yes, Dunn is the POY. But he grabbed his second foul with 6:34 in the first half, and sat for all but the final play of the frame. But Providence was only outscored by two points in those six minutes, in what amounts to a road game at St. John's.
LaDontae Henton scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds, and even Ben Bentil recorded a double-double. Providence beat the Johnnies up and down the court thanks to many forced turnovers, and out-muscled them in the paint, and should make it a much closer game than Villanova had the last time out.
How tired will they be?
Villanova was able to rest their players late in the second half, as even the Bench Mob got a few minutes on the court. No Wildcat played more than 28 minutes, and they will almost certainly be fresh and ready to go on Friday.
Dunn sat for 5-6 minutes in the first half, and he's the type of player that brings energy to every game, but Providence players saw the court more than Villanova players, and played later on in the day. The few hours probably won't affect much of anything, but the Friars do play with a bit of a shorter roster in tight games, which could lead to problems for Providence.
This game is equally important for both teams...
Providence is currently sitting on the 5-7 line in most bracketology predictions, but will move up after defeating St. John's by double digits. A win over Villanova- and perhaps another Big East title beyond that- could skyrocket their potential seeding into the 4 range.