– Posted by Zurg –
Two Big East games on the docket tonight! Enjoy a Preview of Villanova-Providence and Predictions for both games.
Villanova vs. Providence, 7pm EST, Providence, RI, Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Fox Sports 1
Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats (AP: 9, KenPom: 9, BPI: 10) close out their NBA-style 2 game/3 night road trip against the Providence Friars (AP: NR, KenPom: 56, BPI: 59) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Wildcats are coming off a 101-80 loss at Creighton on Sunday – and Coach Wright is hoping his team can turn it around in Rhode Island. In his tenure at Villanova, Jay Wright is 4-5 at Providence with his most recent win coming on February 4, 2009. That 2008-09 squad went on to make the Final Four, so I’m sure the Wildcats would like to establish a pattern.
Ed Cooley’s Friars have lost 4 of 6 with both of those wins coming against DePaul. Their grasp on an NCAA Tournament bid is slipping, so a win tonight against a top-ten team would go a long way.
Villanova has the 5th best adjusted Offense in the country (according to kenpom.com) and has the 2nd best 2P% and 3P% in the conference. Providence’s defense is the best in the conference against the three-pointer, so something’s got to give tonight.
In their last meeting, Villanova beat Providence by 30. Bryce Cotton, LaDontae Henton, and Kadeem Batts accounted for 85.25% of the Friars’ points, so some help from the supporting cast would go a long way tonight. For some contrast, in that same game, Villanova’s top 3 scorers (JayVaughn Pinkston, Dylan Ennis, and Darrun Hilliard) accounted for only 56.04% of the team’s points.
Villanova has lost twice to Creighton this season. During the Jay Wright era, the only time Villanova has lost to the same opponent three times in one season was in 2011-12 against South Florida (January 5, 2012, February 15, 2012, and March 7, 2012).
This is going to be a close game. Providence needs it to put itself firmly in the NCAA Tournament conversation – but I just don’t see this Villanova team losing back-to-back games right now. I think senior James Bell stays out of foul trouble this time around, and he carries Villanova to a tough road victory.
Villanova 75, Providence 69
BUZZ’S TAKE! Villanova coming off a loss against a team from Providence with their season possibly on the line? Can’t see this one getting away from either team. JayVaughn Pinkston will be the player to watch. Between defending Providence’s huge front line and creating his own offense. This one’s going to overtime, but Villanova escapes. Villanova 90, Providence 88 (OT).
Butler vs. St. John’s, 9pm EST, New York, NY, Madison Square Garden, Fox Sports 1
Butler is 2-11 in its first year in the Big East and has already lost by 17 at home to St. John’s. Coming off the win over Creighton, I predicted St. John’s would push its win streak to 6 before a trip to the Wells Fargo Center this Saturday at Villanova. St. John’s wins this one at home.
St. John’s 74, Butler 58
BUZZ’S TAKE! St. John’s is rolling and Butler doesn’t have the athleticism to keep up. This one may stay close for a half, but it might get ugly in the second. St. John’s 80, Butler 60