The Providence Friars will battle the Michigan State Spartans in the championship of the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim, CA. The Friars are 2-1 under Ed Cooley in tournament championships with the loss being in November 2013 to Maryland in the Paradise Jam. The wins came in March 2014 when Providence won the Big East Championship and November 2014 when the Friars won the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament at Mohegan Sun. Michigan State is also 6-0 on the season and will be looking to keep their top 5 ranking by beating the Friars and winning the tournament.
1. The Turnover Battle
This is an area that Providence should excel against the Spartans. The Friars have the 7th best turnover percentage on both offense and defense in the nation, according to Kenpom.com. Michigan State ranks near the bottom of the nation in defensive turnover percentage and their offense is about average at taking care of the ball. Providence has excelled behind Kris Dunn's 4.3 steals/game and gotten a lot of points off turnovers through 6 games this season.
2. Spartan Bench Scoring
Michigan State has gotten 60 points from their bench in their two games in the Wooden Legacy Tournament and they are 9th in the nation in bench minutes. The Friars get most of their scoring from their starting five -- and mainly Dunn, Bentil and Bullock. Bench scoring could be a factor in this game that could be a match of attrition with fouls.
3. Dunn vs. Valentine
A good hashtag for this game will be #TripleDoubleWatch with Dunn and Denzel Valentine being threats to stuff the stat sheet with double digit figures all over the place. Valentine already has a triple-double in this tournament so Dunn will be looking to match Valentine.