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Big East Tournament: Providence vs. Villanova 3-Point Preview

Both Villanova and Providence handled the quarterfinals with ease. The two schools are riding high as they head into a hotly anticipated semifinal Friday night.

Kris Dunn (left) and Providence look to knock off the top-seeded Villanova and Daniel Ochefu (right) in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Kris Dunn (left) and Providence look to knock off the top-seeded Villanova and Daniel Ochefu (right) in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Questions arose on whether or not the No. 8 or No. 9 seed could knock off No. 1 Villanova in the Big East Tournament for the second straight year after seeing Seton Hall do it in 2014.

Villanova buried that notion, putting Marquette out of their misery Thursday afternoon 84-49.

Providence looked like a team on a mission to repeat their 2014 Big East Tournament championship. The Friars, having lost both meetings to St. John's in the regular season, cooled off the red hot Red Storm 74-57.

Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Dunn, Big East Co-Players of the Year, go head-to-head one final time in a match up that will send the winner to the Big East championship game.

Third Time's a Charm...Again?

Providence lost both regular season meetings to St. John's. But it didn't matter. The saying "it's hard to beat a team three times in one season" certainly came to fruition, as Providence went on an 18-0 run to deny the Red Storm a 3-0 sweep of the Friars.

Providence takes on Villanova in the semifinals, and guess what? The Friars lost to Villanova twice in the regular season.

Will that statement be true again? Or can the Wildcats dominate like they did Thursday to take down Providence?

Hey Kris Dunn...Prove You're the Player of the Year

Those around the Big East, especially from the Providence camp, will argue that Kris Dunn should have been the sole recipient of the Big East Player of the Year award.

If there's any time to prove it, it's tonight.

Dunn, who averages 15.5 points per game, only scored four points against Villanova in their last meeting, a 89-61 defeat. Providence has other weapons, notably LaDontae Henton and Ben Bentil, but if they're going to get past this Villanova machine, Dunn has to be one of the best players on the court.

Who Steps Up For Villanova? Frankly, It Doesn't Matter

What makes Villanova special is that they do not need a star player to carry the team night in and night out. As long as someone is hitting shots, the Wildcats are just fine and dandy.

If the guards are hitting their 3-pointers, it's a long night for the opposition.

If they aren't, Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston are taking the ball hard to the hoop in the paint.

Oh no, Villanova is shooting poorly altogether? Never fear, the defense is here, ready to smother you with high pressure until you miss a shot or turn the ball over.

As long as something is going right for Villanova, it doesn't matter what the opposition does. For Providence, they'll need a find a way to stop all the somethings.

For more on Villanova, check out our friends at VU Hoops.

Tip off is at 7:00 p.m. from Madison Square Garden. But you already knew that. Comment below on your predictions for tonight's game!