How to watch, listen and stream
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: FSN (Justin Kutcher, Stephen Bardo)
Radio: Xavier 55KRC-AM, Providence 103.7 WEEI FM
Live Stream: Fox Sports GO (Where Available)
Xavier is a 10-point favorite and the Over/Under is 140. All odds are via OddsShark.com.
Xavier leads the all-time series, 6-3. The Musketeers swept the Friars last season and the two teams held their home courts the prior two seasons. Of the 9 previous meetings between these two teams, 6 have come as members of the Big East conference. They also twice in the mid-1980’s and the first game ever was on December 20, 1961 with unranked Xavier handing Providence a 14-point road loss. That Providence team was ranked 3rd in the AP poll that week.
There are a lot of coaching connections between these two schools. Pete Gillen coached Chris Mack at Xavier and then Gillen went on to Providence for 4 seasons. Gillen’s successor at Xavier was Skip Prosser who had current Providence assistant Jeff Battle on his staff from 1994-2001. Chris Mack was also on that staff as the Director of Basketball Operations for the final two seasons Prosser was at Xavier. Mack joined Battle as an assistant coach on Prosser’s staff when Prosser moved on to Wake Forest.
What’s at Stake
Both teams are looking to get their Big East seasons off to a positive start with a win. For Xavier, they are looking to win their 14th consecutive game at the Cintas center. The Musketeers finished 8-1 at home in Big East play last season. Providence is looking to rebound from their 12-point loss at lowly Boston College before the Christmas break. The Friars have never won at the Cintas Center.
Inside the Numbers
Xavier leads the Big East in rebound margin at +8.3 rpg. That ranks 21st in the nation. Providence leads the Big East in scoring defense as they allow opponents just 60.5 ppg. That ranks 16th nationally.
Five Questions with Banners on the Parkway
Caleb Childers of BannersOnTheParkway.com and I did a Q&A ahead of this game. For my A’s to Caleb’s Q’s be sure to head on over to BOTP.
1.) What's your take on the 10-2 non-conference record that Xavier put together this season? Are you pro Chris Mack scheduling legit road games like the losses at Baylor and Colorado?
The two losses to Baylor and Colorado don't bother me. Well, on paper they do not. I love that Mack is aggressive in his non-conference games. It goes back to our days in the A10 to give us a resume, but now it just shows how prepared we are to enter tough conference play and the big dance in March. But am I a fan of the two losses we have so far? No, not at all. Xavier has came out sloppy several times and we've had several forgettable wins, and a few we would like to forget happened. In both the Colorado and Baylor games our shooting went flat in the second half. We are still without Myles Davis and better early then later, but it still is frustrating that this team is 10-2 and not quite as good as we all think they should be.
2.) Is this now officially Trevon Bluiett's team in his third season at Xavier?
Absolutely. Bluiett has been special since day 1. He hasn't been the most talented player to walk through that door, but he's held a spot of importance on the team since freshman year and each year his leadership role grows. I think this year is seen as being a mix of Bluiett's team and Bluiett/Sumner's team, but with Sumner regressing a big this year it's absolutely falling on Trevon Bluiett's shoulders.
3.) Do movie theater sightings and cryptic tweets mean Myles Davis is going to play on Wednesday night? If so, what are the implications on the court for the Musketeers? (Editor’s note: After this questions was asked and answered Chris Mack confirmed that Myles Davis continued to be suspended and would not play in this game.)
I don't think I've been this engrossed with a twitter account since the Deandre Jordan saga. Myles Davis is probably not playing on Wednesday. We don't think he is going to play on Wednesday but the big question mark is New Years Eve against Georgetown. To be honest, I see him coming back against Saint Johns on January 7th, but with those tweets I'm not sure anyone really knows.
4.) Is Edmond Sumner a poor man's Kris Dunn?
I think so, and I think that is good company to be in. Sumner has been interesting this year. He does not seem to be nearly as aggressive with the ball, and his shots just haven't fallen. We all hope that this changes now that we're in conference play. This season has not sustained the play that made him popular with scouts last year, so it will be interesting to see what all this means for the draft.
5.) Score prediction?
Xavier-70 Providence-60. It will be fun to have Big East basketball back, but I don't see this one being a crazy close game.