It was a bad week for the Providence Friars last week, as they lost both of their games last week and lost star player Ben Bentil to an ankle injury. First they were upset in a shocking loss to the DePaul Blue Demons and then they came out flat against a shorthanded Villanova team that was missing Daniel Ochefu.
The 'Nova loss is understandable as they lost to a team that is now ranked No. 1 in the country but the DePaul one is a head scratcher. Maybe the loss of Bentil during the game killed the spirit of the team but even without their leading scorer, Providence was good enough to beat DePaul but they fell flat on their face.
Providence will have to prove themselves once again that they are a top team because they are sliding down right now and the injury to Bentil, who leads the team in scoring with 19.7 per game, doesn't help one bit.
Providence will be looking to help climb back up in the standings as they sit fifth in the standings with a 18-6 record and a 6-5 conference record. If they want to keep up with both Seton Hall and Georgetown, who are both ahead of the Friars, they will have to get out of their slump.
The Marquette Golden Eagles are also on a slide as well. After their win against Butler, the Golden Eagles have lost two straight games against Seton Hall and Xavier, two of the top three teams in the BIG EAST. The two straight losses put Marquette at a record of 15-9 with a 4-7 conference record that puts them in eighth in the BIG EAST.
Although it's been a tough season, the play of Henry Ellenson has to be a positive as he leads the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game and is one of the top freshmen in the BIG EAST.
How to watch or listen
Game Time: 7 P.M ET
TV: CBS Sports Network || Channel Finder
Radio: WEEI 103.7 FM (Providence) || ESPN 540 Milwaukee (Marquette)
Odds: Providence is a 2 point favorite in this game (via OddsShark.com).
Record ATS: Providence (13-10) || Marquette (9-14)
O/U: The O/U opened at 142.5.
3 things to watch for
1. Henry Ellenson: Ellenson has been one of if not Marquette's best player this season as he leads the team in scoring and recently scored a career high 32 points against Butler. He scored 22 points off seven of 12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in their most recent game and will look to take advantage of a Providence team who may or may not have Bentil. He could have a big impact on the glass if Bentil is not playing.
2. The impact of Dunn and Bentil: Both Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil need to step up for the Friars if they want to get out of their slump. They have lost the past two games and the team looks out it. Ed Cooley will rely on his best players to step up and it has to be Dunn and Bentil. But expect more from Dunn as Bentil may still be hampered with that ankle injury. It's a dangerous time for Providence as another loss could send them spiraling out of control and could alter what has been a solid season so far.
3. Can Providence get over their Milwaukee jinx? Fun Fact: Providence has never won in Milwaukee. If there was a time to break curses, the time is now for Providence. For more on this, you'll want to check out a feature that will be posted later on this morning.