The Providence Friars welcome the Villanova Wildcats to the Dunkin' Donuts Center for a Saturday afternoon Big East battle. Providence managed to defeat Villanova back on January 24th and that road win snapped the Wildcats' 22 game Big East winning streak. The Friars are looking to win two games against Villanova in the same season for the first time since 2004. The Wildcats are looking to win their 10th league game for a 4 straight season of double-digit Big East wins. They also haven't been swept in league play since Doug McDermott's Creighton team handed them their only 2 Big East losses during the 2013-14 season.
How to watch, listen
Time: 2:30 p.m. EST
TV: FS1 || Gus Johnson & Tarik Turner
Odds: Villanova opened as a 5 point road favorite over Providence and the Over/Under opened at 138.5, via OddsShark.
Villanova is 11-10 ATS this season and Providence 13-9 ATS this season.
1. Injury Watch: Both teams have big men that aren't 100% healthy. Daniel Ochefu has missed Villanova's last two games due to a concussion suffered in practice on January 29th. He's been listed as doubtful for this contest. On the Providence side, Ben Bentil injured his right ankle during Providence's loss at DePaul on Tuesday and Ed Cooley classified Bentil as "very sore" on Thursday when the Friar head coach met with the media. Bentil has been listed as day-to-day. Ochefu not playing hurts Villanova, but Bentl not playing hurts Providence more. If Ochefu is out, advantage Providence. If Bentil is out, advantage Villanova -- even if Ochefu is also out.
2. 3-Point Shooting: Neither team has a very pretty 3-point shooting percentage. Villanova's 33.0% ranks 231st nationally, while Providence's 31.1% ranks 305th. Both teams also defend against the 3-ball at a high clip. If one team manages to convert on a few 3-pointers, it could be the difference in this game.
3. Defense vs. Defense: In some other games, the common theme might be team X's offensive against team Y's defense. Villanova certainly has a better offense than Providence, but both teams are in the top 20 in defensive efficiency, according to Kenpom.com. Villanova had 13 steals the last time these teams met, but the turnover number ended up being tied at 16. Free throws makes and attempts were also fairly even, despite Villanova have 4 more fouls than Providence. It should be noted that the total of 31 fouls was one of the lower foul totals you'll see in today's college basketball.Rebounding also ended up being a pretty evenly matched statistic, though Providence did grab 13 offensive rebounds. The moral of the story here is that the teams played to a dead heat last time out and needed overtime to decide that game. One stop or one steal or one rebound could be the key play in a razor thin game.