PROVIDENCE FRIARS VS. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
RANKINGS: Providence (#31 KenPom) | Washington (#132 KenPom)
RECORDS: Providence (1-1) | Washington (2-0)
TIME: Approx. 9 p.m. ET
TV CHANNEL: ESPN2
COMMENTATORS: Jon Sciambi, Sean Farnham
WATCH ONLINE: WatchESPN
SPREAD: The Friars opened as 7-point faves. The line increased to 8/8.5.
O/U: The total started at 151. It shot all the way down to 143, 143.5, 144, 144.5.
RECORDS ATS: Providence (0-1 ATS) | Washington (2-0)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
WASHINGTON - JAYLEN NOWELL
Washington Huskies freshman Jaylen Nowell has gotten off to a fast start. Against the Belmont Bruins, Nowell opened his collegiate career by scoring a whopping 32 points in UW’s 86-82 win. Nowell did so while shooting 12-18 from the field, including a mark of 10-15 on 2-point tries. He went 6-8 from the free throw line as well, showing capable shooting abilities even against a tough OVC team. Nowell also made an impact elsewhere, grabbing five rebounds, racking up a steal and two assists, and had just one turnover in 36 minutes.
Nowell followed that up with a pedestrian 10 points in 30 minutes against the Eastern Washington Eagles. But, Nowell was still efficient, going 3-5 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line. The Seattle native was mostly plagued by foul trouble, finishing with four fouls, but still played 75 percent of the game and helped lead the Huskies to a 79-69 win.
One can expect the 6-foot-4 freshman to have a huge impact again. He’ll be tested against the best defense he’s faced so far this season. We’ll see what he’s got, but going into Thursday night’s tilt, he’ll be the one to watch.
PROVIDENCE - KYRON CARTWRIGHT
Providence Friars point man Kyron Cartwright has arguably been the Friars’ best player in their first two games. Cartwright was terrific in their season opening win over the Houston Baptist Huskies, scoring 10 points, dropping 10 assists and four boards and a steal. He followed that up with 12 points, nine assists, three steals and three rebounds in their loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Luckily for Providence, the point guard for Washington this year ain’t Markelle Fultz. David Crisp is capable to certain, but defensively he’ll likely struggle. The Friars certainly have the point guard matchup locked down, and for that reason, one should expect Cartwright to have a big game. If he goes, so too will Providence
What Happens Here?
New head coach Mike Hopkins (no relation to our Mike Hopkins) has had Washington playing pretty well in their opening tow games. The Huskies have played fast and shot the ball somewhat well. If there’s been any weakness, it’s their inability to force turnovers, and early on, they have gotten cut up inside.
That can play right into Providence’s hand. The Friars have shot 50.6 percent in their first two games of the season on 2-point tries. That’s not particularly great, but when you consider UW is allowing 55.4 percent on 2-point tries so far, it looks a bit better. The Huskies have also allowed a field goal percentage of 56.1 percent for shots taken at the rim and 54.2 percent on other 2-point tries. Expect the Friars to find a bit of better luck inside than in their first two tries. Surely more than they had against Minnesota.
Their 3-point shooting might play well, too. While Washington only allowed marks of 32.7 percent to Belmont and Eastern Washington, let’s consider that it was Belmont and Eastern Washington. Last year, Belmont wasn’t particularly great at all at 3-point shooting and that hasn’t improved so far. The Eagles have been solid at shooting the 3-ball, but started slow this year, shooting 18-59 in their first two games before a 44.8 percent outburst over the Stanford Cardinal. And it’s not like Walla Walla, EWU’s first opponent, is... well, great. Or even good.
All told, Providence should win this game. But with Nowell playing well, it probably won’t be a walk in the park. There is junior Noah Dickerson also, who is coming off an absurd 28-point, 22-rebound showcase against aforementioned Eastern Washington. At 6-foot-8, he won’t present the matchup nightmare that Reggie Lynch of Minnesota did the other night, but he will be a legitimate presence. It will be on the Friars to contain him and Nowell. Should they do that, they should be able to knock ‘em down.
Providence 75, Washington 70