SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENS VS. PROVIDENCE FRIARS
RANKINGS: Saint Louis (#140 KenPom) | Providence (#32 KenPom)
RECORDS: Saint Louis (3-0) | Providence (2-1)
TIME: Approx. 7:30 p.m. ET
TV CHANNEL: ESPN2
WATCH ONLINE: WatchESPN
The Providence Friars will partake in Friday night’s 2K Classic Final against the Saint Louis Billikens. The Friars and Billikens each scored wins in Thursday’s semis over the Washington Huskies and Virginia Tech Hokies. As a result, each team has surfed to the title game, where they will play under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
The Friars, of course, have built up a lengthy history at The Garden. SLU, not so much. Providence has won eight of their last 12 games at The World’s Most Famous Arena, that including Big East tournament games, and their run to the title in 2014. They will be going for their ninth win in 13 games at MSG on Friday night, which is quite the jaunt to say the least.
Providence will be going up against a pretty respectable Billiken defense in the early goings. They’ve been able to play well on the boards and competently enough in most areas on the floor. SLU has struggled mightily offensively though. That lines up well against a Friar defense that has been nothing if not stingy so far. Saint Louis has gotten off to a dreadful start from beyond the arc, and against a team that has allowed just 27.3 percent from deep so far, they might prove overmatched unless they get on a tear.
Saint Louis has gotten good production though from Javon Bess. Bess played extremely well in the game against VaTech, scoring 22 points in 37 minutes. Bess also went to the FT line quite a lot, making 12 of 15 shots. He had nine boards, two assists and only two turnovers. If the Columbus native can rekindle that kind of magic, he will be one to watch for.
Providence got a tonnage of production from five players last night. One of the more notable ones was Drew Edwards. Coming off the bench, Edwards scored 11 in 18 minutes, and missed only one shot all night. He was a factor from deep, shooting 2-2 from outside. He was a part of an effort that led to the Friars sinking eight of 15 shots from beyond the arc. If that trend can continue, then we can expect to see Providence hoisting the trophy up.
We shall see what happens Friday night at The Garden. It should be a fun one, though.