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BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Providence vs. Villanova

The surging Friars head to Philly, as they attempt to knock off the kings of the castle.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 01 Villanova at Providence Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


TIME: 6:30 p.m. ET


Watch Online: Fox Sports Go


14-6 (7-12 ATS) Records 18-1 (12-6-1 ATS)
#53 KenPom Rankings #1 AP, #1 Coaches, #1 KenPom
Rodney Bullock (16.0 PPG) Leading Scorer Jalen Brunson (19.0 PPG)
Kyron Cartwright (6.4 APG) Leading Assister Jalen Brunson (5.2 APG)
Rodney Bullock (6.8 RPG) Leading Rebounder Omari Spellman (7.5 RPG)
53.2% (Off.) | 48.6% (Def.) eFG% 60.7% (Off.) | 48.3% (Def.)
18.3% (Off.) | 19.2% (Def.) Turnover% 15.1% (Off.) | 19.9% (Def.)
28.7% (Off.) | 29.5% (Def.) Rebounding% 29.6% (Off.) | 27.7% (Def.)
40.7% (Off.) | 29.6% (Def.) Free Throw Rate 30.8% (Off.) | 23.6% (Def.)
51.4% (Off.) | 50.3% (Def.) 2PT FG% 59.0% (Off.) | 48.7% (Def.)
37.9% (Off.) | 30.5% (Def.) 3PT FG% 41.7% (Off.) | 31.7% (Def.)
69.8% FT% 76.1%


(via OddsShark)

Spread: Villanova is a 15-point favorite. They are as high as 15.5 in some locales.

O/U: The total opened at 151. It’s up to 152, 152.5 and 153 in some locales.

Tuesday night’s edition of Big East Hoops will tip off with a matchup featuring two of the hottest teams in the conference. In one corner stands the Villanova Wildcats. The Cats, the consensus top team in the land, walk into this matchup at 18-1. The lone blemish on the year is still that drubbing they received at Hinkle Fieldhouse to the Butler Bulldogs. Apart from that, ‘Nova has been simply impeccable. In their five Big East victories, they’ve averaged a margin of victory of 16.2 points, with only one single-digit victory. That being a seven-point win against the St. John’s Red Storm.

Simply put: They’re demolishing their competition. It helps when you have a National Player of the Year candidate in Jalen Brunson to help run the ship. Brunson has been absolutely excellent in his last five games. The Lincolnshire, Illinois native has averaged 19.4 points and 5.8 assists in the Wildcats’ current five-game winning streak. He’s done so while shooting the ball with deft efficiency. Brunson has shot 34-64 over the last five games, good for a mark of 53.1 percent from the field.

In the other corner, here are the Providence Friars. Optimism wasn’t really the name of the game in Friartown through nonconference season. A record of 9-4, with the best win being over... Boston College (?), didn’t have fans very happy. Neither did their 1-2 start, with a 19-point loss at Creighton mixed in with a five-point OT loss to Marquette. But the Friars have since rebounded. They’ve taken their last four games, and have done so against some of the best the Big East has to offer.

They got the Bluejays back for that aforementioned loss this past Saturday. They also tagged the Butler Bulldogs with a 10-point victory last Monday. And, also, they took down the Xavier Musketeers back on January 6. So, it’s fair to say that the Friars have some mojo now. Kyron Cartwright has been playing out of his mind lately. In the four-game win streak, Cartwright has averaged 16.3 points and 7.8 assists per game.

The point guard matchup here will definitely dictate how things go. It will also be interesting to see how the two teams fare from outside. These are two of the top 3-point shooting teams in the Big East, but also two of the top perimeter defenses in the conference, as well. Each are holding teams to under 32 percent from beyond the arc, so it will be intriguing to see who can successfully attack from long range the most.

Conventional wisdom suggests a Villanova victory here, as does the point spread. Anything’s possible in college hoops this year, though. But this one should be a pretty solid affair in Philadelphia on Tuesday night regardless.