The Providence Friars and Wichita State Shockers are set to meet on Friday night, as the Friars and Shockers are partaking in the 2018 Veterans Classic. Along with the Maryland Terrapins and Navy Midshipmen, these four teams will play in a doubleheader, which will lead off with the Providence-Wichita State matchup.
The Friars and Shockers started off the season in polar opposite fashion. Providence was a winner over the Siena Saints at home. They were led by freshman A.J. Reeves, whose 29-point performance grabbed headlines in the Big East Conference.
The Shockers, meanwhile, were downed in unusual fashion. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs routed them 71-58 at Charles Koch Arena. If you’ve followed Wichita State over the last few seasons, you’d know that this loss was uncommon.
The 12-point defeat was their worst home loss since they took a 93-76 drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys on December 17, 2016. They have only suffered two double-digit losses at home since the 2012-13 season, and five total in Gregg Marshall’s tenure. It is not often that they get their butts handed to them at Charles Koch, so that could be a bad sign or an outlier. Or, hey, maybe both.
One promising player for Wichita who showed out in the game was freshman Erik Stevenson. Stevenson, a guard, scored 16 points off the bench in 23 minutes of action. He shot the ball well, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 from the 3-point line. The Friars will have to look to make sure to keep their eyes on him on the perimeter when he gets into the game.
They’ll also, of course have to account for senior Markis McDuffie. The senior McDuffie had a tough start to the season. In 28 minutes against LaTech, McDuffie scored only eight points. He shot 1-for-6 from the 3-point arc, also. He was a great 3-point shooter against AAC competition last season, so it might’ve just been an all-around bad night for him.
LaTech didn’t take too many 3-pointers against Wichita State, but were still relatively unsuccessful. Wichita held them to 25 percent on 16 attempts. The Friars let it fly a bit, as 47.2 percent of their field goals against Siena were from outside.
And to their credit, they made the most of them. They shot 52 percent against the Saints, so we’ll see if that translates yet again against a team who gave up 36.3 percent against 3-point shots last season. Reeves, Alpha Diallo and Isaiah Jackson took 19 of the Friars’ 24 3-pointers, so that trio will be looking for more, having made 13 of those 19 shots taken.
Providence will definitely be looking for more out of their point guards in this game. Maliek White, David Duke and Makai Ashton-Langford all spent some time playing point in the opener. None were particularly impressive, although MAL accounted for 25.1 percent of possessions according to KenPom, and his USG% was at 28 percent, per Sports-Reference. So if he’s going to be on the floor a lot with the ball in his hands, then MAL will have to step up.
Expect a fun battle between two well-coached teams here. Providence is the favorite on KenPom with a 60 percent win probability. They’re also the Vegas favorite, with the line between -3.5 to 5, depending on where you look.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Watch Online: You can watch CBSSN if you subscribe to Optimum and a couple other providers. Otherwise, welp, unfortunately the network isn’t heavily streamed.