Time & Place: 1:00 PM Eastern, Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Bill Raftery)
Radio: WPRO 630AM/99.7 FM (Providence; John Rooke, Joe Hassett), 610 ESPN Radio (Villanova; Ryan Fannon, Whitey Rigsby), Westwood One (National; Justin Kutcher, Steve Lappas)
Team Ratings (Points/Points Allowed per 100 possessions): Providence (11-9, 4-3 Big East): 101.1/94.7 (189th/105th); Villanova (15-3, 5-1 Big East): 110.0/97.6 (26th/169th)
The Providence Friars and No. 9 Villanova Wildcats meet up in Rhode Island on Saturday for what should be another fierce Big East matchup. This is the 106th meeting all-time between these two programs. Villanova holds the 66-39 advantage in the series.
Providence is in the midst of a slump. The Friars started Big East play 3-0, but have gone 1-3 since then. A sudden spike in schedule difficulty could be the culprit. This matchup will be PC’s third consecutive game against a ranked opponent and fourth in the last five. Providence is 0-3 in those ranked games (Butler, at Creighton, at Seton Hall), losing by an average of 8.3 points per game.
Meanwhile, Villanova is riding a five-game winning streak. However, they still need to make sure they don’t take this game lightly. Villanova has only three losses on the year, but they have all come on the road. Their latest was their 71-60 defeat at Marquette on Jan. 4.
The three-point shot will be key to determining Saturday’s result. Villanova has been hot, shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc over their last four games. They have also held teams to 27.5 percent shooting from the same distance over the same span.
Providence hasn’t found the same rhythm, shooting 26.6 percent from three while conceding a 36.5 percent clip over the last four games. If the Friars want to end their recent skid, they will have to figure out a way to control the perimeter against one of the nation’s top offensive squads.