Time and Date: Wednesday, February 3 @ 7:00 pm ET
Records: Seton Hall (9-8, 6-5 BIG EAST) | Providence (9-8, 5-6 BIG EAST)
Rankings: Seton Hall (#45 KenPom) | Providence (#64 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
When Providence and Seton Hall take the floor Wednesday night, the Friars will be looking to do something they haven’t done since 2015: sweep Seton Hall.
There couldn’t be a better time for Providence to pull that off. It’s tough to call any game in early February a must win, but that’s what this seems like for Ed Cooley’s team. Squarely on the outside of the bubble, Providence cannot afford to miss opportunities to build their tournament resume. That became even more true after blowing a 15-point lead in a loss at Georgetown on Saturday, after which Cooley called his team “soft.” Star David Duke struggled, scoring a season-low 5 points and missing a free throw that would have tied the game late.
Meanwhile, the Pirates have lost four of their last five and moved from a surefire tournament team to on the bubble. On the bright side, all four losses came to Villanova and Creighton. No one is going to penalize a team for losing to a top 15 team. On the other hand, those games mark missed chances for Kevin Willard’s squad. Both Providence and Marquette have been able to pick up wins against Creighton. Seton Hall might not be able to afford getting swept by Villanova, Creighton, and Providence if they hope to make the tournament.
Providence and Seton Hall operate at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Pirates play tough in the paint, hitting 54.7% of their shots inside the arc. That’s good for second in the Big East. Seton Hall is also fourth in the conference in 2-point defense. This is where the Friars struggle, sitting at eighth in 2-point shooting and ninth in interior defense. Providence has had issues with rebounding, as well, so Kevin Willard’s team will have an advantage down low.
On the other hand, the Friars have a definite advantage from 3-point land. Providence has the best 3-point defense in the Big East, while Seton Hall has the worst. After starting the season shooting barely over 20% from deep, the Friars have improved their mark to 36.3% in conference play. Meanwhile, Seton Hall is shooting just under 33% from beyond the arc.
With this being a matchup of strengths against weaknesses, this could become a high scoring affair.
Since the initial meeting between these two teams, both lineups have undergone some changes. For Seton Hall, Ike Obiagu has seen his minutes decline, playing only twelve minutes last time out. Grad transfer Bryce Aiken has contributed more, scoring 30 points in over 18 minutes per game over the last two contests. Providence has been without starting point guard Jared Bynum for quite some time, but freshman Alyn Breed has picked up the slack. Breed has scored in double-figures in three of the last four for the Friars as he’s adjusted to a role in the starting lineup. Bynum may be available for this game, as his status is day-to-day.