September 21, 2018

Providence vs. Villanova Predictions: Another Shootout for 'Cats? 3/10/18

12 March 2018, 02:38 | Pamela Mathis

Providence vs. Villanova Predictions: Another Shootout for 'Cats? 3/10/18

Providence vs. Villanova Predictions: Another Shootout for 'Cats? 3/10/18

For the second year in a row and third time in four tries, the Villanova Wildcats are BIG EAST Tournament champions, defeating the Providence Friars in an overtime thriller, 76-66.

Villanova enters the tournament No. 1 in offensive efficiency according to KenPom. The Blue Devils missed their first 14 shots from the floor and made 18 turnovers.

The Wildcats rank eighth in steals allowed per game (4.5) while the Friars rank 166th (6.7).

On the season, Providence basketball averages 74.0 points, 35.5 rebounds and 13.9 asissts per game.

Brunson proceeded to miss the front-end of a one-and-one, giving the Friars a chance to tie the game. In his brief cameo he was lively, drawing a shooting foul off a pick-and-roll and making a free throw to extend the lead to 11-6 at the 15:08 mark of the first half. All thanks to Alpha Diallo who scored the game-winning two points with less than 3 minutes left in overtime.

"It started back when I was a freshman".

Will the Friars have enough left in the tank to produce a similar effort against the most efficient offensive team in the nation?

Villanova made the final run of the half as Spellman tipped one in and Brunson drilled a three to give the Wildcats a 31-27 going into the locker room.

Villanova leads the all-time series 58-38.

"We never thought about the bubble". Then again, there's always the extra pressure of a top seed losing early on since their opponents tend to have nothing to lose, meaning just because the Wildcats will be heavy favorites doesn't mean they can afford to take this game lightly. His concern was his fellow seniors, led by Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey.

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Only five Wildcats - Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Phil Booth, Donte DiVincenzo and Eric Paschall - have experienced NCAA competition.

When they needed a rebound Thursday, the Jays couldn't get one.

Friar sophomore guard Drew Edwards, averaging just 10 minutes per game, got some big time minutes (six) during the first half, "coach wanted a small lineup with four guards in there for the matchups, I was ready to go".

By the midpoint of the half the Friars had weathered the second "storm" and gained some momentum. After Providence came back from 17 points down to take out #3 Xavier in the Big East Tournament Semifinals, the Friars held a lead against #2 Villanova with 40 seconds left in regulation of the title game.

Cartwright's jumper gave Providence a 73-70 lead, but Trevon Bluiett cut the margin to a point with two free throws with 41 seconds to go. It was not to be however, as a Cartwright floater from the left elbow clanked harmlessly up off the rim and fell to the court.

Towns scored 24 points and grabbed a career-high tying 12 rebounds and Lewis finished with 16 points and 10 boards.

The last time came when Cartwright hit two free throws with 13 seconds to go to knot the score at 68.

Brunson tied a career high with 31 points while Bridges - named the Dave Gavitt Award victor as Most Outstanding Player - added 25 points.

Each team won at home.

And I'm confident, I think Marcus would agree with me, that we're very comfortable with Mitch taking that shot in that situation.

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