Tomorrow night, Marquette will travel to Rhode Island to face the Friars of Providence College. Last year, in the BE Season Opener, Marquette pounded PC 96-67 at the Bradley Center. However, that was at home, and the Friars were without Sharaud Curry. In Providence's last game, they hung tough on the road at Georgetown before finally falling 82-75.
Similar to Marquette, PC has an experienced lineup with a new head coach. Coach Keno Davis was the AP Coach of the Year last year from his time at Drake. Not only that, but as Buzz mentioned, he's only lost eight games in his entire coaching career. Providence has eight seniors on their roster, including leading scorer Weyinmi Efejuku and five of their top eight scorers. Not only that, but PC basically only goes eight deep, and two of the other top players are juniors. Providence won't be intimidated by Marquette or the #14 ranking. In addition, Providence also has only lost one game at home this season, and that was their first game this season.
Game time is 8:00 pm Saturday on ESPN2.
Pomeroy gives us a 69% chance of victory, but I'm slightly less optimistic at 61%. On the road, that's essentially a toss-up.
Opponent Strengths and Weaknesses
Taken from the Pomeroy Scouting Report and Game Plan.
1. Three Point Defense – Providence is #24 in the country at three point defense (29.7%)
2. Making two-point baskets – Providence is #28 in the country at making two-point baskets (53.1%)
3. Offensive Rebounding – Providence is #41 in the country at offensive rebounding, rebounding a missed field goal 38.0% of the time
1. Shooting three pointers – Providence is #246 in the country at shooting three pointers, averaging 31.8%
2. Preventing two-point baskets (#247) – Providence allows opponents to hit 50.2% from inside the arc
3. Giving up offensive rebounds – Providence is #231 in the country at allowing opponents to get offensive rebounds (34.6% of missed field goals)
Specific Statistics Recommendations (In order of importance)
1. Limit Providence to an eFG% of 50% or less, which is right at their season average and gives 61% chance of Marquette win (3 point win)
2. Achieve an eFG% of 51% or higher, which is slightly less than the season average
3. Force Providence to a turnover rate of 24% or higher (~17 turnovers), which is three more than their average
4. Hold PC to an offensive rebounding percentage of 31% or less (~12 offensive rebounds), which is two less than their season average
5. Get to the line with a Free Throw Rate of 38% or more (~22 free throw attempts), which is six less than season average
In a slightly faster game (71 possessions), Marquette should win due to an advantage on turnover rate and from the free throw line. Field Goal percentage and offensive rebounding should be about equal. Marquette needs to force a lot of turnovers and get to the line a lot. Expect a fairly defensive oriented game.
- Rosiak has a two blog entries. One is a basic PC overview, with plenty of good information. His second covers info on Sharaud Curry and the BE Conference call. As always, good stuff from Rosiak.
- ScoutFriars.com has a great tempo-free preview of the game. It's really well-written. Much better written than my stuff.
- The Providence Journal has an interesting video clip interview with Kevin McNamara, or you can just read the text.
- Clark Kellogg from CBSSports.com gives some love to the Three Amigos.
- Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports has a great article about Buzz Williams. Buzz was also named to the Milwaukee Business Journal Forty under 40 list.
- Interested in knowing some famous Providence Alumni?
- Finally, here's the GoMarquette.com preview, which includes Game Notes (pdf) and podcasts from Buzz, Wesley, and James.