Villanova vs. Providence Preview | The Wildcats look to Split the Season Series with the Friars
Written by David Szczepanski on February 18, 2023
13-13 Villanova will battle 19-7 Providence in Rhode Island this afternoon at 4:30pm.
Villanova is 13-13 overall on the season and 7-8 in Big East play. However, with a fully healthy team, Villanova has definitely been making progress as they are winners of their last three contests. They currently hold the longest winning streak in the Big East after defeating DePaul, Seton Hall, and Butler in a row.
Winning Streak for the Wildcats
Although Villanova has won their past three games, all of those games were at home venues. The Wildcats are 9-3 overall at home, but just 3-7 in away games this season. The Wildcats also have not won a Quad 1 game this season. With a win today, the Wildcats would finally achieve their first Quad 1 victory.
The Wildcats’ leading scorer is still Caleb Daniels with 16 points per game; however, Forward Eric Dixon is right behind him now by averaging 15.6 points per game. Villanova is ranked 69th in the country according to Kenpom.com.
Providence is 19-7 overall and 11-4 in Big East games, which puts them tied for second in the Big East standings with Xavier and Creighton. To begin February, the Friars lost a close battle to Xavier and then confidently defeated Georgetown at home. However, Providence then suffered a tough loss against St. John’s in New York before beating #18 Creighton at home in Double Overtime on Tuesday night. Creighton had won their previous eight contests before that loss to Providence.
Although Providence has not been super consistent recently, the Friars definitely have the advantage over the Wildcats after beating one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Friars’ leading scorer is Bryce Hopkins, who averages 16.8 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per contest. Guard Devin Carter, Forward Ed Croswell from Philadelphia, and Guard Noah Locke all average double digit points for Providence. The Friars are undefeated at home this season in 14 games.
The Friars and Wildcats both limit opponents to around 68 points per game. However, Providence is averaging 78.6 points per game on offense while Villanova is only averaging 69.4 points per game.
January 29th Matchup
These Big East rivals matched up on January 29th at the Wells Fargo Center. After scoring 42 points in the second half, Providence just beat Villanova, 70-65. The Wildcats had a three point lead at the half in that game. The leading scorer was Cam Whitmore for Nova with 21 points, but Providence had great production from their starters and off their bench, including a 19 point performance by Guard Jared Bynum. Bynum was 7-8 from the field and knocked down three three pointers.
Can the Wildcats provide Providence their first home loss?
As mentioned earlier, Villanova is playing like a different team over these past three games/wins. They are full healthy and finally closing out games. On January 29th, Justin Moore played in his first game since returning from injury. Moore has played more games now and looks to almost fully have his shot back. Also, the Wildcats will have Jordan Longino off the bench in this game. Overall, Villanova can definitely give Providence their first home loss of the season, but it will not be easy. Nova will need to play great defense and execute offensively, especially down the stretch.