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MBB Prepares for Providence and Seton Hall

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
After a 78–54 loss to No. 3 UConn and 75–47 win over Georgetown, Villanova will play Providence and Seton Hall.

As the season nears its end and the NCAA tournament awaits, Villanova has some crucial Big East road games coming up against Providence and Seton Hall.

On Saturday, March 2, the Wildcats take on Providence, which sits right above Villanova as the fifth-place team in the Big East, with a 9-7 conference record and 18-9 overall record.

They then face Seton Hall on Wednesday, March 6. Seton Hall is the third best team in the conference, with an 18-9 overall record and 11-5 in conference.

Scouting the Friars

Providence is coming off a three-game winning streak in the Big East but has proven to be inconsistent this season. 

Prior to its winning streak, it lost, 75-72, against Butler, which sits at the bottom of the conference. But it also took a 91-87 victory against Creighton, which is fourth in the Big East and ranked 12th in the nation.

The Friars have displayed moments of both greatness and weakness throughout the course of the season, which makes them a difficult opponent for the Wildcats to prepare for. 

The squad is led by junior guard Devin Carter, who leads in almost every team statistical category. He averages 19.3 points per game, highest in the conference. Carter also averages 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals, making him a dangerous option in all parts of the game. 

Senior forward Josh Oduro is right behind him, averaging 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Carter and Oduro together make up one of the most dangerous duos in the NCAA. 

Junior forward Bryce Hopkins, who was averaging 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds, has been injured for nearly two months and will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. This was a major loss for the Friars and is part of the reason they have struggled late in the season.

Providence has been inefficient shooting the ball this season, which will give Villanova the edge. It is shooting 45.3% overall, 32.8% from three-point range and 70.6 from the free-throw line. 

Providence will likely have to rely on its defense, who has allowed similar shooting splits.

Scouting the Pirates

Seton Hall has been a shocking story this year, managing to be a top-three seed in the Big East. It is coming off a three-game winning streak of its own, with its last loss coming from Villanova. 

The team is led by senior guard Kadary Richmond. He’s averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.1 steals per game, which are all team highs. He also averages 7.0 rebounds per game, the second highest on the team.

The Pirates have two other players in double digits, senior guards Al-Amir Dawes and Dre Davis. Dawes is averaging 14.6 points per game, while Davis averages 14.0 points per game with 5.7 rebounds per game. 

Seton Hall has been labeled the “Giant Killers,” due to wins over Marquette and UConn, which are both top-five teams in the nation.

The Pirates’ success has come from their rebounding and rim protection. They average 35.2 rebounds per game, which is 52nd in the nation. They also average 4.7 blocks per game, which is 41st in the nation. 

They will look to continue this stifling defense in their matchup against the Wildcats and give their playmakers the opportunity to take over the game.

A Dynamic Villanova Lineup

Villanova currently sits in sixth place in the Big East with an even 8-8 conference record and a 15-12 overall record. It is coming off a disappointing 78–54 blowout loss on Feb. 24 to UConn, the third-best team in the nation, and a 75–47 win over Georgetown on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

There was a recent change to the Villanova starting lineup in its loss against UConn. Graduate student forward Tyler Burton, who has been struggling on offense lately, was on the bench. Senior guard Hakim Hart took his place.

Two Wildcats missed Tuesday’s win over Georgetown: senior guard TJ Bamba with a facial fracture, and junior guard Jordan Longino with a non-COVID illness.

Series History

The Wildcats have already faced the Pirates and Friars once this season. They defeated the Friars, 68-50, on Feb. 4 and took down Seton Hall, 80-54, on Feb. 11. 

Villanova has had much success against both teams throughout the history of the franchise. It is 29-17 all-time against Providence and 33-11 against Seton Hall. It will look to continue this success in these next games against its Big East rivals as it makes a push for the NCAA tournament.

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