#6 Villanova Wildcats (25-2) vs. #25 Providence Friars (19-8)
When: Tuesday, February 24, 2015, at 7 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Result of Previous Meeting: Villanova won 74-68 at Providence on February 11
Key Players for Providence: #23 LaDontae Henton (6-6, 215) Sr., F; #3 Kris Dunn (6-3, 205) So., G; #25 Tyler Harris (6-9, 223) Jr., F
Scouting Report: The Friars find themselves in the top 25 after a week that featured a blowout win over DePaul. Providence rallies behind their leading man, LaDontae Henton. Henton has been an important piece for the Friars in each of his four years on campus. However, he played second fiddle to Bryce Cotton in his first three years at Providence. With Cotton gone, this has been his team. Henton has relished his new role. He is a contender for the Big East Player of the Year Award. Not only are his 20.6 points per game the highest in all of the Big East, but also tied for eighth best out of all Division-I players. Henton is in pursuit of the 2,000 career points milestone. He currently has 1,946 and if he continues playing the way he does, he should be there in no time. He enters tomorrow night coming off of four straight 20+ point games. Henton is an excellent scorer than can score from anywhere. He delivers when his team needs him and wants the ball in his hands. No one on this Providence team comes close to his number of shot attempts. He’s also a solid rebounder, leading the team with an average of six boards per game. Kris Dunn is an all-around threat. He can score, lock you down on defense, collect rebounds, and dish out nice passes to his teammates. While his 7.4 assists are the best in all of the Big East, his 4.2 turnovers per game makes you think twice. His high turnover rate is the one glaring flaw to his game. Other than that, he’s an ideal asset to have on a basketball team. He attacks the basket often, but has a respectable three point shot. On defense, he causes problems for opposing teams. He leads the conference in steals, with 2.8 per game. Rounding off Providence’s offensive weapons is Tyler Harris. Harris is the third and final player to average 10 or more points per game. In fact, he’s right on the line, with 10 points per game. Harris is not in the starting lineup, but he has enough minutes that he might as well call himself one. He provides a spark off the bench. Like Dunn, he can drive his way inside, while being able to take and make the three. Also keep an eye out for Carson Desrosiers. Desrosiers is one of two seven footers for Providence. He is more prominent as a post defender than someone who will put up points. He averages a solid 2.6 blocks per game. The other seven footer, freshman Paschal Chukwu, stands in at a hulking 7-foot-2. Chukwu doesn’t get that many minutes, but he did have that vicious putback dunk in the first game these two teams played in earlier this season.
Outlook: Another season has flown by. Sure there are more games to be played, but this will be the final one at the Pavilion until next year. It’s Senior Night for the Wildcats. Providence started to rally back into the game towards the end of their first meeting but time was their greatest enemy. It was a little too late. The Friars won’t have the magic of the Dunkin Donuts Center this time, while the Wildcats will try to complete another undefeated season in the Pavilion. Providence received five out of their eight losses in road games. Meanwhile, Villanova hasn’t lost in the Pavilion since the 2012-2013 season. I believe they have what it takes to make it another flawless record at home. The Wildcats did some questionable things towards the end of the Marquette game, but those miscues should be resolved by now.
To Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston – thanks for the memories, go get ’em.