Providence Friars vs. Villanova Wildcats Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

Two teams with identical Big East records will clash to begin the final week of the conference’s regular season when Providence hosts Villanova on Saturday afternoon.

The Friars (18-10, 9-8) are looking to quickly move past a Wednesday to forget, having seen a three-game win streak end in a 91-69 blowout road loss to a now-No. 5 Marquette team that they upset earlier in the season.

The duo of Devin Carter and Josh Oduro combined for 30 of the Friars’ 69 points against Marquette. Carter had a game-high 18 points and added five assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Providence coach Kim English was not happy with the overall team performance.

“Disappointing effort for our group,” English said. “You look across the stat sheet, a lot of things are pretty equal (to Marquette). … But back to the word ‘effort.’ … They deserved to win in easy fashion.”

English blamed the loss on a lack of focus, too.

“I thought that our focus bothered us most,” he said. “That’s both sides of the ball.”

The Wildcats (16-12, 9-8) are coming off an opposite effort, emerging on the winning side of a 75-47 contest against Georgetown on Tuesday.

Villanova allowed former Providence coach Ed Cooley’s team to register just 12 field goals, and Eric Dixon led the Wildcats with 22 points.

“I was really proud of the way our guys came out defensively,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “Probably more than any game this year, we came out, set the tone defensively and kept it up for a full 40 minutes. That’s what we’ve got to continue to do.”

Hakim Hart made his second consecutive start after TJ Bamba suffered a facial fracture in last Saturday’s loss at UConn and was not in uniform against Georgetown.

Bamba is Villanova’s second-leading scorer with 10.5 points per game.

“It’s a day-to-day thing,” Neptune said.

Dixon averages 16.2 points per contest for Villanova. On the Providence side, Carter ranks second in the Big East with 19.3 points per game.

Villanova won 68-50 in the two teams’ Feb. 4 meeting in Philadelphia. Dixon’s 12 points set the pace for the Wildcats, while Oduro had 18 and Carter 17 for the Friars.

–Field Level Media

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