Providence Friars vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 13th 2024

Two Big East teams looking to return to the winning track will meet Saturday when Providence hosts Xavier.

Providence (11-5, 2-3) is on a three-game skid that coincides with losing Bryce Hopkins to a season-ending left ACL tear during a loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 3.

Providence surely misses Hopkins, who averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season, but Devin Carter stepped up with a career-high 31 points along with 13 rebounds and four steals in a 75-73 loss at St. John’s on Wednesday.

“He’s really taken a step up from a leadership standpoint,” first-year Providence coach Kim English said of Carter. “He’s really upped his aggression, which we love and have always wanted him to do. I wish we had a few more Devin Carters.”

Carter has three straight double-doubles and six this season.

Two other Friars scored in double figures against the Red Storm in Jayden Pierre, who also netted a career-high with 17 points, and Ticket Gaines with 11.

The Friars have dropped from the AP Top 25 as a result of the recent stretch, but English said his team will be able to improve from the close setbacks. Wednesday marked their third loss by four points or less.

“It’s a growth mindset,” English said. “We had plenty of opportunities in (the St. John’s) game that we will learn from.”

Xavier (7-8, 1-3) suffered its second straight loss in an 80-75 decision against No. 4 UConn on Wednesday. The Musketeers took a brief second-half lead before UConn responded with a 25-10 run over the next 11:17 to win.

Quincy Olivari provided his sixth 20-point effort of the season against the Huskies, scoring a game-high 24 points.

Coach Sean Miller will look for a better effort out of his Xavier squad, which shot just 35.9 percent from the field and 7 of 21 from 3-point range.

“They shouldn’t be able to break the game open the way they did against us,” Miller said. “I thought that was the biggest disappointment in the game for us. It can’t happen. If a couple guys are jogging back, it’s a lack of effort, that’s unacceptable.”

The Musketeers did win the rebounding battle 42-30 and scored 15 second-chance points.

–Field Level Media

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