Providence (17-12) at Connecticut (19-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 12 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gampel Pavilion (10,167) -- Storrs, Connecticut.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Providence 12-4, UConn 12-3. Away Record:
Providence 4-6, UConn 4-5. Neutral Record: Providence 1-2, UConn 3-2.
Conference Record: Providence 9-8, UConn 9-8. Series Record: Connecticut
GAME NOTES: The Big East Conference regular season comes to a close on
Saturday, as the Connecticut Huskies host the Providence Friars in a key
matchup at Gampel Pavilion.
Both teams are currently sitting with 9-8 league records. In the 13 seasons
since the Big East went to an 18-game schedule, 94 percent of teams that won
at least 10 conference games went on to make the NCAA Tournament field.
Connecticut was an 82-79 road winner in overtime when these teams first met on
Jan. 31. The Huskies lead the all-time series, 40-25.
Ever since that loss to UConn, Providence has reeled off seven wins in its
last eight contests. Most recently, the Friars notched a 76-66 decision over
Seton Hall on Tuesday night in their final regular-season home game.
UConn has spiraled in the opposite direction of late and enters this final
game hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss. The Huskies were in action on
Wednesday night, as they fell at South Florida in a 65-51 final.
The Friars committed only eight turnovers in their win over Seton Hall, and
they also enjoyed a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Starting forwards
Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton were instrumental in the paint, as both
recorded double-doubles. Batts tallied a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds,
while Henton finished with 15 points and 10 boards. Henton has really
blossomed in his sophomore season, and his 11 double-doubles on the season
ranks second in the stacked Big East. Bryce Cotton, who scored 15 points
against Seton Hall, leads the conference in scoring with 20.0 ppg. Cotton is a
79-percent free-throw shooter and a 39 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
Batts (15.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Henton (13.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Vincent Council
(10.2 ppg) round out the team's double-digit scorers.
Leading the way for UConn is junior guard Shabazz Napier, a 41 percent shooter
from the perimeter who averages 17.1 ppg. Ryan Boatright is next in line with
15.1 ppg, followed by DeAndre Daniels with 11.9 ppg and Omar Calhoun with 11.1
ppg. The Huskies are among the Big East's smaller teams as evidenced by their
three-guard lineup and -3.6 rebounding margin. However, they do top the
conference in free throw percentage (.748), an area that often dictates wins
and losses this time of year. But in Tuesday's setback, they struggled
mightily from the floor with a 35.1 percent effort, which included a 3-of-20
showing from 3-point range. Daniels posted 23 points and 10 rebounds, although
Calhoun had a particularly rough outing as he made only 1-of-14 field goals.
Playing against a USF squad that entered the game just 2-14 in league play,
the Huskies simply did not appear to play with the necessary focus to win a
Big East road game.
It is now-or-never time for both of these squads. Although Providence is
playing better at the moment, the Huskies will be on their home floor, and the
program certainly has a long track record of elevating its level of play come
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 79, Providence 77
03/09 10:39:51 ET
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