Men's College Basketball
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Providence (16-7) at Xavier (15-7)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 3 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Cintas Center (10,250) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: FS1. Home Record: Providence 11-2, Xavier 12-1. Away Record: Providence 3-3, Xavier 2-3. Neutral Record: Providence 2-2, Xavier 1-3. Conference Record: Providence 6-4, Xavier 5-4. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.

GAME NOTES: The Xavier Musketeers will try to stop a recent skid when they bring in the Providence Friars for a Big East Conference clash at the Cintas Center.

Xavier has dropped three straight games, including an 81-72 decision to Providence on Jan. 25. The Musketeers' recent woes have dropped them to 15-7 overall, including a 5-4 mark in conference play, which has them a half-game back of third place in the Big East standings behind the Friars. Xavier visits Butler and Marquette in its next two outings.

Providence has lost two of its three games since matching up with Xavier the first time. The Friars' most recent loss was the most perplexing, as they were defeated in an 86-76 final by an inconsistent St. John's team. Providence is still a solid 16-7 overall and 6-4 in conference, with eight games left on the schedule, the next of which is at Georgetown.

When Providence defeated Xavier a two weeks ago, it evened the short-lived series at 2-2.

Despite 32 points from Bryce Cotton, Providence couldn't slow down St. John's enough to earn a victory, even at home. The Friars allowed the Red Storm to shoot at an even 50 percent from the floor, while turning in an effort of just 38.1 percent themselves.

Cotton (21.3 ppg) is one of the most dangerous shooters in the Big East. He is second in the league in scoring, behind Creighton's Doug McDermott, while shooting 41.2 percent from the floor. Cotton gets a great deal of his production from 3-point range, as he illustrated against St. John's by matching a season-high with six treys. The main support for Cotton comes from the frontcourt, where LaDontae Henton (13.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Tyler Harris (12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Kadeem Batts (12.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) all make their living.

Xavier also struggled offensively in its most recent setback, which was an 81-58 loss to sixth-ranked Villanova. The Musketeers only connected on 37.7 percent from the floor, while turning the ball over 16 times. In contrast, the Wildcats had only seven giveaways.

Semaj Christon (17.1 ppg, 4 apg) led the way yet again for Xavier in the loss to Villanova. The 6-foot-3 guard finished with a team-high 17 points in the contest, marking the eighth straight game he has had at least 17 points. Christon's partner in crime in the backcourt is Dee Davis (7.5 ppg, 4.7 apg), who may not score much, but remains an important part of the team's offensive effort as he is second in the league in assists. Matt Stainbrook (11.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and Justin Martin (10.5 ppg) are the anchors down low, as well as the only other players on the roster averaging in double figures.

Xavier desperately needs a win, as it has very few home games left. If Christon and Davis continue their strong work in the backcourt and Martin and Stainbrook can handle Providence's frontline, the Musketeers will end their losing ways.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 74, Providence 68

02/08 10:35:32 ET

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