The premier matchup of the Big East quarterfinals might be an afternoon battle between UConn and Providence. The Huskies have bounced back from midseason struggles and look like they can win the conference, while Providence is still on somewhat shaky ground when it comes to an NCAA Tournament bid.
UConn is a 7-point favorite, with the over/under for this game 145 points. Let’s make predictions and take a look at why the Friars can keep up with the Huskies.
Providence vs. UConn Prediction
I don’t think these teams are separated by as much as the line indicates. Both are going to need their frontcourts to step up. UConn has more outside shooting options, but the inconsistency of that group makes it tough to rely on them.
Bryce Hopkins and Ed Croswell should be able to counteract Adama Sanogo close to the basket, and it’s going to be on the Friars’ defense to keep the Huskies’ collection of volatile shooters from going wild.
This line feels like a slight overreaction to Providence’s ugly finish to the season. That was uncharacteristic for an Ed Cooley team, and the Friars proved earlier in the season that they absolutely have the talent to hang with the Big East’s best.
I like UConn’s chances of making a deep run later this month, but this tournament should be loaded with close games. Providence has a good chance to keep this one close.
Providence vs. UConn Prediction: Providence +7
Providence vs. UConn Odds
UConn enters as a 7-point favorite, sitting at -314 on the moneyline. The over/under is 145 points.
Oddsmakers are believing in the Huskies again. UConn was a road favorite at a rising Villanova team last weekend and proved them right. Will Dan Hurley’s team roll again?
Providence vs. UConn Key Matchups
Here are some key matchups that could decide Providence vs. UConn.
Adama Sanogo vs. Providence Size
The biggest offensive threats on both of these teams are in the frontcourt. UConn has plenty of talent surrounding big man Adama Sanogo, but his performance has been critical for the Huskies due to the inconsistency of their outside shooters. Sanogo will again be key on Thursday, especially considering he didn’t look great the two times he faced Providence in the regular season.
Sanogo posted 11 and 7 in a January loss to the Friars, then 16 and 5 in a February win. Those are solid numbers, but UConn needs All-American performances from Sanogo to win games this month.
Providence is a terrific rebounding team with Bryce Hopkins, Ed Croswell, and Devin Carter – a major reason for my Providence vs. UConn prediction. Sanogo won’t be able to easily dominate the boards and won’t have an easy path to the rim, so it’s going to take a great effort. At the same time, Hopkins had zero rebounds last time these two met, so it goes both ways.
Providence vs. UConn Three-Point Defense
You can tell by Providence’s size advantage that they do more of their offensive work inside the three-point arc, but it’s going to take a complete team effort to keep up with a dangerous UConn offense – especially if the Huskies’ size is a problem for Hopkins and Croswell.
The Friars shoot a solid 35.5% from deep. Can they sustain that mark against a terrific UConn defense? Huskies opponents are shooting just 30% from beyond the arc this season, and they shut down Villanova this past weekend.
Providence can’t win this game without at least some help from three-point shooters Noah Locke and Jared Bynum. As good as UConn’s defense is, both Locke and Bynum posted an impressive performance against the Huskies earlier this season.