This afternoon, the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Providence Friars of the Big East Conference. The Friars will be meeting Kentucky for the second time in a row. Last season, Kentucky played Providence at the Barclays Center in a neutral court arrangement. This season, the Friars travel to storied Rupp Arena for their first true road game of the 2014-15 season.
Providence always fields a quality team, and this year will be no exception. Providence has yet to lose this season, although like Kentucky so far, there have been relatively few major challenges. Perhaps their biggest challenge will be having their best players healthy, which we’ll get to later
Location: Providence, RI
Conference: Big East
Head Coach: Ed Cooley (Since 2011)
NCAA Appearances: 16
Most recent NCAA appearance: 2014
Most recent NCAA win: 1997
Last season’s record: 23-12 (10-8 Conf.)
Source: Basketball State
Season so far for Providence:
Season record: 6-0 (0-0)
So far, the Friars have had a relatively easy early schedule with the exception of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, whom they defeated at a neutral site. They also defeated the Florida State Seminoles at a neutral venue.
This will be the third meeting between Providence and Kentucky, and Kentucky is 2-0 against them right now. The Wildcats won handily last season in Brooklyn, and the other game was the 1976 NIT in New York where Kentucky won by one, 79-78.
|24||Kyron Cartwright||S||FR||5-11||185||Guard||Compton, Calif./Compton High School '14|
|32||Junior Lomomba||S+||SO||6-5||200||Guard||Montreal, Quebec/Madison Memorial '12|
|33||Carson Desrosiers||S*||SR||7-0||250||Forward||Windham, N.H./Central Catholic '10|
|25||Tyler Harris||S**||JR||6-9||223||Forward||Dix Hills, N.Y./St. Benedict's Prep '11|
|23||LaDontae Henton||S**||SR||6-6||215||Forward||Lansing, Mich./Eastern High School '11|
|0||Ben Bentil||MR||FR||6-8||230||Forward||Wilmington,Del./St. Andrew's School '14|
|3||Kris Dunn||MR*||SO||6-3||205||Guard||New London, Conn./New London High School '12|
|22||Ted Bancroft||R*@||GS||6-6||215||Guard||Marion, Mass./Bishop Stang High School '10|
|5||Rodney Bullock||R||FR||6-7||220||Forward||Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan High School '13|
|14||Tyree Chambers||R||FR||6-2||182||Guard||Bayreuth, Germany/Graf-Münster-Gymnasium `13|
|13||Paschal Chukwu||R||FR||7-2||226||Center||Wesport, Conn./Fairfield Prep '14|
|21||Jalen Lindsey||R||FR||6-7||195||Guard||Murfreesboro, Tenn./Huntington Prep '14|
|34||Tom Planek||R||FR||6-6||195||Forward||Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick High School '14|
|12||Casey Woodring||R*||SO||6-2||180||Guard||Darien, Conn./Cushing Academy '13|
Source: Providence College website
|* Based on votes received|
Providence Team Notes
- There is really nothing that Providence does not do well. In particular, they are a good shooting team.
- If there is one weakness for the Friars, it is 2-point shot defense. That’s a bad weakness to have against UK.
- Providence is not a great free-throw shooting team.
- Providence does not take a lot of threes, and they shoot only slightly above the Division I average.
Providence Player notes
- Ladonte Henton is the leading scorer with 24.3 ppg and leading rebounder with 5.8 rpg.
- Kris Dunn averages 7.4 assists and 3.4 turnovers per game.
- Ted Bancroft and Jalen Lindsey are both 3-point snipers off the bench. Henton is also a very good 3-point shooter.
- Carson Derosiers is 19th in block percentage in the nation. That’s better than Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein.
- Kentucky: None
- Providence: Jalen Lindsey and Kris Dunn both questionable for UK game. Rodney Bullock is out for the season with a torn ACL.
- Kyron Cartwright vs. Andrew Harrison/Tyler Ulis — Cartwright will be a tough match up for either man — he is small and quick, and a very good passer. Ulis is a better defensive matchup, while Andrew gets the nod offensively due to his tremendous size and strength.
- Junior Lomomba vs. Aaron Harrison/Devin Booker — Lomomba has good size, and this will be a good matchup for both Kentucky players. Lomoba is only a sophomore, and doesn’t have near the experience of Andrew nor the skill and speed of Booker.
- Ladonte Henton vs. Alex Poythress/Trey Lyles — This is a very even matchup. Henton is a terrific player, easily the equal of either Poythress or Lyles, and he is more experienced than either one.
- Tyler Harris vs. Willie Cauley-Stein/Marcus Lee — Harris is a skilled and dangerous player, but both Lee and WCS have the athletic advantage. Harris is a better scorer than either one of them.
- Carson Derosiers vs. Dakari Johnson/Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. — Derosiers is seriously big, as big as either Johnson or Towns. I think Kentucky has the length and athletic advantage, though.
Bentil and Dunn both bring different strengths to the game — Dunn is the quick playmaker while Bentil is mostly a rebounding guy.
Kentucky is so deep, though, it’s nearly impossible to out-bench them.
This game looks like a close contest on paper, but it isn’t likely to be. The biggest problem that Providence faces is that they will want to run their stuff, and that stuff happens to fall under Kentucky’s strengths. That will make it hard for Providence and they will have to be concerned about shot-blocking by Kentucky a lot.
The Friars are not accustomed to jacking up a large number of threes, nor playing with the kind of spacing it takes to beat Kentucky.
The Friars also like to play man-to-man defense, and although that’s not a problem with most schools, it will be a major one against Kentucky. Kentucky lives to take you off the bound, and if Providence mans up, they are going to be at a major disadvantage.
Providence’s best hope against Ketnucky is to slow down the game and try to pick their spots. They are a good but not great free-throw shooting team, so they will have to make many more than they are used to in order to seriously challenge the Wildcats.