To help Tar Heel fans prepare for UNC’s second round matchup with Providence, we asked Harrison Malkin of Big East Coast Bias to answer a couple of questions for us about the Friars. The questions are in bold, and Malkin’s responses are underneath.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Providence team?
Providence is a great rebounding team with LaDontae Henton and Kadeem Batts averaging over seven rebounds a game. In addition, the team has Bryce Cotton, who is one of the best players in the country, in my opinion. This guard is versatile, a workhorse and one of the best scorers in the nation. He has averaged, 39.9 minutes per game, 21.4 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. Providence’s weakness in this game, might be what worked so well for them against Creighton, which is their zone defense. UNC has Marcus Paige, who is one of the best three-point shooters in College Basketball, and they will play very well against the Friars if they continue playing zone defense.
What would you say were the best wins and worst losses for Providence this season?
Providence’s best wins have been against Big East teams, Creighton and Xavier. Providence has defeated Creighton twice and both wins have been by at least seven points. Providence has also beat Xavier, a team that has played well this season and is in March Madness.
Providence has won seven of their last nine games and recently won the Big East Championship in Madison Square Garden. How has Providence improved this season to get to where they are now?
Providence has improved this season because of the senior leadership and senior players, Kadeem Batts and Bryce Cotton. These players have led this team and have played very well.
Which matchups are you most concerned about for Providence when they face UNC on Friday?
The most concerning matchup for Providence would be Bryce Cotton vs. Marcus Paige. Cotton is one of the best scorers in the nation and Paige is one of the best defenders in the nation. There is a good chance Paige will give the Providence guard some problems in this game.
How much will Providence’s lack of depth factor in to their NCAA Tournament run?
Providence does have a lack of depth and I do think it will hinder their success in tournament, but I think individual bigs on the Friars will carry them in the game against UNC.
Who is your pick? Providence or UNC and why?
I think Providence will win this game 60-66. Providence has been very hot recently and won the Big East Tournament. The team will carry this momentum into the game against North Carolina.