PHILADELPHIA PENNSYLVANIA – Coming into today, Providence had built some momentum. They had won four straight games against ranked teams while winning their last three games. That left the Friars nearing the right side of the bubble but with a 58-54 win at a really good Villanova team officially proved that they have arrived.
In order to secure this win, the Friars needed an outstanding defensive performance to happen and some luck. The defense was spectacular while, Villanova went 5-30 from three in this game. While the defense was spectacular, Luwane Pipkins stepping up and scoring 27 points proved to be critical as they pulled off the upset. With Villanova rallying, it was Pipkins who made two tough jumpers to keep them at bay. Maliek White continued to play well as he scored 15 off the bench to help the Friars. Despite suffering through a thigh injury, Villanova led the Wildcats with 13 points.
A major factor for Providence not only in this game had certainly been the emergence of Luwane Pipkins and Maliek White. ”Coach Cooley trusts me a lot more now,” Pipkins said about his improvement. ”I’m just trying to win games and be the guy he brought me here to be.” With Pipkins playing well, this Providence team certainly looks like not only an NCAA Tournament team but also one that could win the Big East title.
This was the Friars’ last road game, coming up they will play Xavier on Wednesday and DePaul on Saturday. This is a stretch that the Friars should be able to continue their winning ways. For Villanova, they now are two games behind in the Big East race. They will have to win at Seton Hall and at Georgetown to have a shot at a share of the regular-season title this week.
Bracketology Effect: For Providence, they move from the last four to the last four byes following this win. If they can sweep their next week’s games, they should be in the NCAA Tournament. As for Villanova, they remain on the three-line following this win.
Betting Effect: Covered: Providence +8 Under 133.5