Providence Friars 8-6 (0-2) vs. Syracuse Orange: 14-1 (2-0)
When: Wed, Jan 9 7:00 PM ET
Where: Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, RI
Syracuse: Brandon Triche 15 PPG
Providence: Bryce Cotton 21.3 PPG
The Syracuse Orange enter the matchup with the Providence Friars riding a four-game winning streak and have started the Big East portion of the schedule 2-0. The Orange will look to rebound from a poor performance in their last outing against South Florida.
Though victorious, Syracuse shot just 36.5 percent from the field and the 55 points scored was its lowest output of the year. Bad games can be expected throughout the course of a season, but 'Cuse needs to make sure it doesn't stumble in winnable games.
Syracuse has fallen to 58th in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting just 46 percent per contest. That's going to have to improve as the year goes on.
Senior guard Brandon Triche has been leading the Orange on offense, scoring 25 and 20 points in the last two games. Triche is joined in the backcourt by sophomore standout Michael Carter-Williams, who leads the nation with 9.8 assists per game.
Big East Sixth Man of the Year candidate James Southerland paces the bench scoring with 13.7 a game and provides a great option for head coach Jim Boeheim.
Providence comes in having lost four straight and is winless in the Big East. A poor shooting team, the Friars make just 43 percent from the field and average 69 points.
Junior guard Bryce Cotton leads the scoring with 21.3 points a game and is coming off a 20-point performance in the last game against DePaul. He could present some issues for the Syracuse defense.
Down low, the Friars are led by a pair of forwards who can both rebound and score. LaDontae Henton pulls down 8.2 a game while Kadeem Batts grabs 7.4 boards. Both players score over 15 points a game.
Syracuse will look to play tough down low and limit the opportunities of Batts and Henton. The Orange boast their own muscle down low, ranking fourth in the country in rebounding.
The frontcourt rotation of C.J. Fair, DaJuan Coleman, Rakeem Christmas, Baye Keita and James Southerland should be able to control the Friars down low. That should be an interesting matchup to keep an eye on during the course of the game.
Clearly, the No. 7 Orange are the better team and will look to escape Rhode Island with the victory. However, this is the Big East, where nothing comes easy.
That being said, look for Syracuse to jump out to an early lead and shut down the Providence offense with the 2-3 zone.
Final Score Prediction: Syracuse 81 Providence 68