Butler vs Providence
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
NEW YORK – Providence seeks its third win over Butler in a span of just over two weeks when the eighth-seeded Friars take on the ninth-seeded Bulldogs in the first round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York on Wednesday. Providence, which reached the finals of the event last season as a No. 5 seed, knocked off Butler on the road in overtime Feb. 26 and finished the regular season with an 83-70 victory in a rematch at home Saturday.
Those wins helped the Friars put together a 3-2 run to end the regular season and avoid finishing alone in last place in the conference. “It’s good going into New York with momentum because we feel that we can win it,” freshman guard A.J. Reeves told reporters. “We just have to continue to play how we’re playing. The thing is basketball is a game of runs. If a team makes a run we have to stay together and make a better run.”
The Bulldogs once had designs on an at-large NCAA Tournament bid but finished the regular season with a 1-4 slide. Butler is just 1-5 in Big East tourney play, picking up their first win last season to reach the semifinals before bowing out to eventual champion Villanova.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT BUTLER (16-15): The Bulldogs had a couple of wins over SEC teams during a 9-4 non-conference slate and then split their first six conference games while eyeing a fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth, but it’s been a downward trend ever since. “Circumstances are what they are at this point,” coach LaVall Jordan told the media after the recent loss to the Friars. “You’re just going to have to suit up and bring your best fight – I didn’t think that was nearly our best fight – and play good basketball at the same time. You have to accept the reality of what it is and step up and compete.” Junior guard Kamar Baldwin leads the way with 17.5 points per game, including 27 in the overtime loss to Providence last month, and was an All-Big East second team selection.
ABOUT PROVIDENCE (17-14): Reeves, who missed nine games in the middle of the season due to a foot injury, has good reason to be confident entering the tournament after scoring 24 points against Butler last week. Junior guard Alpha Diallo, a New York City native, joined Baldwin on the All-Big East second team after leading the team in scoring (16.1), rebounds (8.2), assists (3.1) and steals (1.5). Senior guard Isaiah Jackson is averaging 18.3 points – nearly double his average for the season – over his last three games and made all three of his 3-point attempts in the recent win over the Bulldogs.
1. Bulldogs senior G Paul Jorgensen, who averaged 11.8 points, was named Big East Sixth Man of the Year.
2. Friars junior G Maliek White played a season-high 35 minutes and tied his career high with six assists versus Butler on Saturday.
3. Providence has won 10 of 13 matchups since Butler joined the Big East, including a 74-60 triumph in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament in 2016.