NBC Sports Bracket
Match-up: #7 Virginia Tech Hokies vs. #10 Providence Friars
Here’s an intriguing tilt out of the NBC Sports projection. As the #7 seed in the South region, the Hokies would battle the #10 seed Providence Friars of the Big East. The Friars finished tied for third in the final regular season standings, sitting at 20-12 overall and 10-8 in the Big East. The Friars fell in the Quarterfinals of their conference tournament against a very good Creighton team, ending their play until the NCAA Tournament.
The Friars, much like VCU, do not have the great size in the frontcourt that has given the Hokies so many issues throughout ACC play. Providence’s biggest player is 6’9″ freshman forward Kalif Young, who only averages 13.3 minutes per game for the Friars.
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Providence makes up for their lack of size by shooting the lights out of the gym. As a team, the Friars shoot 45% from the floor and a modest 37% from beyond-the-arc. Four of their players average at least 10 points per game or more, with the leading scorer being their 6’8″ forward Rodney Bullock, who averages 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
The Friars are efficient offensively in the halfcourt, which always bodes well in tournament play when things begin to breakdown. Guard Kyron Cartwright has proven to be capable at breaking his defender down late in the shot clock, while also becoming a great facilitator for the offense as well.
Cartwright enters the tournament averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 assists per game, and is the leader of the offense at the point guard position.
Providence picks their spots on when to run, and average around 70 points per game on the season. It would be a bit of a slower pace than a game against VCU would present, but it would be a great challenge for the Hokies nonetheless.