After struggling to make it out of the first round, the Arizona Wildcats take on the Providence Friars at 9:30 PM MST on Friday night.
Providence took down Evansville to set up this matchup behind some big games from Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. To find out more about these two guys, as well as how the Friars matchup with the Wildcats, we asked Mike Hopkins of Big East Coast Bias some questions about the team he's most familiar with:
Things we learned in Santa Clara win
This ugly game will serve as a learning experience for the Wildcats
1. What is the biggest strength of Kris Dunn's game?
Mike: Kris Dunn's biggest strength is his ability to control a game. Dunn does pretty much everything on the court for the Friars. He has a 6'8 wingspan and loves to use it in passing lanes on the defensive end. On the offensive end he has gotten much better about taking care of the ball and he can basically get to the rim whenever he wants. He has sick vision when defenses throw extra bodies his way and he is a streaky shooter at this point. He got his shooting going in the second half against Evansville last night.
2. Ben Bentil had a big night on Thursday. What's been the key to his success over the past couple of games?
Mike: Ben Bentil is at his best when he slows down and plays under control. He's usually good for a blown layup or two every game because he appears to be rushing for whatever reason. When he slows down and let's the game come to him he has been most successful. It certainly helps that Dunn draws much of the attention and has the ability to feed Bentil in spots that give him a good chance to score the ball.
3. Are the Friars good at playing zone defense? Arizona can't play offense against a zone this year.
Mike: Providence has shown a pretty solid 2-3 zone at times this season. The Friars aren't big inside but they have a lot of length on the wings and in the backcourt. They played zone to open the game last night but D.J. Balentine quickly shot them out of it. Arizona isn't the shooting team that Evansville is though so I could see Providence sink into a zone to try to force the Wildcats to play from the outside while also mitigating some potential foul issues.
4. What are your predictions for this game?
Mike: I think this will be a very entertaining game and will be tight throughout. If Providence is going to win it will have to be on the back of Kris Dunn -- both scoring and dishing for open looks -- but I'm not sure Dunn will be able to do enough to carry the Friars to victory. I'm predicting a 73-71 Arizona win.
Thank you to Mike for taking some time out of his holiday weekend to answer my annoying questions. You can follow Mike on Twitter @pcbb1917 and be sure to check out Big East Coast Bias for all of your Big East needs