Providence needs to win this week and that starts with a strong performance from point guard and team leader Kris Dunn. A former four-star recruit from Connecticut, Dunn has had a fine season and is averaging 17.1 points, 6.6 assists, 5.9 rebounds and three steals per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and just over 36.5 percent from three-point range.
However, Dunn is also prone to turnovers and is averaging 3.5 per game this season. He is also in a bit of a rough stretch. He’s averaging 17.6 points over his last five games, but has shot just 40 percent from the field and just 28 percent from downtown, plus 3.2 turnovers per game.
It just so happens that the Friars are also having a rough stretch, having lost three of four and tumbled from No. 11 in the rankings all the way down to No. 23 in just two weeks, and Providence really needs Dunn to snap out of it as it faces a must-win game against Xavier later today. The Musketeers are proving to be the best team in the Big East not called Villanova and already defeated Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center back in January, and Round 2 is taking place at Cincinnati’s Cintas Center.
Simply put, this game is an absolute must-win for the Friars and Dunn needs to be the one who leads them to victory despite the fact that he has become a John Wall-esque playmaker with a fine go-to guy in power forward Ben Bentil. As hard as it may be for him, Dunn needs to be a little selfish in this game. The key to beating Xavier is keeping pace with their strong guards and locking down their bigs, and Dunn’s overall approach and basketball IQ are enough that he can take over the Friars’ offense without putting the outcome of the game at stake.
So long as he chooses his shots wisely and gets his teammates involved on an as-needed basis, Dunn should be able to lead Providence to victory.
Otherwise, the Friars are going to need a lot of help to draw a significant seed come tournament time.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports