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No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Providence preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 6 Kentucky and No. 11 Providence face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

Kentucky Wildcats forward Chris Livingston (24) dribbles against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Bridgestone Arena. Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 6 seed Kentucky Wildcats will face the No. 11 seed Providence Friars on Friday, March 17.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Game date: Friday, March 17
Game time: 7 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Greensboro, NC

Odds: Kentucky -3

No. 6 Kentucky

Kentucky stumbled out of the gates this season, but the Wildcats are very much back in the national title picture after winning five of their last six regular season games. Oscar Tshiebwe has been scary, averaging 16.5 points and 13.1 rebounds per game and can simply take over games. Guard Antonio Reeves has also emerged as a potential primary scoring threat, allowing the Wildcats to space the floor around Tshiebwe.

Kentucky won’t enter the tournament as juggernauts after being upset by 15-seed St. Peter’s last year. As with any John Calipari team, though, the Wildcats should not be taken lightly. The team’s overall talent level is down compared to years past, but this group is clicking at the right time and could very easily go on a deep run.

Record: 21-11, 12-6 SEC

Coach: John Calipari

Qualifier: At-large

KenPom overall: 27

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 14

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 75

Pace: 251

PPP overall: 1.086

Leading scorer: Oscar Tshiebwe

NET: 25

Quad 1 record: 6-7

Against The Spread: 15-17-0

Over Total: 20-12-0

No. 11 Providence

As the pride of America’s smallest state, the Providence Friars have put together back-to-back seasons with over 20 wins for the first time since 2015-2016. In 2022-23, the Friars managed to crack the AP Top 25. Within the Big East, Providence held their own and finished in fourth, playing to a 13-7 record (21-11 overall).

The Friars are also coached extremely well. Since arriving in 2011, head coach Ed Cooley has morphed Providence into one of the perennial teams of the Big East while surfacing as a NCAA Tournament mainstay. In a dozen years at his post, Coach Cooley has gotten the Friars in the Big Dance seven times. Be on the lookout for the Friars.

Record: 21-11, 13-7 Big East

Coach: Ed Cooley

Qualifier: At-Large

KenPom overall: 44

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 17

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 107

Pace: 195

PPP overall: 1.094

Leading scorer: Bryce Hopkins

NET: 55

Quad 1 record: 3-8

Against The Spread: 18-14

Over Total: 17-15