The Friars are kicking off their season Saturday night at 7PM when the Northeastern Huskies visit The Dunk.
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
Coach: Bill Coen (3rd season)
Record Last Seaon: 14-17 (9-9 CAA, 6th)
Away Record: 6-13
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After rebuilding in his first two years as head coach, Bill Coen now has a strong veteran team with 5 returning starters (hmm, sound familiar Friar fans?) and 11 overall returning letterman. Despite the young teams the last few years, the Huskies managed to put up .500 records in Conference play. This year, they expect to compete with the top teams in the league, including VCU, George Mason, and Old Dominion.
Last season the team got a ton of experience playing away from their home court, playing 21 road or neutral games (6th most in Division I basketball). Their away record wasn’t that great, but they did play some quality non-conference opponents on the road, including Maryland, UCONN, BC, and Syracuse. They definitely will not be intimidated by the scene at The Dunk.
NU already has two games under their belt because they played in the “2KSports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer” preseason tournament. They defeated IUPUI 73-60 in the first round fairly easily, but got destroyed by Michigan 76-56. The Huskies had real trouble with Michigan’s zone and shot a terrible 17-58 (29.3%) from the field.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Matt Janning, Junior G
Matt Janning is a 6-4 guard from Minnesota, and the team captain. He averaged 16.1 PPG last year and made second team All-CAA as a sophomore (he also made the All-Rookie team the year before). Janning is a scoring threat from both the inside and outside. The Friars seem to always have trouble defending the 3 ball, so they will have to watch out for this guy because he hit 65/173 (37%) from downtown last year.
Interesting Stat: Janning’s career high is 34 points in a loss at URI last year. Friar fans hope his hot shooting isn’t Rhode Island specific.
On paper, PC should have no trouble taking care of Northeastern on their home court. However, it should be interesting to see how the Friars come out of the gate to open their season. They had two exhibition games in the last two weeks, but that can’t be compared to the regular season action the Huskies have already seen in the past week.
Northeastern is also facing South Florida on the road, their only other game against a Big East opponent.