The Providence Friars have now lost 3 games in a row after losing big to West Virginia on Saturday. Everyone knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming out of this brutal stretch with even one win — they lost to the #1 team in the nation on the road (UCONN), a surging team in the conference who just beat Pitt amongst their 5 BE wins in a row (Villanova), and a team they just can never beat on the road (West Virginia).
What makes these losses hurt even more is looking at what the Cincinnati Bearcats have been doing lately — a team PC beat TWICE earlier in the year. Even though Cincinnati also recently lost to Nova, they swept Georgetown home and home, and beat ND this month. Right now they are playing good basketball, and are putting themselves in a good position to continue winning games down the stretch. The Friars on the other hand, are sinking fast. If they didn’t catch on absolute fire to make a game out of it against Villanova in the last 5 minutes, they would have been blown out in three straight games.
While I understand it was a tough stretch of the schedule, it just seems to me that this group of players always fade in the 2nd half of the BIG EAST seasons. I decided to take a look at the numbers in BIG EAST games by month for the past 4 seasons.
January….6-3 (will count New Year’s Eve St. John’s game)
While it isn’t as bad as I initially thought (last season’s Curry-less 1-7 record skews the numbers for February), this team has not shown the ability to step up in February, and especially March. They are already off to a poor 0-2 start for February ‘09, and have only ONE game that SHOULD be a definite win (nothing in this league for this PC team should be a given, but they should be able to take care of Rutgers at THE DUNK). More tough games lie ahead, so we’ll see if Providence can start to show some signs of improvement as they play two lesser BIG EAST teams (USF and Rutgers). If they don’t, another brutal 3 game stretch awaits (Louisville, ND, Pitt) that will once again conquer the February Friars.