Sports Xchange Friars Report (3/9/09)

dave@friarblog —  March 9th, 2009 2:17 PM
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Strategy and Personell

Randall Hanke’s minutes have dropped in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a factor in the postseason. He plays more against teams with size in the middle, especially when Jonathan Kale gets in foul trouble.

IN FOCUS
Providence still has work to do heading into the Big East tournament, but with a 10-8 record it has a first round bye to work with. It swept Cincinnati in the regular season and beat DePaul in the teams’ only meeting, and would need at least a win over either team to have a strong chance at an NCAA berth. The bye should help, giving the numerous banged-up players on the squad an extra day to heal and an opening game against a more tired opponent.

Getting Inside

First-year coach Keno Davis has the Friars on the cusp of NCAA Tournament contention heading into the Big East tournament. He’s rejuvenated a group that tended to struggle down the stretch in recent years.

Perhaps the player most affected by the coaching change has been Weyinmi Efejuku.

The senior shooting guard enters the postseason playing some of the best basketball of his career. That’s a far cry from a year ago, when he was the chief victim of former coach Tim Welsh’s lineup changes.

Notes and Quotes

Madison Square Garden in March has not been a kind place to be for the Friars in recent years. Providence is just 1-9 in its last 10 Big East tournament games.

One thing to watch in the postseason is how unselfish the Friars are being. Providence is 12-1 when it records 18 or more assists in a game.

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