I hope everyone had a great holiday! I know It’s been pretty quiet here at Friarblog land – Obviously due to the lack of games but also the fact that I am off from work until January 4th and have been keeping busy with family stuff and other happenings. Anyways, the BIG EAST is finally here! The Friars have a tough opener against Luke Harangody and the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish. The odds are stacked heavily against PC.
- The Friars have played two games in the last 18 days – One was the loss to Iona, the other a game in which they had to make a 2nd half comeback against Yale. Let’s hope there is no rust.
- Notre Dame rarely loses at home — they have won 62 of their last 66.
- This game will the first BIG EAST game for SEVEN Friars – Bilal Dixon, Vincent Council, Duke Mondy, Kyle Wright, Russ Permenter, Johnnie Lacy, and James Still.
- The Friars have poor interior defense, and oh Notre Dame has one of the best players in the nation in Luke Harangody, who happens to be a bruising forward.
However, Notre Dame comes into the game with a few of their own concerns. They played a soft OOC schedule and did not play any true road games. One of their two losses came against a poor Loyola Marymount team. Providence has played in some tough road games, so even though it is the first BIG EAST game for many, they should know what to expect.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 9:00PM
Opponent: #23 Notre Dame (11-2)
Location: Purcell Pavilion
Spread: ND -8.5
ESPN AccuScore Prediction: ND 89, PC 79 (ND won 77% of the time in 1,000 sims)
CBS Prediction: ND 82, PC 75
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
- Notre Dame to score from any which way. They come into the game with the 6th ranked Effective FG% (57.9) and the 4th most efficient offense in the nation (adjusted offensive rating of 119.4). The Irish rank in the top 20 in both 3FG% (42.0%, 16th) and 2FG% (55.5%, 12th). The Friars have done well in defending the three for most of the season, but ND’s outside shooters might be wide open while they try to contain Harangody.
- Few mistakes on both ends of the court – Both teams have excellent turnover percentage numbers (ND is ranked 18th, Providence 21st). However, both teams have been dreadful at forcing turnovers. Notre Dame ranks #327, and the Friars are at #322.
- Rebounding could be an important factor – Led by Greedy Peterson, the Friars had outstanding offensive rebounding numbers in out of conference play. Can he continue to put up his numbers in BIG EAST play? I don’t think anyone really expects him to match his nightly double-doubles, but then again, no one expected him to improve so much coming off his red-shirt season.
- Even with a dominant inside player like Harangody, the Irish have been pretty mediocre at getting to the foul line (FT Rate of 37.5, ranked 156). We are all too familiar with Bilal Dixon’s foul trouble issues (and how do the Friars contain Harangody when he is out??), so we might see Luke frequently at the charity stripe. On the flip side, Notre Dame has done a real good job at limiting opponents’ trip to the line. If Providence is going to be successful, they are going to have to take it to the rim and try to get Harangody in foul trouble.
- There has been a lot of talk about Ray Hall making a return from injury to try to counter Harangody. If you remember, Hall had the game of his life at Notre Dame a couple of years ago (although he couldn’t hit a foul shot). He has been practicing lately, but has not seen any game action since March 6th, 2008. I wouldn’t expect Hall to have much of an impact tonight.
Here is ND’s player impact chart
WHAT TO: READ
The Friars will open their BIG EAST season on Wednesday, December 30 at Notre Dame. The Friars have posted a 9-13 mark all-time versus the Fighting Irish. The Friars are 4-6 at home, 4-7 on the road and 1-0 on neutral courts all-time against Notre Dame. The two teams first met on February 14, 1956 with the Friars earning an 85-83 win at Providence. Notre Dame has won the last six contests between the two teams, including a 103-84 win last season at Providence on February 21, 2009. PC’s last win over Notre Dame was a 73-59 win on February 24, 2004 in South Bend.
Notre Dame has won 62 of its last 66 home games and is 24-3 in its last 27 BIG EAST regular-season home contests.
The Friars, easily the most inexperienced team in the league, will face the Big East’s premier big man in Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody. For the last two seasons, the 6-8 power forward has bumped and bruised his way to first team all-league and All-America honors. He’s up to his same tricks in a senior season that has him pointed toward leaving South Bend as the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Projo.com: Capsule Preview: PC at Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish are off to a strong start in a schedule that’s been loaded with home games. Team has played 11 of 13 games at the Joyce Center and zero road games. Only losses have come against Northwestern (72-58) on a neutral floor and to Loyola-Marymount at home, 87-85…Best win came at home against UCLA, 84-73
Notre Dame has provided at least a little bulletin board material for this game. The South Bend Tribue had Ty Nash talking about the how PC’s opponents have had success in the paint: “I salivate when I hear numbers like that,” said the 6-foot-8 Nash, starting his first season of league play as a consistent low-post presence. “If you see that they’re light on the front line, you have to take advantage of that.”
Friar Basketball: Why Providence will upset Notre Dame (and why they won’t)
PC hasn’t done much in the past two contests to instill confidence in their fanbase as they head on the road to face the Big East’s preseason player of the year. There isn’t much reason to believe Providence will be able to slow Harangody or their shooters, but this will be one of the BE games in which PC has an athletic advantage. Do they crash the boards and run, or does this turn into a halfcourt game in which they try to match 3s?
State of Friars Basketball: Preview for Friars @ Notre Dame
Prediction: This is the first real test for these boys. They can either prove the expects right and pull out a dud and get beat bad on the road, or maybe they can surprise some people, keep the game close, and maybe even steal a W on the road. A lot of things would need to go right for the Friars, and bad for Notre Dame for this to happen, and its probably not a realistic expectation judging by how we have played recently.
Providence Friars Basketball: Pregame: Providence College vs. The University of Notre Dame
Maybe the game is a long shot. And maybe our best chance is getting Harangody to foul. But you never know what may happen. This is why they play the games. Notre Dame took a tough loss to Loyola Marymount, so it is possible to bring them down even at home. We will need a very good game, which is what we will need every night if we want to scrap out any wins, but it is possible. Plus I don’t think there is anyway that this will be more upsetting than the last two games we have had against Notre Dame… I’m sure most of you know exactly what we are referring to.
Journal Gazette: Big East opener to test Irish defense
The Irish should be able to exploit the Friars’ apparent indifference to defense.
Notre Dame is fifth in the Big East in scoring, averaging 83.8 points, and the Irish shoot a league best 42 percent from three-point range.
Providence, which gave up a Big East worst 76.7 points per game last season, is at the bottom in defense again, giving up 75.2 points per game.
“It’s something personal that me and Tory want to have,” Harangody said. “I’ve always thought that the number of NCAA tournament appearances you make as a player here is always a big deal. You look at the past and the guys that have done that. For me and Tory to go out with one more bid to the NCAA tournament is huge for our careers.”
Wednesday night will be the first conference start for junior Tim Abromaitis and first Big East game overall for transfer Ben Hansbrough.
Both players say they are excited to finally be on the floor as opposed to watching from the bench. And both understand watching from bench is no where near the same as being in the grueling battles that are the Big East.
Post Tribune: Irish season has yet to begin
I could write a variation of the “Irish never play anybody in November and December under Mike Brey” column every year. Brey’s idea of ratcheting up the nonconference schedule last year was to play Texas, North Carolina and Ohio State, all at neutral sites. That team was poised to make a run in the Big East after finishing the 2008 season with a 14-4 record in conference play.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Here is a recap of ND’s win over UCLA
Here is Luke Harangody reacting to ND’s first loss against Northwestern.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be televised on COX for RI and CT subscribers. It will also be on the ESPN Full Court package, and any of the regional stations that pick up those games for the BIG EAST Network. For NY/NJ people, it will be on there on SNY. For those with ESPN360 access, it will also be online there.
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
I’ll be missing this one (but DVR’ing it) unfortunately, but I will be checking and commenting on Twitter periodically @friarblog.
Enjoy the game Friar fans! Check back here tomorrow for the recap and reactions.