The Providence Friars look to keep up the momentum gained from upsetting Connecticut on Wednesday night when they face the Cincinnati Bearcats on the road. Even though Cincinnati has NCAA Tournament aspirations, the Friars have played them well over the last few years. This might seem silly given Keno’s roster turnover, but many of the trends have held up this year — Such as getting absolutely owned by ND and Marquette, and still being able to take care of St. John’s and Connecticut.
Check out the rest of the preview after the jump!
Another interesting subplot, if you will, is the battle of freshman BIG EAST studs Lance Stephenson and Vincent Council. Two years ago Council played alongside Stephenson at Lincoln High in Brooklyn, New York. This year, both players have had their fare share of costly rookie mistakes (Stephenson blowing the game with a bad turnover against St. John’s, Council missing 3 of 4 foul shots against USF), but they have really made a great impact on their teams. The two New Yorkers are practically shoe-ins for the BIG EAST All-Rookie team at this point, but Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin feels Lance is the best.
“If the voting were taken now, he might be Freshman of the Year in the Big East.” — Mick Cronin on Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson might have a slight edge stats wise (12 PPG, 4.8 RPG), but If Council can keep playing the way he has been, Cronin might have to think harder about his vote after seeing him in person.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 8PM
Opponent: Cincinnati Bearcats (13-7, 4-4)
Location: Fifth Third Arena
Spread: Cincinnati -8
ESPN AccuScore Prediction: Cincinnati 76, PC 71 (Cincinnati wins 58.5% in 10,000 simulations)
CBS Prediction: Cincinnati 81, Providence 74
Pomeroy Prediction: Cincinnati 81, PC 73 (78% confidence)
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
- Cincinnati tends to play a slower paced game (tempo of 66.6, ranked #234), and all but one of their BIG EAST games were played well under 70 possessions (75, in their win over UConn).
- The Bearcats have an excellent adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 90.5 (ranked #35). They don’t force a lot of turnovers, but they manage to hold opponents to low percentages on two point shots, and don’t give the them many 2nd chance points. We saw how Providence was able to really attack the hoop against the Huskies, leading to their big win. This might be a little difficult tonight, and the Friars can’t afford to shoot they way they did against Connecticut behind the arc.
- As we saw with UConn, the Friars match up pretty well with teams that struggle in shooting. In both BIG EAST road losses this year, PC was absolutely lit up with outside shots. Even though Cincinnati has an awful 29.5% three-point percentage this season (ranked #314), Deonta Vaughn is capable of hitting a decent amount of triples. The senior guard went 6-11 against Seton Hall, and 4-7 against Louisville (both losses). However, other than Vaughn nobody else really hits threes with any consistency.
- The game has a good chance of being won on the boards, as Providence is still in the top 10 in offensive rebound percentage, and Cincinnati comes in ranked #29. However, the Bearcats have been really good at rebounding their opponents’ missed shots (27.4 ORB%, #13 nationally), so Greedy and Bilal Dixon are going to have their work cut out. Providence hasn’t been exactly great at keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Yancy Gates is the Bearcats team leader with 2.4 offensive rebounds per game, and 4 others (including freshman Lance Stephenson) have between 1 and 2.
WHAT TO: READ
The Friars will play the fi rst game of a two-game road swing on Saturday, January 30 against Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena. The Friars have posted a 4-1 mark all-time versus the Bearcats. The Friars are 2-0 at home and 2-1 on the road all-time against Cincinnati. In the fi rst meeting between
the Friars and the Bearcats, Cincinnati earned a 66-64 home win on February 17, 2006 in Cincinnati. Last season, Providence defeated the Bearcats twice. PC earned an 87-79 win in Cincinnati on January 7, 2009, before earning the sweep of the season series with a 72-63 win in Providence on January 19, 2009.
The Cincinnati Bearcats (13-7, 4-4 BIG EAST) have registered back-to-back BIG EAST Conference wins over Notre Dame (60-58) and USF (78-70) in its last two home games and look to continue the trend when it hosts Providence (12-8, 4-4 BIG EAST) on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m., as part of a men’s and women’s doubleheader.
Projo.com: Capsule preview: PC at Cincinnati
The Bearcats are once again in the thick of the chase for an NCAA bid. They fell short the last two seasons but are in solid shape to finish in the top half of the Big East this season
Any winning effort for us will have to start with defense. Cincy has three good scorers, two of which can beat you both inside and out, but defending against the penetration and drives will be the key. We also need to win on the boards. We struggled in the first half against UConn because they were beating us on the boards but in the second half we dominated. Crashing the boards and giving ourselves second chances is essential. We need to limit Cincy to one shot each time down the floor. In the UConn game we got a lot of steals and seemed to always get the loose balls. A similar performance is needed. The loose balls need to be ours. Good defense will lead to steals.
Cincinnati.com: Cronin refuses to look ahead
Cronin uses Providence (12-8, 4-4) as an example of why UC will not look ahead more than one game. Providence scored an 81-66 upset of No. 19 Connecticut Wednesday at home.
UC has not played since a 68-60 loss at Louisville last Sunday.
The News Record: Cats seek redemption against Friars
“One thing about Providence is that they can score,” Cronin said. “You’re going to have to make sure you understand that they shoot it quick. They shoot it early in the shot clock, and you have to be prepared for that against them, more so then most of the teams we play.”
To shut down the Friars’ offense, Cincinnati will need to key in on shutting down sophomore forward Jamine Peterson. Peterson has been averaging more than 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Bearcats Blog: Know Your Opponent: Providence Friars edition
The Bearcats seem to match up with the Friars quite well. The Friars biggest defensive deficiency is offensive rebounds allowed, which is the Bearcats main offensive play. In fact, the put back is Yancy Gates second best move around the basket.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Highlights from Louisville vs. Cincinnati on January 24, 2010
Yancy Gates game winner for UC over Notre Dame Fighting Irish 1/16/2010.
The finish of the game as Lance Stephenson wins the game for UC over 10th ranked UConn 71-69 12/30/2009
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be carried on TV by ESPNU
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
As always, I’ll be on the Twitter @friarblog with in-game updates.