Another ranked team comes to town. What else is new? Hey, if RUTGERS can beat Georgetown (really Georgetown, REALLY?) that means anything is possible in Friartown. PC has not played West Virginia well over the past few years (I remember getting absolutely rained on by threes in the BIG EAST Tournament a few years ago), but this one is at home. Speaking of Rutgers again, the Scarlet Knights beat DePaul last night, creating a 3 way tie for first place among the bottom four (hey, gotta look towards something). We may be amongst the “bottom feeders” this year, but we might as well try to rule it, eh? It all starts with a chance at a nice upset tonight.
Read the rest after the jump!
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00PM
Opponent: West Virginia Mountaineers (19-5, 8-4)
Location: The DUNK
Spread: West Virginia – 6
ESPN AccuScore Prediction: WVU 78, PC 74 (WVU wins in 59.8% of 10,000 sims)
CBS Prediction: WVU 84, PC 74
Pomeroy Prediction: West Virginia 84, PC 74 (80% confidence)
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
- West Virginia has an incredibly efficient offense, coming with an adjusted offensive rating of 119.7 (#3 in the nation). They play a lot slower than the Friars – about 10 possessions less per game. WVU’s loss against Nova was their only non-OT game in BIG EAST play to go over 70 possessions (72).
- Aside from defense, the Mountaineers have very similar numbers to Providence. They excel in offensive rebounding, don’t turn over the ball much, but have more success from behind the arc (while shooting slightly worse than the Friars in 2 point shots).
- Free throw shooting has burned WVU in their last two games. In the loss against Nova they were a disastrous 18-32 from the line, and in the 3OT loss against Pitt they missed many key ones late. With the way the whistles have been blowing lately, this could be a big factor.
- My pick for random player to have a career night: Senior Wellington Smith. He only averages 6 points a game, but is 27-59 (45.8%) from behind the arc.
WHAT TO: READ
The Friars return to action on Wednesday, February 17 versus No. 8/8 West Virginia at 7:00 p.m. in Providence. The Friars have posted an 11-14 mark all-time versus the Mountaineers. The Friars are 7-3 at home, 1-8 on the road and 3-3 on neutral courts all-time against West Virginia. The two teams first met on March 8, 1965 with the Friars earning a 91-67 win at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. Last season, the Friars were defeated at Morgantown, 86-59, on February 7 in the only meeting between the two teams. The Mountaineers have won the last five games between the two teams. PC’s last win over West Virginia was a 64-61 victory on February 20, 2007 in Providence.
MSNsportsNet: WVU Looks to Rebound
Huggins gave the team two days off to get them refreshed for the remaining three weeks of the regular season that starts in earnest with Wednesday night’s game at Providence.
Projo.com: Can Friars join the upset party?
Asked if he feels his team is ready for a break-through upset win like so many other Big East squads, Davis says they are. Things need to break right for the Friars, however.
Projo.com: Capsule preview: West Virginia at PC
The Mountaineers are coming off two straight losses for the first time all season. They were beaten at home by Villanova and then let a road win at Pittsburgh slip away in regulation before losing in triple o.t., 98-95
CBS Sports: Providence vs. West Virginia
After a pair of tough games last week, West Virginia figures to have a much easier time against its next two Big East opponents. Providence’s schedule, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be letting up.
Charleston Gazette: WVU Visits Struggling Friars
“They’re leading the league in offensive rebounding, so I think that’s a big part of it,” Huggins said of Providence’s penchant for scoring a lot of points. “And they shoot a lot of 3s. Your percentage doesn’t have to be as high when you shoot as many 3s as they do. And they’re a very good transition team.”
TimesWV: WVU visits Providence tonight
For the first time this year he is coaching a team that has lost consecutive games, having lost to Villanova and Pitt as it readies itself to go on the road to play a desperate Providence team that has five straight losses.
They do this at a moment when the Big East is trending toward upsets, with Louisville having knocked off Syracuse on Saturday and Connecticut having upset Villanova on Monday night, to say nothing of a week-old upset of Rutgers over Georgetown.
The Intelligencer: West Virginia Faces Slumping Providence
Perhaps it was little more than a slip of his mind, but Providence coach Keeno Davis may have picked a bad time to forget who his team was playing next when he was talking to reporters earlier this week about the strength of the Big East this season.
”I don’t see there’s any reason why the teams in the Big East can’t have similar success in the postseason (as last season), not just because of the depth of the conference, but because of how good Villanova is, how good Syracuse is, how good Georgetown is,” Davis said.
Three Big East teams are among the top 8 in the country. Georgetown isn’t one of them. West Virginia is.
Metro News: Mountaineers Begin Important Week
“Belated Christmas for Pitt,” Huggins said on his weekly radio show. “We just gift wrapped it and gave it to them. It was difficult to watch. I know it was difficult for you all to watch and it wasn’t a whole lot better from where I was standing.”
“We just had so many breakdowns. It’s hard to imagine that you could have as many breakdowns as we did in that short of a period of time.”
The Smoking Musket: The Shotgun/Throwdown: Wednesday (2/17/10) Providence Gameday Edition
It’s the beginning of Lent today and all around the world, people are giving things up for the next 40 days. Huggs and the boys need to give up this losing thing that’s been happening the last two games. They get their chance tonight against Providence.
WHAT TO: WATCH
WVU vs. Pitt in the 3 OT Thriller
The last 6 minutes of regulation
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be carried on TV by COX locally, and on the BIG EAST Network (ESPN Full Court, SNY for NY/NJ).
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
As always, I’ll be on Twitter @friarblog with in-game updates.