The Providence Friars are trying to prolong their season as they head to NYC for the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament. Their opponent tonight is the Seton Hall Pirates, who the Friars lost to over the weekend at the DUNK as a result of a rather dull performance. However, I think tonight is going to be different for several reasons.
- Since I started Friarblog.com, the Friars are 4-0 in games that I have personally attended. Sure, the opponents have been Rutgers (twice) and DePaul (in the BET last year) — but the other was Gonzo’s Pirates at the Prudential Center. Let’s hope I don’t get by a cab on my walk from the office to the Garden.
- The Hall is in a very similar situation that our Friars were in last year. They have a good conference record, but not enough marquee wins. Most bubble-talkin’ people have SHU needing a win against PC AND Notre Dame in order to be considered for an At-Large Bid. Why is this important? Well, if the Friars have any fondness for last year’s class, they are going to want to play spoiler. After all, PC had a better conference record (10-8 vs 9-9) and did not get with only one win in the BET. Do it for McDermott boys!
- This is Madison Square Garden in New York City. Despite losing 10 games in a row and counting, I think the boys will up for a game of maximum effort. Bilal Dixon will want to impress his Jersey City contingent, and Vincent Council and Greedy will hopefully shine for the Brooklyn folks.
- Sharaud Curry deserves a better ending. Last year should have been his Senior night, Upsetting #1 Pittsburgh with the class he played for 4 years. However, his night came on the depressing end of an awful losing streak, behind a lackluster crowd. Sure, Curry has his flaws defensively, but he has been a great scorer at Providence College and deserves a little better ending! Let’s hope he takes matters into his own hands and drills some threes like we’ve seen him in conference play.
WHERE TO: BOOZE
Before and after the game, I’ll be hitting up Stout (right down the street from the Garden, 133 West 33rd Street). I’ll be rocking my homemade Friarblog.com T-Shirt, so the first person to say hi and mention this post I’ll buy them a beer .
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00PM
Opponent: Seton Hall Pirates (18-11, 9-9)
Location: Madison Square Garden
Spread: SHU -5
ESPN AccuScore Prediction: SHU 83, PC 80 (SHU wins 56% in 10,000 sims)
Pomeroy Prediction: SHU 91, PC 87 (64% confidence)
WHAT TO: READ
The Friars return to action on Tuesday, March 9at the BIG EAST Championship in New York, N.Y. As the No. 15 seed, PC will face No. 10 seed Seton Hall at 7:00 p.m. for the second time in three days and the first time in the BIG EAST Tournament since 2000. The Friars were defeated, 92-80, by the Pirates on March 6 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Tuesday’s contest will mark the 87th meeting ever between the two teams. Providence has posted a 45-41 mark all-time against Seton Hall. The two teams first met on February 26, 1927
when the Pirates defeated the Friars, 25-24, in South Orange, N.J. The Friars are 18-25 in road games against Seton Hall, 24-12 in home games and 3-4 in games on neutral courts. The Friars last defeated the Pirates, 98-93, in overtime on January 22, 2009 in Newark, N.J.
Projo.com: PC, Hall set to tangle once more
PC guard Marshon Brooks says he sees the Friars with a bit of a mental edge. While the Pirates badly need to win the game, the Friars are riding a 10-game losing streak and clearly won’t be playing games after this week barring an unforeseen run through the Big East tourney. He expects his teammates to be excited to play for what could be the final time this year.
The Pirates find themselves squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble after finishing at .500 in the Big East. Need a win Tuesday night and a victory over Notre Dame Wednesday to stay in the discussion
Garcia, who is the only current Pirate to have known the NCAA Tournament — having been a freshman during the 2006 NCAA season — has had one goal this season: Make it back to the dance. He doesn’t care that he’s averaging less than 14 minutes a game or that his body — which undergoes 10-14 hours of treatment a week — can only take so many trips up and down the court.
NorthJersey.com: Herb Pope pumped for the Garden
“I’m going to be juiced,” he said. “It’s going to mean a lot to me. That’s MSG. That’s where Michael Jordan and guys tried to come in there and put on a great show for everybody. If you come out there and you’re not playing basketball, [the fans] will let you know it. So you have to come out with your ‘A’ game.”
NewJerseyNewsRoom.com: College Basketball: Seton Hall (18-11) vs. Providence (12-18)
For the season, Jeremy Hazell leads Seton Hall and ranks third in the conference with 21.2 points per game. Herb Pope became the first Pirate to finish a season leading the Big East in rebounds per game (11.1).
No. 15 Providence vs. No. 10 Seton Hall: The Friars followed up its near-miss at Pittsburgh with a clunker in their home finale against these same Pirates. For once, the defense wasn’t the primary problem — not to imply that PC’s defense was good on Saturday. Worse was the offense, which shot just 42.3 percent eFG and committed turnovers on one quarter of its possessions. The latter has rarely been a problem this season. If the Friars can clean up the turnovers and get Greedy Peterson more involved — the double-double machine had just six points and four rebounds before fouling out — PC could pull off a crushing upset. The bad matchup for PC — and this isn’t new — is on defense, where Seton Hall doesn’t turn the ball over. Forcing turnovers is the primary way that PC gets stops, and without that out, the Friars’ only option is to pray for missed shots. Teams don’t generally miss layups.
As far as a game plan goes, it’s as simple as throw the ball on the court and get out of the way. Both teams love to run and their scoring averages prove it. Providence is averaging 81.6 points per game while surrendering 81.3 ppg. Seton Hall is tickling the twine to the tune of 80.3 points per game while allowing 74 and change. The first half-court set you see tonight might be the last one, so enjoy it.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be carried on ESPNU
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
As always, I’ll be on Twitter @friarblog with in-game updates.