The Providence College Friars try to keep their unbeaten record intact with a matchup against the La Salle Explorers (3-1) in Cancun. This game will be another good measure of how the Friars are progressing, and will also give me some bragging rights in my family (my brother attended La Salle, but I”m pretty sure he didn’t know we were playing each other until I told him the other day).
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 4:30PM EST
Opponent: La Salle [A-10 Conference]
Location: Aventura Resort, Cancun
Spread: Providence -6
CBS Daily Scores Projection: PC 78, La Salle 65
Ken Pomeroy Projection: PC 82, La Salle 74 (PC wins with 75% confidence)
Continue the preview after the jump!
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
- Since the Explorers are in the Cancun Challenge, they have already played two of the same teams as PC. Through all of their four games, Providence and La Salle have crazy similar numbers in most categories. They have played to the same raw pace, and have produced almost the same points per possession (The Friars have 1.03 and La Salle is at 1.05). When you adjust for competition, the Friars end up having a slight edge in pace and offense, but also a much better defensive efficiency rating (PC 95.9, La Salle 100.7). The Explorers have a higher effective field percentage, but have had similar turnover woes in that they like to give up the ball in more than 1/5 of their possessions.
- Ruben Guillandeaux: The fifth year senior guard will be the best shooter on the court. He is already 13-22 (59.1%) from downtown on the year. However, only three other La Salle players have attempted a three pointer, and they are a combined 6-33 (18.1%).
- Aaric Murray vs. Bilal Dixon (and Friars who decide to try to take it the rim): Everyone is talking about 6-10 monster Aaric Murray after his impressive 20 points, 11 rebounds, 9 blocks, and 5 steal performance against Morgan State. Bilal Dixon (and Kadeem Batts) will try to replicate the success they had on defense against Morgan State’s Kevin Thompson.
- Offensive Rebounding: Even though both teams have similar offensive rebounding numbers, the Friars might have a good opportunity at some 2nd chance points. La Salle has given up 20+ offensive rebounds in two games – Morgan State and Prairie View, two teams PC held off the offensive glass quite well. La Salle’s 41.4% offensive rebounding percentage on defensive is ranked a very low #324.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
La Salle is 3-1 on the season, after registering a 79-74 win over Morgan State on November 12. Aaric Murray led the Explorers with 20 points and 11 rebounds. La Salle posted an 88-74 win over Prairie View A&M in their Cancun Challenge opener on Thursday, November 18.
Measuring progress will be a much easier task for Friar fans by the time the team flies home Thursday morning. The Explorers (3-1) are the best team PC has faced this season. If the Friars find a way past La Salle big man Aaric Murray and shooter Ruben Guillandeaux, they’ll probably face a Missouri team that is a sleeper pick to challenge for the Big XII title. Clearly, the Friars will need to play much better than they have in compiling a 4-0 record against a middling group of opponents that Davis says may be better than most fans think.
Projo.com: Capsule preview: PC vs. La Salle
The Explorers come to Cancun after a solid start that is eerily similar to PC’s. They own a win over an Ivy League team (by 11 over Columbia) and then wins over Prairie View A&M and Morgan State in the first two games of the Cancun Challenge
Friar Basketball: The Week Ahead: 4-0 Friars Head to Mexico
Providence faces their first potential NBA player in Aaric Murray, who some believe could make the jump after this season. The 6’10, 250 lb sophomore center is building off of a strong freshman season by averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds in the early going. He was a force this weekend against Morgan State in wracking up 20 points, 11 rebounds, 9 blocks, and 5 steals.
Giannini knows that last year might have wiped out all the equity built up by the previous three, when his team increased its win total from 10 to 18. He doesn’t expect people to have high expecta-tions for the Explorers this season. But he cautions them on completely writing off La Salle.
“I think people forget that we just had bad luck [last year],” Giannini said. “In reality, we’ve been consistently improving, and I think we’re going to be good again [this season].”
WHAT TO: WATCH
2010-11 La Salle Men’s Basketball Preview Video
Highlights of Baylor’s 74-64 win over La Salle Tuesday afternoon at the Ferrell Center. (Nov. 16, 2010)
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll be live tweeting the game @friarblog
WHERE TO: WATCH
For those of you with CBS College Sports network, you’re in luck. I checked at home and unfortunately I didn’t have access to it. Check your local listings and good luck.
WHERE TO: LISTEN
This one is on All-Access audio
iTunes: Friars.com iPhone App