I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday, and that everyone was able to enjoy some time off work/school/whatever it is you may do during the busy week. Although, I wish some of that time off could have included another Providence game since I felt like every other BIG EAST team played several times throughout the weekend. I guess I should be thankful the Friars were able to win right before we all went into turkey and stuffing comas, so I could savor that victory all break. Unlike those leftovers in your fridge, victory just does not go stale.
To make up for the lack of games since last Wednesday, Providence is playing a staggering 6 games in 13 days. Much like I am easing back into work by watching TV at my desk and catching up on Twitter , the Friars start off their stretch against Central Connecticut State.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00PM EST
Opponent: Central Connecticut State (4-1) [NEC]
Location: The DUNK
ESPN Accuscore: PC 81, CCSU 60 (PC wins in 95.7% in 10,000 simulations)
CBS Daily Scores Projection: PC 77, CCSU 62
Ken Pomeroy Projection: PC 81, CCSU 66 (PC wins with 92% confidence)
Continue the preview after the jump!
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
- Minutes for the bench: Vincent Council is currently #1 in the BIG EAST in minutes per game at 35.3. In Cancun, VC played 38 against La Salle, and 37 against Wyoming. Obviously the big minutes had no short term affect whatsoever, since Council drained all SIXTEEN of his foul shots on day 2 — many coming down the stretch of his 75 minutes across both days. Backup point guard Dre Evans is going to need to give some good minutes off the bench (especially against weaker teams), so Council doesn’t get worn out by the time BIG EAST play starts.
- CCSU Turnovers: Looking at the Blue Devils’ Four Factors, they are actually fairly average except for turnover percentage. So far on the year, they have a 22.2% TO%, which is ranked 212 in the country. Central Connecticut has only had less than 10 turnovers once (in their 2nd game against Army), and in their last game against Monmouth (which they won in OT) coughed it up on a stunning 35% of their possessions.
- Bilal Dixon: Hurt? Bad week? Bad taco? Whatever the case for Dixon’s poor showing in Cancun, it’s extremely important for the Friars for him to show that he can still play like the beast he did in the opening few games.
- FRA-GEEL-LAY: Huh, that must be Italian. Central Connecticut returns many key players this year who are coming off injuries. Their best player, junior forward Ken Horton (15.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg), missed all of last season with a hip injury. Sharpshooter junior guard Vince Rosario was ineffective from long range last year due to a groin injury. Junior guard Robby Ptacek (10 ppg) missed a bunch of games last year with an ankle injury, and senior guard Shemik Thompson (17.8 ppg) is a hard nosed player who hasn’t really missed much time over the years, but always seemed to find a DTD injury.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
Central Connecticut is 4-1 on the season, after registering an overtime win (54-50) on Saturday in its most recent game versus Monmouth. CCSU also has earned victories over Hartford, Army and UMBC. The team’s only loss was a 77-61 defeat at Penn State on November 22. CCSU was picked fourth in the NEC Preseason coaches poll. The Blue Devils are led on offense by senior guard Shemik Thompson and junior forward Ken Horton. Thompson, a preseason All-NEC selection, is averaging 17.8 points, while Horton is averaging 15.6 points in the team’s five games this season.
Beginning Monday against Central Connecticut, the Friars will somehow cram six games into the next 13 days. That caps off a season-opening stretch of 12 games in 29 days, a schedule that would sap the energy of an NBA team, let alone a collegiate outfit. It’s a challenge that coach Keno Davis says he wouldn’t want to put any team through, let alone one that’s still wearing training wheels at many positions.
Projo.com: Capsule preview: Central Connecticut at PC
The Blue Devils come to town fresh off a 54-50 overtime win over Monmouth in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams. Other wins have come over Hartford, Army and Maryland-Baltimore County…Only loss came at Penn State by a 77-61 score
New Britain Herald: Blue Devils hope history repeats
Central Connecticut has surprised some people this year, getting off to its best start, 4-1, in a decade. But if the Providence Friars have done their homework or taken a history class this week, the Blue Devils won’t sneak up on them.
Tonight’s meeting at the Dunkin Donuts Center (7 p.m. ESPN Radio 1410) will be the first time the teams have played since the 2003-2004 season, after which the Friars were likely happy to be done with Central for a while.
The Blue Devils had already had a win over Providence in 1999, and nearly turned the trick again that December night in 2003, falling by five in a rematch. So while Keno Davis wasn’t the Friars coach back then, he is certainly aware that Central has had its share of success against Providence over the years.
On paper the Blue Devils look like one of the top teams in the NEC, but looking the part doesn’t equate to victories. If its veteran players can stay healthy, Central should be one of the top teams in the conference and challenge for its fourth NEC title.
Friar Basketball: The Week Ahead: 5-1 Friars Prepare for Busy Week
The Blue Devils are off to a 4-1 start and look to be improved after a 12-18 campaign last season. A big reason why is the return of Ken Horton who averaged nearly 17 points per game in 2008-09 after missing last year with a hip injury. The 6’6 junior had a monster game against Army (34 points on 4-6 3, 9 rebounds) and his 24 points and 11 rebounds keyed a win over UMBC.
WHAT TO: WATCH
For those of you that haven’t been able to see any video of the Friars this year, Kevin from Friar Basketball put together a highlight video of the Wyoming win.
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll be live tweeting the game @friarblog
WHERE TO: WATCH