After a week of working long hours and having my ass kicked up and down the office, breaking up with my girlfriend after dating her for a year, and being generally frustrated with my inability to write anything decent, I can say pretty confidently that I really needed to see a win. Hell we all did.
And holy hell did we get that win.
With that being awesome, let’s get to it.
Poetic Justice - I want you all to stop and think about the coaches we’ve had since Rick Pitino. There’s been:
- Gordon Chelsea – epic failure, so bad I won’t even check to see if I spelled his name right
- Rick Barnes – Won the BE in 94 but generally kinda meh
- Pete Gillen – Probably came closest to surpassing the Pitino shadow with the 97 Elite Eight run
- Tim Welsh – Seemed promising but just couldn’t pull it out
- Keno Davis – did he have some sort of flaw? I can’t remember, it took a lot of alcohol and therapy to suppress that shit
So now we have Ed Cooley, a coach who grew up in Providence and watched the Friars go to the Final Four under Pitino. And during halftime when we commemorated the 25 year anniversary of that run, Cooley was in the locker room getting ready to put the fatality on Pitino.
You see, here’s the thing about Cooley – he’s not going to live in a shadow because he’s the new sun of the Providence Friars program. He doesn’t live in any coaches shadow because he’s going to be casting them over others. Fans generally associate one of the peaks of the programs successes with that 87 Final Four run, and because we haven’t had any success like that since fans have been looking for the next time we’ll find it. Cooley showed with his win tonight that what we saw 25 years ago is going to come back, but it’s not going to be a miracle run and it’s not going to end at the Final Four.
True Grit – After being brutally bitch slapped by the physicality of Seton Hall I didn’t expect our frontcourt to become tough so quickly. LaDontae Henton has always had the blue collar toughness that we’ve needed, but Bilal Dixon, Brice Kofane, and Kadeem Batts all took their licks and kept playing hard. They just simply refused to be walked on and passed over. It got physical and when it did they got tougher. The rebounding difference speaks for itself – 40 boards for Providence to Louisville’s 25 – you simply don’t rip that many more boards if you’re playing soft.
The Perfect Storm - I said in my post game from Seton Hall that in life you either get good or you get lucky, and that we’d been lucky with every win over the past few years and now we’re starting to get good because of a coach who values the importance of playing good basketball. This game further showcased a point that this team is playing good basketball. The defense held Louisville to 38% shooting from the field and forced 10 turnovers, resulting in 15 points total. Those same players on defense then went back down on offense and shot 53% from the field and 60% from three point range for the game. They played a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor, and that’s just in game decisions they made. Consider how much better the chemistry is with this team – how they huddle between fouls and they cheer each other on from the bench, how they get each other pumped and keep supporting each other. Look at this picture and try to tell me we’ve seen anything like this in at least 13 years:
This section might be mistitled because a storm is an occurrence that only happens every so often, and this looks like it’s what our team has become and not what our team can be.
The Natural - So in his first Big East win, Cooley has:
- Set a record for biggest win margin against a ranked team for PC ever
- Got huge production out of every player, with Council, Cotton, Henton, and Batts all in double figures
- Improved morale to the dgree where we look like a team and not five guys who showed up on game day wearing the same color uniform
- Improved free throws and fundamentals
- Says we still need to get better
I think it’s safe to say that Cooley is the godsend that Shanley was referring to when we hired Keno Davis, but Shanley didn’t know it yet. Ladies and Gentlemen, the true heir to the PC coaching throne – Ed Cooley.