In case you missed, Part I of my Big East Projection Crunch took an in depth look at how the Friars will fare in their first 9 games.
Here are Providence College’s Next Five Games:
at South Florida
vs. Notre Dame
Breaking Them Down
at Villanova: In Part 1, I wrote that I feel PC has Villanova’s number and that was my defense for PC beating the Wildcats at home. However, that does not mean I think that same thing will hold true on the road, where PC has really struggled most of the past three years. Despite last seasons debacle, PC consistently struggles in Philadelphia, and have not won there since 2004. All things considered, Villanova has more talent than PC, enough talent to come from down 19 with 16 minutes left to dominate PC down the stretch. Especially if PC wins the game at the Dunk, I think Villanova has enough ammo to give the Friars the LOSS on the road.
vs. Cincinnati: Cincinnati is one of the more physical teams in the Big East and they typically beat the Friars up pretty good, home or away. Since 2010, these games have all played the same way. Cincinnati dominates the first half but the game is pretty close, they go on a big run to build a huge lead halfway through the 2nd, and PC claws back to make it a game. Legit, that has been the past three matchups between these two teams. The Bearcats should have a very good team this year and based off of this recent history and their talent, I have no reason to believe that trend won’t continue, unfortunately with the Friars picking up the LOSS.
at USF: This honestly might be one of the most challenging games here to pick. Last year, the Friars and Bulls played two very exciting games that played out the same way: PC dominates most of the first 30 minutes, and USF storms back late and pulls away with a victory, but USF was also an NCAA tournament team and PC couldn’t crack the NIT. So what do I think for this year? Well I will break it down this way. PC has lost the past three seasons at South Florida. Two times, USF was known as the better team (10 and 12). Once, PC was (2011). USF has also won five out of the last six matchups. This year, once again it is a tossup. Pomeroy ranks USF 76 and PC 78. Honestly, this is tough because my heart tells me that Providence wins this game, but this is a statistical analysis, and to be fair with the purpose of this, the fact that USF has won the last three games there and are the better team (on paper at this point), I would have to predict PC to pick up their their third straight LOSS in this game.
vs. Notre Dame: This was another pretty easy game to pick for the sake of this projection. Like many of these typically strong teams, the last time PC beat Notre Dame was at the Joyce Center in 2004. There is just something about Notre Dame, a team that regardless how well the Friars play, they can’t figure out the puzzle that is the Fighting Irish. Regardless, this will likely be a very strong season for Notre Dame, and based on past history and in a building they have played well in the past, it is hard to imagine a letdown to happen against the Friars. Maybe next year, but this looks like a fourth straight LOSS.
at Syracuse: This stretch of five games, regardless of how you want to slice it, is probably one of the more challenging stretches the Friars have had in a few years. Bad matchups galore, and it doesn’t get any easier by having to go up to the Carrier Dome to face a strong Orange team. Ignoring the fact that a suspended Vincent Council and the Friars went up and lost to Syracuse by 23 last year, when do you think the last time PC won in Syracuse was? 1999. There have been some blowouts and some close games mixed in, but Syracuse is a good team and super tough at home. That does not bode well for a road-challenged Friar team, and this looks like a fifth consecutive LOSS.
My Projected PC Record After 14 Games: 4-10
Big East Standings After First 14 PC Games:
Notre Dame: 11-3
St. John’s: 6-8
South Florida: 4-10
Seton Hall: 3-12
Notre Dame and Cincy Near the Top, Really?
Yeah, I think these teams are good, and they get great matchups. Notre Dame gets Louisville at home who they always beat at the Joyce Center. They are real tough at home and I also have them upsetting Pittsburgh on the road where they play pretty well.
As for Cincy, they are also a super tough team. Their schedule is also soft I think, at least in terms that if you look at the top of the Big East, they get a lot of those challenging games at home. Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh, and Georgetown are all home games over the first 3/4 of the season.
Villanova Jumped, What Gives?
Well I never thought ‘Nova was as bad as the 1-9 I had given them over the first half of the season, just that I thought they had tough games on the schedule. I think their schedule breaks since they play PC, USF, and Rutgers all at home. I also penciled them in for an upset against Marquette (who they also play at home).
Will PC Finish Strong?
So I know many will think my 4-10 projection at this point is pretty pessimistic, but I honestly just think it is the schedule. Moving into the last four games, PC gets a very favorable schedule: at Rutgers, vs. St. John’s, vs. Seton Hall, at UCONN. I can’t reveal what I think will happen, you will have to keep reading for that.
Providence College’s Last Four Games:
vs. St. John’s
vs. Seton Hall
Breaking Them Down:
at Rutgers: This game is another one that is very challenging to come up with a fair prediction. When we think of Rutgers, we think of a team that is traditionally always worse than the Friars and a team we should be up on. How can you deny the fact that Providence has won 9 of the last 10 meetings against the Scarlet Knights? But I think this is what it comes down to, two things really. Rutgers was a six win Big East team last year who will be better this year. Two, the RAC (Louis Brown Athletic Center) is extremely difficult to play at. Using my metrics since 2008, there was only one time when PC played at Rutgers and according to Ken Pomeroy, Rutgers had the better team. That year was 2011 (otherwise known as the beast mode era of Marshon Brooks), and PC got smoked out of the building. The enigma with Rutgers is similar to that of Providence: Team that can play hard and keep with good teams at home, but stinks on the road. Using that situation to break it down, I would have to predict Rutgers will win this game between 12-18 points, giving Providence the LOSS
vs. St. John’s: This could possibly be the most intriguing matchup for the year as a Friar fan, simply for the revenge factor. Jakarr Sampson, Christopher Obekpa, Orlando Sanchez all return to the Dunk, a place where they gave Coach Cooley the finger and told him they preferred some Vitamin Water from the Big Apple. Despite all of the talent upgrades, many people consider St. John’s to be incredibly raw; a team with a ton of potential but maybe not quite the skills (a thing we understood about these players while PC recruited them). For what it is worth, KenPom’s preseason rankings have the Johnnies 87th in the country, with PC at 78. So let us assume that PC is slightly better than St. John’s at this point in time (as both will be getting key additions come December). This is one of those series where both teams usually hold their home court well, excluding 2010 when PC crushed on St. John’s and in 2011 when an NCAA team in St. John’s (KenPom – 42) traveled to PC (KenPom – 96) and won by two points on New Year’s Day. Before 2011, PC had won their last 7 home games against St. John’s dating back until 2000. I feel confidently that PC should come out fired up and pull out a tight WIN in this game.
vs. Seton Hall: See Page 2 … “Using KenPom’s metric as a barometer, he has PC ranked 78 and Seton Hall ranked 83 (so that gives PC a slight edge; basically what I would equate to be -.5 to -1.5 on a neutral court).” That said, I think PC would be -3.5 to -4.5 favorites at home and therefore would be confident marking this game as a WIN.
at UCONN: This matchup is another one that perplexes me. UCONN had lost their last 4 appearances against the Friars at the XL Center, so they decided to move the PC/UCONN games to Gampel where UCONN has won the past two matchups. How fitting UCONN is scared to play PC at the XL and therefore has locked down this senior day match up to be played at Gampel Pavillion. This game should play very close at these teams are very similar on paper, but for a team like PC who struggles to compete on the road, if I had to give a fair, unbiased decision on this game, it would most definitely have to favor the Huskies, giving the Friars a LOSS to end the season.
Big East Standings To End Season:
Notre Dame: 12-4
St. John’s: 6-12
South Florida: 5-13
Seton Hall: 3-15
Time for Tiebreak:
If two teams:
1 – Head to Head
2 – Team’s Record vs. Highest Teams in Standings
3 or more teams:
1 – Teams Go Into Mini-Conference
a. Records compiled amongst teams (Best high seed, worst low seed)
b. If two teams tie, revert to above for two team tie
So Who Wins the Regular Season Big East Conference?
We have three teams tied at the top: Louisville, Notre Dame, and Syracuse, all tied at 12-4.
Their head to head matchups according to me:
Syracuse at Louisville – Louisville
Notre Dame at Syracuse – Syracuse
Louisville at Notre Dame – Notre Dame
Lousville at Syracuse – Louisville
Notre Dame at Louisville – Notre Dame
So according to that:
1. Notre Dame: 2-1
2. Louisville: 2-2
3. Syracuse: 1-2
How About Cincinnati and Pittsburgh?
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh play twice this season, and I have them both winning on their home-court.
Because of that, we know have to look how they did against top opponents.
Notre Dame: Cincy 1-1 Pitt 0-1
Because of uneven games where Pitt could equal Cincy, they get thrown out.
Louisville: Cincy 0-1 Pitt 0-1
Syracuse: Cincy 0-1 Pitt 1-0
Pittsburgh thus gets the #4 seed and Cincinnati gets the #5 seed.
Now How About Providence, St. John’s, and Villanova?
We revert back to the mini-conference and lets look at how this broke down via my schedule breakdown:
St. John’s at Villanova – St. John’s
Villanova at Providence – Providence
Providence at Villanova – Villanova
St. John’s at Providence – Providence
St. John’s: 1-1
Therefore, Providence would finish 10th, St. John’s would finish 11th, and Villanova would finish 12th
Lastly, who is worse? Seton Hall or DePaul?
Seton Hall and DePaul play in Chicago for each team’s first Big East game, a game I had picked DePaul to win. Therefore, that would make DePaul 14th, and Seton Hall 15th.
Stay tuned for Part III sometime next week to see how the BIG EAST Tournament shakes out and who will win the post season awards.