Holy Cross and Providence go way back to 1921, the Friars’ first ever basketball season. Ah, the simpler times. One didn’t have to worry about conference realignment, as everyone just played against local teams. There was no jockeying for big TV contracts, well because there was no TV. You could just fill up your fancy automobile with 20 cent gas, throw down a couple of pennies for a newspaper, and make your way over to campus to see the Friars and the start of Ray Hall’s long career in a PC uniform. It was one of his best seasons.
Fast forward to the present, PC is trying to win their 23rd straight home out of conference game as they face a young and offensively challenged Holy Cross team tonight. The “Super Seven” will try to keep holding down the fort until reinforcements hopefully start to arrive within the next couple of weeks.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Opponent: Holy Cross (4-2)
Location: The Dunk
Ken Pom: Providence: #76, Holy Cross: #210
TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 72.1, Holy Cross 62.4
WHAT TO: VOTE FOR
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
Kris Dunn Warming Up: Don’t get too excited if you see Dunn participating in the pre-game warmups. Ed Cooley said in the Fairfield post game that he is still a couple of weeks away. However, Cooley wants Dunn to get in the habits of all the pre-game festivities, which is why you you’ll see him out there with full warmups on.
Another Friar Opponent Shooting Under 40%: Only UMass was able to shoot over 40% against the Friars so far this year, and there’s a very good chance the Crusaders will become the 6th opponent to fail to reach that mark. Holy Cross struggles offensively (94.2 adjusted offensive efficiency, ranked #270), and is ranked 343rd in the nation in field goal percentage with their godawful 34.6% FG%. Only the NCAA powers of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Wagner are ranked below them. Oh, you are into advanced stats and worried that their high three-point attempts (46th in the country) skews their percentage and doesn’t tell the whole story? Well, their effective field goal percentage of 40.7% is ranked only 337th. So there!
No Beans: Senior big man Phil Beans sprained his MCL in the St. John’s game last week, and is going to be out for 1-2 weeks according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Beans is their 3rd leading scorer at 9.4 points per game, and had games of 17 and 19 points in the two games before the loss the St. John’s.
The Dudzinski: If Holy Cross is going to anything on the offensive end, it will most likely come from the 6-9 junior forward Dave Dudzinski. Last year, he had a strong double-double with 21 points and 11 boards in a loss against PC. Although he is their leading scorer and rebounder (12.5 ppg, 8 rpg) through the team’s first six games, Dudzinski has struggled to stay on the court due to foul trouble, playing only 26 minutes per game. In the last four games, he’s picked up four fouls. When he is out on the court, Dudzinksi will use a lot of possessions (almost 30%) so the Friars front court will have to be sure avoid foul trouble of their own when guarding him.
A turnover fest: Not surprisingly, the Friars have struggled taking care of the ball without Vincent Council running the show. They turnover the ball almost one out of every four possessions (24.5% turnover percentage, ranked #302 in the country). Holy Cross isn’t very good at forcing miscues, but it might not matter since everyone but Cotton and Batts tend to cough up the ball. The Crusaders themselves rank in the middle of the pack here, but their top 4 minute getters all have turnover percentages around 22%. A big factor of the game could be whoever can take advantage of each other’s mistakes.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
Scouting the Crusaders: Holy Cross enters the game with a 4-2 mark. In their most recent game,
the Crusaders defeated New Hampshire, 60-50, on November 24 in Worcester, Mass. Junior forward
Dave Dudzinski leads the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg). Sophomore guard
Justin Burrell is second on the team in scoring. He is averaging 11.5 points per game.
Holy Cross Athletics: Men’s Basketball Set To Tip-Off 2012-2013 Season
If Holy Cross can continue to improve the same way it did last year, expect the Crusaders to be among the Patriot League’s best, and in contention for a postseason tournament bid in March.
“The biggest key for us this year will be having consistent performances, both individually and as a team,” said head coach Milan Brown. “We have talked at length to our guys about being able to do whatever job they are supposed to do. Greatness happens because you do all the little things right all the time. If we pay attention to all of the details and execute to the best of our abilities, great plays can happen and a great season can happen.”
Woonsocket Call: PC’s Fortune welcomes heavy workload
“I love him to death, but it’s too much for him right now,” expressed Cooley about Fortune joining the fray sooner rather than later. “Sometimes kids say that they can’t wait to play and want to play every minute, but be careful what you ask for. Accountability is a must.”
The fact that Fortune hardly ever comes out of the game – the Hampton, Va. native logged a season-low 32 minutes against NJIT and has played 39 or more minutes on four occasions – has allowed him to emerge from the cocoon at a time when Cooley would like nothing better than to pull back the reins. Conversely, Providence’s second-year head coach is fully aware that every healthy and available body is fair game – even if one of those bodies is a precocious first-year player undergoing a baptism by fire.
The Sports Network: College Basketball Preview – Patriot League
HOLY CROSS: The bad news for the Crusaders and head coach Milan Brown is that the team is heading into the new season without a real offensive star. Devin Brown and R.J. Evans carried quite a bit of the offensive load for the team last year when they accounted for 14.6 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, and the team generated a total of only 65.0 ppg. Looking at the glass as being half full, Holy Cross does have junior forward Dave Dudzinski slated to return and he bring his 9.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg along for the ride. One of only two players to have started all 29 games for a Holy Cross program that finished 15-14 overall and was an impressive 9-5 in league play last year, Dudzinski would be wise to focus his energies on the interior where he had the most success and not on the outside where he ended up shooting just 25.6 percent from three- point range. Even though the team shot a mildly acceptable 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, the defense at the other end for the Crusaders was all over the competition and held them to just 30.5 percent success which ranked the group 24th in the nation in that department. Justin Burrell, the only other player to have started every game brings with him minimal scoring punch (7.4 ppg) but was the one who was able to get the rest of his teammates involved in the offense with 106 assists. However, the knock on Burrell is that his field goal shooting was just atrocious last season at 30.6 percent, a level of accuracy that must improve moving forward. Phil Beans (6.3 ppg) could stand to be a little less physical, fouling out four times, and more in tune with what Burrell was doing since he logged a mere 11 assists in close to 600 minutes of action.
THE MILAN BROWN BLOG: October 22, 2012
Two players I am happy to see step up are Dee Goens and Taylor Abt. Dee is making shots (mid-range & 3′s) and he is versatile enough that we can slide him to the shooting guard position. Taylor has rebounded the ball, is shooting it well (inside & out), and probably is our best post defender. I am excited about these guys’ progress so far. Now, Dave and Justin have had segments where they dominated practice. And they should! I like how big we are at the wing spot with Malcolm and Jordan. Malcolm’s length should cause people problems and Jordan is shooting the ball well. Phil looks good shooting the ball and Isaiah has been very physical in the post. We have seen flashes of Cullen’s ability to shoot the ball and Eric Green is going to be a really good defender before it’s all said and done.
WHAT TO: WATCH
2012-13 Patriot League Men’s Basketball Media Day: Holy Cross coach Milan Brown
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll be live tweeting @friarblog. You can also follow the #pcbb hashtag as always.
WHERE TO: WATCH
WHERE TO: LISTEN