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What better way to get things started than looking at the mascot of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (also known as N.C.-Charlotte, N.C.-Char, North Carolina-Charlotte, UNC, UNC-C, UNCC) 49ers?

Is it the 49ers mascot or a homeless man at Kennedy Plaza that keeps asking you for bus fare even though he has nowhere to go?

Charlotte played its regular season basketball in the Atlantic 10, although they will be moving to Conference USA as of July 2013, and finished with the same winning percentage, .500, as our beloved Providence Friars did. Wins over La Salle, Xavier and UMass headlined their resume early on in the season.

A one point loss at Temple and a seven point loss at home to VCU gave reason for some excitement because of the way they hung with and nearly upset two of the top two teams in the league and both NCAA Tournament selections.

Their best win of the year came against the forever known Cinderella of college basketball in the Butler Bulldogs. The 49ers were led by Pierria Henry, dropping 17 points including two late free throws, to end a twelve game win streak Butler had at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Just when you thought Ed Cooley had the best one or two liners after big wins or losses, look no further than Charlotte head coach Alan Major to change your mind.

“Does anybody have a stretcher?” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “I may need to be carried out of here after that one.”

Just for future reference coach: a please wouldn’t kill you.

Sadly for Coach Major, most of you reading this wouldn’t mind him to utter these words after his team gets done at the Dunk Wednesday night.

They enter their NIT game against the Friars coming off a decisive loss at the hands of St. Louis in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. At 21-11, 8-8, don’t expect Charlotte to succumb to the pressure of facing a school from a power six conference as the 49ers faced Miami and Florida State in their non-conference season.

Led by Chris Braswell, Pierria Henry and Willie Clayton, the 49ers are a deep rebounding time that isn’t afraid to hit the glass. Braswell averaged nearly 12 points per game to go along with 5.5 boards. The senior forward will do his best to keep his career alive and will try and go to work on the low block early on in the game. Henry is probably their most prolific scorer as the sophomore guard has shown he can score in bunches. He scored 17 against a very good guard defending team in Butler and a season high 28 points and 12 rebounds against Richmond in the A-10 tournament to put the team on his shooting hand, and free throw line as he scored his final 8 at the free throw line after the much talked about controversial ending and technical fouls.

There isn’t much that Charlotte can throw at the Friars that they haven’t seen this year, except maybe Norm The Niner.

Can we all acknowledge that in a mascot with a drugged out dragon, a bear in the Bloods, a cigarette butt and a nightmare-fuel pig, Niner is SOMEHOW the awkward one? Thanks.

In their quarterfinal game against St. Louis, Braswell noted the one thing that Charlotte could not contend with.

“They were just speeding us up,” Braswell said. “We were just rushing, trying to make home run passes.”

If there is one thing that Council, Cotton and Dunn can do to you is speed you up. It isn’t a style the Friars have seen much of this season as Ed Cooley prefers to milk some clock and run the different half court sets he has in place, but he has always said he is the type of coach that wants his teams to get up and down. Kadeem Batts should be able to hold his own and more against a heavily dependent front-court team in the 49ers.

One thing to keep an eye out for is the how the Friars start. It has said time and time again over the last few weeks that Cooley has been unable to get the start he, nor the fans, have been hoping for. After an emotional win against Richmond, Charlotte showed very little resistance against St. Louis.

Earlier today I post a little something on Facebook asking you all what article you’d like to see – a Cincy recap, a postseason discussion, or a reflection on one particular player.

Thankfully, you guys picked the postseason article. Because God knows deep down I was going to do everything in my power to avoid doing a Cincy recap.

So, you asked for it, now you got it! Hit the jump and let’s talk about the Friars in the postseason!

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Pregame Buffet: UConn

Daniel "The Warrior Friar" James —  January 31st, 2013 12:56 PM —  Comments

Welcome to another Friarblog Pregame Buffet, a new feature I hope to make regular on this site. This buffet comes with all-you-can-eat videos, audio, images, lists, and everything else you need to have a good time.

Like most buffets this is short on words, but long on content. Read/listen/watch on to get everything you need to fill up on before the UConn game at the Dunk tonight at 7:00!

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boston-collegeOh, Boston College. We were once conference-mates, but you were among the first few teams that didn’t believe in the survival of the BIG EAST and stabbed us all in the back. It’s cool though. Even though the football/basketball combo didn’t quite work out, that stabbing eventually led the Friars and the basketball schools into a suddenly promising future now that they have banded together and taken action. No more football bs, lots of exit fee money, great teams joining in, and a potential better TV contract. Thanks BC! Let us repay you by beating you on our your home court.

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: 2:00 PM

Opponent: Boston College (5-5)

Location: Conte Forum

Spread: Providence -2

Ken Pom: Providence: #59, Boston College: #186

TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 67.6, Boston College 64.4

Four Factors

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colgateThe near two week semester break was much needed time off for Ed Cooley’s Fightin’ Friars. However, Friartown has been itching for some basketball, especially basketball that involves the much anticipated PC debuts of Kris Dunn and Sidiki Johnson. At least there were some things that kept us busy during this whole time, like you know, the BIG EAST imploding and PC actually being involved in some positive conference realignment news for the first time ever. Now that we know what the Catholic 7 generally want to do, all we can do is sit back and wait to see how everything unfolds over the next year. What we don’t have to wait for? Ed Cooley’s basketball team continuing to take full shape. Against Colgate tonight, the Friars will ease into their newfound depth situation as they play their first of three games before grueling BIG EAST play starts.

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: 7:00 PM

Opponent: Colgate (3-7)

Location: The Dunk

Ken Pom: Providence: #71, Colgate: #281

TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 75.6, Colgate 61.9

Four Factors

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rhode-islandThe season so far has been littered with adversity, so what’s one more game that happens to be against an in-state rival? We’re used to this, Friartown. Ed Cooley’s Fightin’ Friars just have to survive this one last game before the semester break to get a much needed two week vacation. Given the situation (despite who the opponents have been), it’s impressive that PC has a chance to go 7-2 as they wait to get Sidiki Johnson and Kris Dunn back for the 2nd semester. Tonight, they will face the Danny Hurley led Rams for the first time in the rivalry.

UPDATE: Kris Dunn is definitely not playing according to Kevin McNamara and Gavin Keefe. Bryce Cotton looks like he will give it a go.

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: 7:00 PM

Opponent: Rhode Island (2-6)

Location: The Dunk

Spread: Providence -6

Ken Pom: Providence: #74, Rhode Island: #217

TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 69.7, URI 62.8

Four Factors

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mississippi-state

On Saturday afternoon, the Friars will be taking on an inexperienced and rebuilding Mississipi State team as part of the SEC / Big East Challenge. Overall, there are 11 other games occurring over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, giving us an opportunity for some well timed conference pride! Hey, the conference is going down in flames and nobody can be trusted, might as well try to band together to collectively kick the arses of a bunch of schools down south! Oh, you stabbed us all in the back and left us for dead? No worries, at least we can still agree that we all hate Kentucky.

The Bulldogs lost most of their top players from last year, and are in a rebuilding mode after coach Rick Stansbury was “fired” after last season. Maybe he had a tough time juggling coaching Mississippi State and running a prestigious but fake University of his namesake in Saved By the Bell land. “If Stansbury is that hypocritical, they’ll just have to do without Jessica Spano!” You are not the Harvard of the west, Stansbury…North, south, east, or west, there’s only one Haaar-vard!!

In is another Rick, a fellow named Rick Ray. He’s a former assistant coach who spent time at Indiana State, Northern Illinois, Purdue, and Clemson. Unlike Ed Cooley last year, Ray doesn’t have a Vincent Council type player to lean on in order to consistently stay competitive. The team is young and banged up, and have yet to win away from home so far this year. PC should be able to give the Big East a notch in the win column if they continue their smart and resilient play, but it remains to be seen if the Dunk will be rockin’ after Coach Cooley made his plea to the students to support the Friars who have worked hard this season.

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: Saturday, Noon

Opponent: Mississippi State (2-4)

Location: The Dunk

Spread: Providence -12.5

Ken Pomeroy Ranks: Providence #70, Mississippi State #227

TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 72, Mississippi State 62.5

Four Factors

Hit up the rest of the preview after the jump.

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holy-crossHoly 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

Spread: N/A

Ken Pom: Providence: #76, Holy Cross: #210

TeamRankings.com Projection: Providence 72.1, Holy Cross 62.4

Four Factors

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fairfield Before facing his former team last season, Ed Cooley mentioned something (and I don’t remember the exact quote and can’t find anything online) about wanting to rip out Fairfield’s throats once they got onto the court — And this was about a team whom he personally recruited most of it’s players! Heading into tonight’s game, the team Cooley left last year for PC has five new faces. In other words, Big Ed has even less feelings for this current Fairfield squad — oh yeah he’s a cuddly bear!! In addition to ripping throats, Cooley will probably add spinning them around, shoving said throats up their rear, and kicking them into a deadly pit Spartan-style. “Oh, I’ve chosen my words carefully, Stag. Perhaps you should have done the same! THIS IS FRIARTOWN!”

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: 7:00 PM

Opponent: Fairfield (3-2)

Location: The Dunk

Spread: Providence -4.5

Ken Pom: Providence: #89, Fairfield: #137

TeamRankings.com Projection: Fairfield 65.9, Providence 68.6

Four Factors

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massachusettsGet your platanos and rice & beans ready Friartown, because the Puerto Rico Tip-Off is about to get underway. Instead of an easy hour and a half drive between the two schools, Providence College and Massachusetts decided it would be way more fun to play somewhere that required a flight to a place with amazing weather. It’s starting to get cold in New England, who wants to be bothered with that? Enter the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, a tournament the Friars participated in its inaugural year in 2007. PC had a solid trip to start that year (which unfortunately ended in a mediocre 15-16 season, Tim Welsh’s last) advancing to the final against Miami after defeating Temple and Arkansas.

This year in the first round, the Friars will face a run and gun UMASS team that has NCAA Tournament aspirations.

WHAT TO: KNOW

Game Time: Thursday, 7:30 PM

Opponent: Massachusetts

Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Spread: UMass -9

Ken Pom: Providence: #79, UMass: #58

TeamRankings.com Projection: UMass 72.9, Providence 65.6

WHAT TO: VOTE FOR

Hit up the rest of the preview after the jump.

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