Archives For Sunday Morning Crunch

Sunday Morning Crunch – 12.30.2012

rjsuperfly66 —  December 30th, 2012 9:31 AM —  Comments


I thought about just leaving the page blank, because that would best describe how the Friars played on Friday night. No substance, no heart. Just blank, empty, gutless.

People will point out LaDontae Henton as the lone star. His performance was impressive in comparison to the rest of his team and his own seasonal stats, but let’s have a moment. His shots, they were created by Vincent Council who time after time gave him relatively open looks from three. His defense, well that was less than to be desired. But it’s impossible to just point him out for that, the team as a whole couldn’t seem to guard a bucket of trash outside of 7/11.

If the sense you are getting is that this post has started very negative, it has. PC went to Brown. They were favored by over 12 points in a true road game. GAMER projections had PC winning by 27. Any other projection you find probably had PC has a significant favorite. But they lost, and not only did they perform poorly, they choked when it mattered. Good teams, heck even average teams, find ways to win games they have no business winning.

To assess this performance in more detail, let’s go to the Crunch…

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 12.23.2012

rjsuperfly66 —  December 23rd, 2012 8:55 AM —  Comments

Good Morning Friartown,

I wish I could come to you today with good news, but personally speaking, it is hard to feel good about what happened on the court yesterday. PC played two games this week, with the first being:


There was so much to celebrate about that game, with suffocating defense, good decision making, and oh yeah, the start of Kris Dunn’s career as a Providence Friar, as he only had 13 assists, a freshman-record for a first game. Sidiki Johnson also made his debut, and while his bullish demeanor on the court will be useful in Big East play, the matchups with three guard lineups is a huge mismatch

Friartown was ready to explode. Expectations were increasing. PC had a road game at Boston College, the same team who lost to Bryant by 2 and Harvard by 16 at home. In their last game, they needed OT to beat UNH by 2. When I saw GAMER projections predict BC to win 69-68, I laughed. PC had momentum, BC was desperate. Perhaps I should have looked at what history has shown us: PC struggles at Conte Forum. The games have been good for the most part, but PC can never seem to pull them out. Before the game on Saturday, PC had lost 6 of their last 8 meetings at Boston College since 2000 (not counting the neutral court game at the Fleet Center in 2007). The wins: 2003 and 2004. Thank you Ryan Gomes!

Seeing that final score, Boston College 71 Providence 68, it just reminded me what it is like to be a Friar fan. We will get there, I believe in Cooley, but it’s never easy.

Enough of the drama though. Kris Dunn played very well in his debut the other night, and so it got me thinking: How did his performance stack up against other freshmen in recent memory? Who do you think had the best freshman opening night debut since 2000?

For that and other answers, let’s get to the Crunch…

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 12.16.12

rjsuperfly66 —  December 16th, 2012 2:38 PM —  Comments

Good Morning Friartown,

There may not have been a game this week, but plenty of fireworks have exploded over Providence, Rhode Island, as the Big East as we know it seems to be collapsing before our eyes. Once upon a time, Dave Gavitt created the Big East as a place for basketball-centric schools who shared a basketball-focused vision, so how fitting that over forty years later, the Big East might be destroyed by a group of seven teams looking to return to that vision after those around them decided to chase the almighty dollar.

The “Catholic Seven” have played a very small part in the destruction of the conference. They are just picking up where Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Louisville started. How can you feel secure in a conference where two of your key members (Connecticut and Cincinnati) have publicly pleaded with opposing conferences for an invitation to become a member? How are you as a conference supposed to feel when the replacements for some of the best programs in the country over the past decade consist of mediocre counterparts, schools like Tulane, Central Florida, and SMU?

I don’t want to burden you with the same thoughts you have probably seen scrolled across the bottom of your TV for most of the past week. However, I would like to pick apart an article written by Nate Silver. For those who are not familiar with Mr. Silver, he is one of these new-age statisticians. He believes in saber-metrics and more modern ways of tracing data in sports and in politics. Through his website, Nate Silver has been publishing his findings for quite a few years, and his blog that can be found via the New York Times has served as a source of information for me as well.

With that, we shall explore Nate Silver’s blog post, A Smart Breakaway for Big East Schools, and some associated thoughts in the Crunch …

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 12.9.12

rjsuperfly66 —  December 9th, 2012 8:57 AM —  Comments


This has been 11 days far too long in between us last talking, so welcome back.

Thursday night proved to be yet another pivotal moment for this young, Friars team, a team decimated by injuries, and with so much uncertainty in the air, no one knew how they were going to perform. Would Bryce Cotton play? Would Kris Dunn play? When is Vincent Council coming back? This was the build up to the game the other night, in addition to, “We can’t wait for the transfers and future recruits,” a similar statement in both Providence and Kingston on that night.

However, to pretend this game just didn’t matter, that would be a grave injustice to both the players and coaches on both sides of the ball. When I wrote to you two Sunday’s ago, I wrote that one of the things I loved about Ed Cooley was that he held everyone accountable and didn’t make excuses. This is yet another example, that he is getting these guys in the best position to win, despite not having the depth or talent to compete, but he continues to work his magic, each and every game, hoping to get the players, coaches, and fans the results they deserve. Hopefully soon, some will appreciate that.

For now, let’s get to the Crunch …

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 11.25.12

rjsuperfly66 —  November 25th, 2012 9:43 AM —  Comments

157063105725205416_vtdjAjYP_cHAPPY SUNDAY MORNING FRIARTOWN,

I hope all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving, and as we move into the New Year in a few short weeks, how can we not have a lot to be thankful about when it comes to the Friars? A piece written by Mr. Friarblog himself really hit home for me, so I felt like I should have my own Thanksgiving themed version of the crunch to touch on some additional things Dave mentioned, and some original thought of my own, I hope. It will follow my set-up from last week, almost a little too closely at times, but its how I feel in regards to Cooley and his impact on the program and the players.

I know what I am thankful for! Ed “Freakin” Cooley!!!!! He stepped up this week and hit another home run for Friar fans, and has been doing it consistently since accepting the offer from the school in March of 2011.

Let us jump right in and starting Crunching my reasons to be thankful for Ed Cooley!

Scout ranks him as the 39th best recruit in the class 2013, ESPN ranks him 71st, and Rivals ranks him as 74th, but it is too hard to not be thankful for Brandon Austin. At 6’6, Brandon Austin has the athleticism and ability to give you significant minutes at the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions, and there are not many players who you can feel comfortable doing that with.

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Saturday Afternoon Crunch – 11.17.12

rjsuperfly66 —  November 17th, 2012 4:28 PM —  Comments

Kadeem, we need you more than ever right now

Good Afternoon Friartown,

We are coming to you early this week, as here at Friarblog we want to make sure you get a good chance to read through and make your perceptions as you prepare for tomorrow’s early 11AM tipoff against UNC-Asheville.

Talk about a busy week for Friar fans, three games since the last crunch, that is a dream for any PC fan. Granted, the circumstances could have been better (I don’t know, maybe half of a complete roster would have been nice), but it is hard to really get on the players too hard.  While maybe Dan Dakich couldn’t do his research and realize PC has three players injured, one academically ineligible, and three sitting do to transfer regulations, this team continues to scrap and work as hard as possible to be in a position to win.

I am a stats guy, but one thing that obviously cannot be calculated is heart and determination. Junior walkon Ted Brancroft played a career-high 45 MINUTES against Penn St. on Friday night. No that is no mistake, he played the entire game. And now think about it this way, not only is that a career-high for him, but that would also be a career high for 99.95% of college basketball players over the past ten seasons, most of those guys who have been recruited to play at this level. Ted Bancroft came to PC to be a student! And then he joined the team to be a towel-waiver for moral support! And now he is starting and playing 45 minutes. In the words of Mr. John Rooke, “HOLLLLYYYYY MOLLLLEEYYYY!!!!!”

Yet, despite having a player lacking ability like Bancroft in the game, PC led most of the second half, and took Penn St. to overtime on two late free throws by Kadeem Batts.  You can see Cooley oozing out of these players, the toughness, mental and physical, that he has taught these guys. It’s one of those things that maybe you are not happy with the results, but I personally prefer it than losing 105-95 (a score that seemed to define the Keno Davis era for me). As long as the fight and effort is there, how can you complain?

The Games This Week:

Providence 81 Bryant 49

UMASS 77 Providence 75

Penn St. 55 Providence 52

I’m going to bring forth a little bit of a different set-up this week. I’m going to go player from player to discuss games, year to date stats, and even in some cases compare them to last season.

With that, let’s start crunching….

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 11.11.12

rjsuperfly66 —  November 11th, 2012 9:00 AM —  Comments

Without Council, the Friars are going to have work together.
(Photo Kevin Reilly)

Happy Sunday Morning Friartown,

On Friday night, I unfortunately subjected myself to watching UCONN pull the upset win over Michigan St. in the Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.  Now, I hate Jay Bilas. I think he is a super-Duke homer who while insightful at times is blinded by the greed and desires of the multi-billion dollar corporation he commentates for.

That said, there was one thing he kept saying on repeat, and I paraphrase: “I think depth is overrated. You can win with a rotation of six or seven guys. The only problem with that is injuries become more severe.” Anyone who watched the game at all probably remembers him saying that, basically because he said it 1,500 times.

Unfortunately for Friar fans, that nightmare became a reality when Vincent Council fell and clutched his hamstring on Saturday afternoon (which I will discuss a little more later).  Personally, I think Vincent Council will be out for at least two weeks, and probably closer towards the URI game on 12/4.  Anyone who has ever suffered a hamstring pull, especially of the caliber of the strain Council suffered, knows how challenging it is to recover. You constantly think it is improving, only to feel the reminder of its pain after running for a few minutes, or even just strides. Now, I am no doctor, but I’ve dealt with these a few times in the past with myself or teammates, and any moderate to severe pull seems to take some time to recover from as it is really hard to play on a hamstring at less than 100%. It really comes down to the player and his ability to heal though, but these definitely take some time.

All things considered though, PC was still able to fight on while fighting through different sets and rotations they were not prepared to use, and sneak away with a one point victory at the Dunk on Saturday afternoon. For more on the stats, let’s hit the crunch.

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Sunday Morning Crunch 11.4.12

rjsuperfly66 —  November 4th, 2012 8:14 AM —  Comments

Teddy B, making the ticket

Good Morning Friartown,

Let us all do this collectively. BREATHE! DEEP BREATHS! It will be okay, I promise you.

Tonight is a perfect illustration of the harsh realities of having a roster without a lot of depth. While I’m sure Cotton would have played if this game meant something, this is typical of a team in complete rebuilding mode. While we wait on the approval or denial of Sidiki Johnson’s wavier request, the health of Kris Dunn, and the possible approval of Ricardo Ledo to play second semester, there will be growing pains.

Now, that does not mean I’m going to sit here and tell you to be optimistic and happy about what happened at the Dunkin Donuts Center last night. Last night, despite a 76-52 over the Rhode Island College Anchorman, was very disappointing in many aspects.

For the good and bad in statistics of last nights game, let us hit the CRUNCH!

2003 – The Last Time PC Lost an Exhibition Game at Home

This is actually amazing to think about, but the last time PC lost an exhibition game at home was coincidentally the same year they last made the NCAA Tournament. On November 15, 2003, the USDBL 320 All-Stars came to the Providence Civic Center and defeated the Friars, 112-109.

These games were also fun, when former collegiate stars would join together and challenge collegiate teams. John Morton (Seton Hall), Trevor Ruffin (Hawaii), and Devonaire Deas (Florida St.) all had big games for 320, while Friar legend Ryan Gomes scored 29 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.

This game was back and forth down the stretch of regulation, and Gomes banked in a 3 pointer with one second left to send the game to OT. Back and forth it continued to go, but trailing by 3, Abdul Mills missed a 3 with two seconds left to tie the game.

This was one of the more exciting games no one ever remembers.

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Sunday Morning Crunch – 10.28.12

rjsuperfly66 —  October 28th, 2012 9:42 AM —  Comments

Photo by Kevin Reilly

Welcome to this new segment here on Friarblog.  It was truly to be honored to be asked by Dave to really get involved here with the site, as I have been an avid reader basically from the first day this blog started. Dave once inspired me to start my own blog, which unfortunately got discontinued due to the fact it became constant complaining about how poor of a job Keno Davis was doing with the Friars.

When Dave asked me to get involved here on a weekly basis with the site, it was a no-brainer.  The work that they put in here is amazing, and I am honored to be part of the team.  The Crunch is going to be for the statistics geeks out there like myself, breaking down the stats of past and present games to show strengths, weaknesses, improvements, and flaws for the Providence Friars from game-to-game, season-to-season. It will dive into the positives and negatives about a given game from a unbiased point of view, which is the reason Friarblog became my number #1 source of Friars news so many years ago.

With that said, let us dive right on in …

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