Archives For TGIF

T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 01.18.13

@FriarFrenzy —  January 18th, 2013 11:40 AM —  Comments


-The Friars defense had something to do with Georgetown shooting the lights out on Wednesday (53% overall, 42% 3PT) but the way the Hoyas lock you down on the defensive end, they will be very tough for anyone to beat if they shoot well.

-It was fantastic to get a convincing win on the road against Seton Hall but, honestly, the defense was not tremendous in that game either.   The Pirates made many unforced errors.

-Although the Friars, to their credit, took advantage and never looked back.

-The second half against Georgetown was a valiant effort and showed us a second example (DePaul attempted comeback) that this team has the ability to be successful using an up tempo style.

-Ed Cooley, as reported in Thursday’s Providence Journal, said the game plan versus Georgetown was to pick up the pace right away, but it blew up in smoke because of the Friars inability to execute offensively and score in the early going.


-In other words, you can’t press if you can’t score.

-Kind of like you can’t steal first base.

-Hopefully Cooley and company are considering using the up tempo, pressing style on a consistent basis as it could mask some of the Friars defensive warts.

-Plus, the rotation is filling out and by going up tempo the strengths of another capable player, Ted Bancroft who is valuable in the press, can be maximized.

-I like an aggressive press as opposed to a passive one.  Put as much stress on your opponent as you can.

-It probably would not have made a difference in the end but the Providence – Georgetown game was not refereed the same way on both ends of the floor, with touch fouls being called on the Friars and more physical play allowed by the Hoyas.

-Welcome to life on the road in the Big East.

-In our cross-site Q&A with Georgetown blogger Casual Hoya, when asked for his assessment of Georgetown head coach John Thompson III, who has endured some criticism over the years particularly for short-lived post seasons, he endorsed JT III, commenting that he would not trade him for Ed Cooley.

-Fair enough but I would not trade Ed Cooley for JT III right now either.

-Casual Hoya’s comment, while a bit of a shot, essentially was meant as fun tongue-in-cheek barb in the spirit of the post.

-But I get it and agree with his overall point.  The JT III criticism has been largely unfair.

-With coaches it is often about timing and fit.  Both Ed Cooley and John Thompson III are in the right jobs and are set up for long term success.

-LaDontae Henton is shooting 16.7% (3 for 18) from three-point land since the Brown game where he went 6-10.

-And 33% (13-39) shooting twos during the same time period.

-Josh Fortune has struggled too as the season has worn on.  Since the Colgate game, he is shooting just 23.9% (11-46) overall and 23.3% (7-30) from three-point range as compared to 38.9% (37-95) overall and 29.7 (14-47) from three prior to.

-You’d have to think this is due in large part to the heavy minutes endured by the freshman for the short-handed Friars.

-And perhaps why we are fixing to see a lot more of Kris Dunn and a bit less of Fortune moving forward.

-The next five games for the Friars: Villanova, Pittsburgh, at Marquette, Connecticut and at Villanova should show us exactly where the Friars are at.

-On paper all are potentially winnable and easily losable.  This is the group Providence will have to make some hay with if they want to gain any traction in the conference this season.

-Pittsburgh has held two of its last three Big East opponents, and pretty good ones at that (Georgetown and Notre Dame), under 50 points.  Overall, eight of the Panthers’ eighteen opponents have failed to get out of the 40s.

-THIS JUST IN!  Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs.

-But nothing is actually true until Oprah says so, right?


Oprah flasing a gang sign? (Photo Getty Images -

Oprah flasing a gang sign? (Photo Getty Images –


-So, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, is going to be a Super Bowl correspondent for “Inside Edition”?  How much of a finder’s fee does Brent Musburger get for that?

-As for Manti Te’o?  Let’s just say he’s not having a great month.

-Former Friar target Chris Obekpa recently set St. John’s school record for blocks in a season…in 16 games.

-San Diego State is ditching its Big East commitment and staying in the Mountain West.  This is the third “Big East” school to leave without playing a game as a member of the conference. Boise State and Texas Christian being the others.

-Now we hear that Connecticut and Cincinnati are interested in joining the new ‘Catholic League’ for basketball only while looking to find another home for their football teams.  Just more evidence that basketball holds the power in the Big East and that the league is going to be just fine.

-Oh, and they probably saw that $500 million offer from Fox.

Have a great weekend Friartown.  Be safe.

TGIF-ABCCall me cold-hearted but, while I will miss the regular meetings with programs like Syracuse and appreciate the history of the Big East as much as anyone, I just don’t feel sentimental or sympathetic about their (or any other school’s) departure at all. They chose to leave. It did not have to be this way but it is what it is.

That said, I respect Jim Boeheim for being honest about where his heart is, rather than putting some BS spin on it like some other coaches have.

And I respect Jeff Goodman of CBS for reserving the right to change his mind about Ricky Ledo.

It is obviously always tough to deal with losing, but on the heels of the DePaul clunker it was encouraging to see a game Friar squad stand up to an extremely talented Syracuse team.

While the effort was much better, the turning point in the Syracuse game was similar to that of the DePaul contest in that the Friars completely hit the skids down the first half stretch and lost any momentum they had built. Versus DePaul the Friars scored two points in the final 3:19 to turn a one point lead into a seven point halftime deficit, and never recovered. Against Syracuse the Friars did not score in the final 4:49 of the first half and saw a nine point lead shrink to three. They did better coming out of the locker room on Wednesday than versus DePaul but could obviously have used a bigger cushion against a team the caliber of the Orange.

Despite the positive fast-paced desperation flourish the Friars exhibited to close out the DePaul game, Ed Cooley said he would not try to run with Syracuse. Controlling the pace was the right decision given the matchup, and the Friars executed well for the first fifteen minutes as they remained aggressive despite trying to shorten the game.

However Providence took it down a gear too far in the last five minutes of the half when they were up nine.

As if it were the second half and they were trying to nurse the lead home for a win. They became too stagnant.

It led to Bryce Cotton, who probably would have cooled off some under any circumstances, to get out of rhythm.

That said it is not reasonable to expect a solid forty minutes from this team yet. They are going to have to work around some of the pot holes if they want to win.

It’s taken the Boston Celtics 30-plus games to seemingly figure it out. So there you go.

But is there anyone better at getting fouled on three point attempts than “ICE”?

Cooley’s approach to go big and shorten the rotation a bit was also sound and had a positive impact.

Sidiki Johnson got the start on Wednesday and followed up his outstanding effort against DePaul with another very good game. After an erratic start to his Friar career, Sidiki is now playing to his strengths and staying within himself.

The Friars got killed on the glass.

Perhaps if not for the early foul trouble that limited Sidiki’s first half minutes the results may have been closer.

Have not seen any video of the game but to the naked eye both of those foul calls appeared to be questionable.

Michael Carter-Williams is special.

Which is why I am not worried about Kris Dunn at all.

Dunn is dealing with a difficult situation at less than 100% without the benefit of preparation. It is completely understandable that he would not be at his best yet.

But Kris Dunn is a gamer and I am betting he will make an impact sooner than later provided his shoulder continues to improve.

Carter-Williams did not face serious injury and, albeit on a much more talented team, did not even get into eleven games as a freshman while averaging just 10.3 minutes, 2.7 points and 2.1 assists per game.

Happy to see the site back up and active. One thing I learned during the brief hiatus is that I need the outlet. My wife loves the Friars but who knew she really does not care to hear analysis about Sidiki’s defensive positioning at the dinner table? What’s up with that?

The difference between great zone defense and decent zone defense? You couldn’t shoot a bee bee through the middle of Syracuse’s zone but Providence’s middle was open for business all night long.

In other words, size matters.

The Catholic 7 are 7-11 in Big East play if you are scoring at home.

Which means absolutely nothing by the way.

Although Catholic League detractors will use this type of thing to…well, detract.

But they will be wrong, because the decision to split was right.

$500 million anyone?

Congratulations to the Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara who was named Rhode Island’s sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA). An honor certainly well deserved.

In reviewing “NSSA” on the web I found that several organizations use the acronym, including the National Scholastic Surfing Association.

That said, Johnny Utah has nothing on KMac.

What up BRAAHHH!! (Photo credit:

What up BRAAHHH!! (Photo credit:

Speaking of the Providence Journal, I am a big fan of their digital “eEdition”. It’s easy to use and works well on multiple types of technology. I am an iPad guy and the app is great.

But I keep breaking my pencil trying to do the crossword puzzle.

Connecticut’s giving head coach Kevin Ollie a five- year extension was the right move, especially given instability around all things UCONN given the impending departure of the Catholic 7.

So the NCAA is contemplating a rule change that would seemingly make it more attractive for student athletes to transfer by eliminating the sit out a year requirement for transfers with a 2.6 or better GPA?

Do well in school so you can go to another one!

What’s next? Trades?

Fair or unfair, going into the Boston College and Brown games were the first time in the Ed Cooley era that his Friars faced elevated expectations.

It’s a work in progress Friartown. Keep the faith.

T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 12.28.12

@FriarFrenzy —  December 28th, 2012 9:06 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCDid the Friars really lose to Boston College or did I just have too much spiked eggnog?

What? Both?

OK, so the loss to Boston College was a bit of a bubble-burster.

But how do you go to a place called Chestnut Hill during Christmas time and expect to get out of there with a win?

Seriously though, going on the road is a different animal. This program has been made tremendous strides since Ed Cooley took over, but the work in progress continues. The next challenge along the curve is to become a tough road team.

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 12.21.12

@FriarFrenzy —  December 21st, 2012 10:17 AM —  Comments


Thoughts and prayers continue to be with all impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Wish it never had to be, but the Providence College community should be proud of the tribute paid to the fallen on Tuesday night. Classy, on point and not overstated.

There were some damp eyes in the house during the very heavy moment of silence following the well stated video remarks of Ed Cooley and Bob Driscoll.

I know I was looking at it all through a pair.

Appeared to affect the players coming out of the gate as well. How could it not have? The game was way down on the list for everyone in the building at that point.

Eventually the focus turned to Providence versus Colgate and, from a basketball standpoint, hope was tangible in Friartown.

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 12.14.12

@FriarFrenzy —  December 14th, 2012 11:06 AM —  Comments

Forget about Friday. Thank God for exam week!  With the relative quiet on Big East campuses it finally got Presidents and Athletic Directors of the basketball-centric schools bored enough to say “Hey, maybe we should take a meeting on this whole realignment thing.”

It is fitting that the “Catholic” school leadership met on a Sunday to discuss their future, and not surprising at all that a split appears imminent.

I have said it before and I will say it again, people don’t just show up to conference realignment talks for the free FRESCA.  When these meetings occur, swift action typically follows.

Fresca.  The official beverage of conference realignment.

FRESCA. The official beverage of conference realignment. (Or bad posts about conference realignment)

Ed Cooley has come up with some creative names for his short-handed active roster this year.  Along those lines, can we call the Big East’s basketball schools the “Sacred Seven”?

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 12.07.12

@FriarFrenzy —  December 7th, 2012 11:24 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCProvidence College 72, University of Rhode Island 57. All is good in Friartown.

Last night’s win over URI was a great microcosm of the progress this Friar program has made under Ed Cooley. Undermanned and clearly bothered by URI’s defensive pressure, Providence nursed a one point lead at halftime but rather than just hoping to hang in there and play the game down to the last five minutes or, worse yet, getting run out of the gym in the second half, the Friars held firm on defense and figured out how to get their best healthy players, Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton, in position to score. They brought the energy, built a lead and closed the game out.

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown 11.30.12

@FriarFrenzy —  November 30th, 2012 10:05 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCThe Friars are 5-2, with the two losses coming on an acrobatic tip in at the buzzer and in overtime. As they say ‘close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades’ but given the circumstances these are very positive results.

Beyond the record, it is clear this group has benefited from a full off season in Ed Cooley’s program. They are physically and mentally stronger. The defensive statistics are telling and that is what many will focus on throughout the year given past ills, but there is clear advancement on the offensive end in terms of organization and execution as well.

Yes, there are turnovers and forced shots but show me any sampling of college games that do not have these.

We will see what happens as the caliber of opponent increases but, no matter what, if this team is going to be competitive in conference play they are going to need to get better on the defensive glass.

Sidiki Johnson should help in that department.

Bill Reynolds had a great feature in the ProJo this week on Bryce Cotton’s emergence and how he taught himself to remake his jumper between his freshman and sophomore years.

The Legend of Ice continues to grow.

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T.G.I.F: Thank God It’s Friartown

@FriarFrenzy —  November 23rd, 2012 12:23 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCHope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Of course there is nothing like Turkey Day leftovers, and tonight we will be feasting on Stags, the Fairfield variety.

This was a good news, bad news week. We saw the Friars gain a huge signing from 2013 guard Brandon Austin, who was also considering national powers Connecticut and Texas. On the other hand, the Big East and college sports took another step toward complete homogenization when it was learned that Rutgers will be joining the Big Ten.

On the surface the departure of bottom feeder Rutgers would not be so devastating, but given the Big Ten also lured Maryland from the ACC means that either Connecticut or Louisville is soon to defect, and that would serve as the death knell to the Big East as we know it.

Is television slowly killing college football and basketball? Somewhere along the line, the balance of power shifted from the schools and conferences to the TV networks that play for nothing but money.

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T.G.I.F: Thoughts Generated In Friartown

@FriarFrenzy —  November 16th, 2012 9:16 AM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCHeartbreaking loss to UMASS last night. Outstanding effort and Providence deserved a better fate.

However this is another one of those close and late situations that the Friars faced a number of times last year and could not close.

LaDontae Henton is a great player and he gave his usual max effort last night, as evidenced by yet another double-double. That said, regardless of what you think of the charge call, it was an off night for Henton offensively and the last possession should have focused on Cotton and Batts, and not Buckets.

This tournament will help the team adjust to life without Vincent Council.

Here’s hoping Dan Dakich loses his voice. #BRUTAL!!!

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T.G.I.F: Thoughts Generated In Friartown.

@FriarFrenzy —  November 9th, 2012 1:00 PM —  Comments

TGIF-ABCWelcome to our version of a tidbit, random thought and observation column.  Think of it like when you were in high school and the junior varsity basketball games were always played before the varsity.   On Saturdays you will get great stuff from Bill Reynolds in his legendary Providence Journal ‘For What it’s Worth’ column, and from John Rooke in his always entertaining and informational ‘Thinking out Loud’ feature on On Fridays you will get this, the JV game of quick hitters.

Hey (Bunky), didn’t Michael Jordan play JV?  (Just Sayin’)

There are many great fan bases in college basketball, and I think we can admit a number of them are more rabid than ours.  However the thing that makes Friartown unique is its sense of community.  You would be hard pressed to find a tighter knit group with more invested and I’ll take that any day over choreographed routines in the stands.

Part of the above comes from the Friars being like a pro team in Rhode Island but perhaps more so because those involved with the program, whether it be players, coaches, administrators or media have historically and graciously embraced the fan base.  Because of this Friar fans know they matter and have impact which further cements their loyalty and helps the program weather prolonged droughts like the one we are currently in.

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