As noted in my preview by-the-numbers on ScoutFriars.com, last season’s offense was better than average in the Big East, but it was also highly inconsistent, scoring at least 1.09 points per possession in seven conference games but less than 0.85 in six, including the Big East Tournament debacle vs. Seton Hall. The previous year’s team only went under 0.85 twice and over 1.09 three times.
The offense’s effectiveness was tied directly to its ability to make shots, and so Cooley often went with small lineups to get the best shooters on the floor, which included Bryce Cotton as a small 2 and LaDontae Henton as a small 4. This created more room for Vincent Council to penetrate and score or dish and for Gerald Coleman to get inside the defense. When either of those two shooters was off the floor, Providence was playing a non-scorer (Ron Giplaye or Brice Kofane) or a lane-clogger (Bilal Dixon) as well as Kadeem Batts, who had a very poor offensive season (more on that later). The big lineup might have been marginally better defensively, but it also compressed the offense and made it harder for Council to get his teammates good looks. Cooley sacrificed the defense in favor of the small lineup because his offense was simply not functional without all four of the key guys on the floor together.
The 2012-13 squad figures to have a lot of the same problems as last year’s team — lack of length, lack of depth, but maybe not quite the shortage of shooters. When looking at this squad’s offense, I want to focus briefly on the seven-man rotation that Providence figures to have for the first handful of games and then focus more extensively on the nine-man rotation we’re hoping it has for conference play.