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!
The Providence Friars are trying to prolong their season as they head to NYC for the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament. Their opponent tonight is the Seton Hall Pirates, who the Friars lost to over the weekend at the DUNK as a result of a rather dull performance. However, I think tonight is going to be different for several reasons.
Since I started Friarblog.com, the Friars are 4-0 in games that I have personally attended. Sure, the opponents have been Rutgers (twice) and DePaul (in the BET last year) — but the other was Gonzo’s Pirates at the Prudential Center. Let’s hope I don’t get by a cab on my walk from the office to the Garden.
The Hall is in a very similar situation that our Friars were in last year. They have a good conference record, but not enough marquee wins. Most bubble-talkin’ people have SHU needing a win against PC AND Notre Dame in order to be considered for an At-Large Bid. Why is this important? Well, if the Friars have any fondness for last year’s class, they are going to want to play spoiler. After all, PC had a better conference record (10-8 vs 9-9) and did not get with only one win in the BET. Do it for McDermott boys!
This is Madison Square Garden in New York City. Despite losing 10 games in a row and counting, I think the boys will up for a game of maximum effort. Bilal Dixon will want to impress his Jersey City contingent, and Vincent Council and Greedy will hopefully shine for the Brooklyn folks.
Sharaud Curry deserves a better ending. Last year should have been his Senior night, Upsetting #1 Pittsburgh with the class he played for 4 years. However, his night came on the depressing end of an awful losing streak, behind a lackluster crowd. Sure, Curry has his flaws defensively, but he has been a great scorer at Providence College and deserves a little better ending! Let’s hope he takes matters into his own hands and drills some threes like we’ve seen him in conference play.
WHERE TO: BOOZE
Before and after the game, I’ll be hitting up Stout (right down the street from the Garden, 133 West 33rd Street). I’ll be rocking my homemade Friarblog.com T-Shirt, so the first person to say hi and mention this post I’ll buy them a beer .
The Friars return to action on Tuesday, March 9at the BIG EAST Championship in New York, N.Y. As the No. 15 seed, PC will face No. 10 seed Seton Hall at 7:00 p.m. for the second time in three days and the first time in the BIG EAST Tournament since 2000. The Friars were defeated, 92-80, by the Pirates on March 6 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Tuesday’s contest will mark the 87th meeting ever between the two teams. Providence has posted a 45-41 mark all-time against Seton Hall. The two teams first met on February 26, 1927 when the Pirates defeated the Friars, 25-24, in South Orange, N.J. The Friars are 18-25 in road games against Seton Hall, 24-12 in home games and 3-4 in games on neutral courts. The Friars last defeated the Pirates, 98-93, in overtime on January 22, 2009 in Newark, N.J.
PC guard Marshon Brooks says he sees the Friars with a bit of a mental edge. While the Pirates badly need to win the game, the Friars are riding a 10-game losing streak and clearly won’t be playing games after this week barring an unforeseen run through the Big East tourney. He expects his teammates to be excited to play for what could be the final time this year.
Garcia, who is the only current Pirate to have known the NCAA Tournament — having been a freshman during the 2006 NCAA season — has had one goal this season: Make it back to the dance. He doesn’t care that he’s averaging less than 14 minutes a game or that his body — which undergoes 10-14 hours of treatment a week — can only take so many trips up and down the court.
“I’m going to be juiced,” he said. “It’s going to mean a lot to me. That’s MSG. That’s where Michael Jordan and guys tried to come in there and put on a great show for everybody. If you come out there and you’re not playing basketball, [the fans] will let you know it. So you have to come out with your ‘A’ game.”
For the season, Jeremy Hazell leads Seton Hall and ranks third in the conference with 21.2 points per game. Herb Pope became the first Pirate to finish a season leading the Big East in rebounds per game (11.1).
No. 15 Providence vs. No. 10 Seton Hall: The Friars followed up its near-miss at Pittsburgh with a clunker in their home finale against these same Pirates. For once, the defense wasn’t the primary problem — not to imply that PC’s defense was good on Saturday. Worse was the offense, which shot just 42.3 percent eFG and committed turnovers on one quarter of its possessions. The latter has rarely been a problem this season. If the Friars can clean up the turnovers and get Greedy Peterson more involved — the double-double machine had just six points and four rebounds before fouling out — PC could pull off a crushing upset. The bad matchup for PC — and this isn’t new — is on defense, where Seton Hall doesn’t turn the ball over. Forcing turnovers is the primary way that PC gets stops, and without that out, the Friars’ only option is to pray for missed shots. Teams don’t generally miss layups.
As far as a game plan goes, it’s as simple as throw the ball on the court and get out of the way. Both teams love to run and their scoring averages prove it. Providence is averaging 81.6 points per game while surrendering 81.3 ppg. Seton Hall is tickling the twine to the tune of 80.3 points per game while allowing 74 and change. The first half-court set you see tonight might be the last one, so enjoy it.
Things have been rather quiet around these parts (I can only link to / talk about the defense problem so much without wanting to smash my laptop Office Space style), but we are almost at the conference finish line. The Provience (get it, no D!! hahahaha, I’m here all night!) Friars have two games to go, starting tonight with a nationally televised game against Pittsburgh at the Pete. All our defensive woes aside, there are other reasons to be worried here. 1) It’s a road game against another ranked team. 2) Pitt is going to be motivated to get that sweet double-bye in the BIG EAST Tournament. 3) Pitt wants payback for getting beat whilst ranked #1 last year on our Senior Night). Yikes. Let’s see if the Friars can muster any motivation on their end — after all, they have been the butt of many jokes in the media concerning their defense. It’s obviously not something that is going to change with a flip of the switch, but the effort should be there tonight at least.
The Friars return to action on Thursday, March 4 at No. 17/18 Pittsburgh. PC has posted a 17-27 record all-time versus Pitt. PC is 13-8 all-time at home versus Pitt, 3-18 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites. The two teams first met on March 18, 1975 with the Friars earning a 101-80 win at Madison Square Garden in the NIT. Last year, the Friars defeated the top-ranked Panthers, 81-73, on February 24, 2009. The Friar victory ended an eight-game losing streak versus Pittsburgh. Pitt’s last win over the Friars was an 82-63 victory at Pittsburgh on February 12, 2008.
As Pittsburgh coach Jaime Dixon says, the Friars’ up-and-down, no-defense style is not usually seen in the Big East and clearly cannot work. “They do things a little different than I’d say most teams in the Big East do,” said Dixon. “So, with that, you are going to have higher-scoring games.”
It was a little more than a year ago that Pitt, with a No. 1 ranking in tow after seven consecutive victories, got drilled at Providence, 81-73, by a team that had lost five of its previous seven games.
So when No. 17 Pitt plays host to Providence tonight at the Petersen Events Center don’t expect the Panthers to underestimate the struggling Friars.
“That’s part of being in the Big East,” sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs said. “Anyone can be beaten on any given night. We didn’t come out strong. We came out lackadaisical. We came out really lazy, and they took advantage. Before you knew it, we were down 20.
“We’re definitely thinking about last year. But, at the same time, we want to treat it like any other game and play our hardest.”
Peterson has come out of relative obscurity to average a team-high 19.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward has notched a Big East-leading 14 double-doubles this season — four more than Pitt has as a team — as well as a bunch of highlight-reel dunks.
“He’s a tough matchup,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “He’s strong enough to play inside and versatile enough to play on the outside.”
Pitt (22-7, 11-5) will look to exploit the Providence defense, which is the worst in the Big East, giving up an average 81.2 points per game. Comparatively, the Panthers rank first in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 61.7 points per game.
“We’re just going to try to play our game,” Pitt guard Jermaine Dixon said. “Even though they are struggling, they have stayed in with some big-name teams. They get up for the competition. We are just going to do what we do.”
The Friars are not a particularly big team so there are no big match-up probles for Pitt, but as we saw last week against ND teams that can drive and shoot from outside can be more of a problem for Pitt. Regardless of their overall size.
WHAT TO: WATCH
When we played WV, I already showed the entire end of regulation plus the 3 OT game against Pitt. So, here is a different Pitt game clip.
Fear not Friar fans, the end of the GAUNTLET is almost here! Sure, we’ve gotten a big fat ZERO points along the way, and nothing but bruises all over our bodies, but hey it looks like we will make it out alive. That’s not enough though. To make it through the rest of this season in Friartown, we need to be like Jack Bauer. We need to persevere and not give up. What did Jack do this season when Renee (she’s always been hot, now she’s crazy chick hot) stabbed him in the abdomen accidentally after repeatedly stabbing a Russian mobster to death? He didn’t pass out, fall to the ground in agony, or even “feel pain”. He pulled that mother effer out of his gut, and made a back handed throw into the neck of a different Russian Mobster to save the day.
So let’s do this tonight Friars! Let’s stab the Russian Mobster that is Syracuse Basketball and end this losing streak!
Vincent Council is still questionable to play tonight, and this is obviously a huge huge factor. Even if he does get on the court, you would wonder how effective he will be with a very sore right hand. Look for Sharaud Curry to play 40 minutes, and Johnnie Lacy to see more time than usual as well.
Bilal Dixon is also shaking off an injury to his ankle. Remember, PC was able to stay in the game in the first half with great offensive rebounding when PC met Syracuse earlier in the month. Dixon can obviously pull in his share of offensive boards, so the Friars need him at full strength.
Andy Rautins has been on fire lately, and we all know what big shooters can do against the defense. Rautins missed the game last year which Providence won at the DUNK due to an injury.
The Friars return to action on Tuesday, February 23 versus No. 4/4 Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. in Providence. The Friars have posted a 10-42 mark all-time versus the Orange. The Friars are 6-20 at home, 3-18 on the road and 1-4 on neutral courts all-time against Syracuse. The two teams first met on December 29, 1969 with Syracuse earning a 94-83 win in Charlotte, N.C. Last season, the Friars defeated No. 15 Syracuse, 100-94, on January 28, 2009 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. In the first meeting between the two teams this season atthe Carrier Dome, Syracuse earned an 85-68 win over the Friars on February 2.
Syracuse is 10-0 away from the Carrier Dome this season. The team is 7-0 in true road contests and 3-0 in neutral-site affairs. The last time the Orange did not lose a road game in the regular season was in 1917-18.
With time on their side, the Friars settle into their home arena early on game nights. Make that real early. In a new schedule this season, Davis brings his players together five hours before a game at The Dunk. During that time, they’ll study an opponent’s attack, eat a catered meal, receive treatment on injuries, catch a nap, talk on the phone and be free to shoot as many free throws as they’d like.
Andy Rautins wasn’t just hot, he was on fire at Georgetown. His five 3-pointers tied the most he’s made in Big East play this season. His 26 points were three shy of his career-high, which he set last season against Coppin State. He was 5-for-9 from 3-point range and also went 9-for-11 at the foul line.
Two wins away from the program’s first perfect road record in 92 years, the fourth-ranked Orange visit Providence on Tuesday night with plenty of confidence after blowing out the Friars earlier this month.
A 75-71 triumph at nationally-ranked Georgetown last Thursday, coupled with a Villanova loss on Sunday, moved the Orange into sole possession of first place in the Big East at 12-2. The victory over Georgetown not only improved Syracuse to 6-0 against ranked teams, but it also kept the team perfect in true road games at 7-0. The Orange are now a healthy 25-2 overall and will host Villanova on Saturday in a game that could ultimately determine the Big East champion.
If any fanbase can understand Providence’s frustrations in the midst of the six-game losing streak (and losers of eight of their last nine), it’s Syracuse. Providence is just-about completeing a Big East gauntlet not seen since, well, Syracuse ran it last year.
But make no mistake: this is a big game for Syracuse. Not in the sense that it’s necessary to secure a 1-seed in the NCAA Tourney or anything of significant importance, but more so to keep the high intensity going into that Nova game. Providence is a shell of its former self this year, somehow finding itself near the bottom of the Big East Conference, with lowly Rutgers and DePaul. Still, at 12-14 overall and 4-10 in the conference, the Friars can still steal games
4. Get Wes back to 100 percent — Johnson vowed he’d be back to “Old Wes” by Tuesday. We saw glimpses in D.C., glimpses that he is losing the post-injury tentativeness that had been holding him back. While he has proven himself to be an effective shooter, SU truly needs Johnson to get to the rim with reckless abandon. If he’s healed, he’ll do just that against Providence.
SU’s loss to Providence last January remains as one of the most frustrating losses in Big East memory. The ‘Cuse hung 94 on the Friars that night at the Dunk and still lost, bringing back memories of high-scoring shortcomings to UMass and Rhode Island from 2007. 35 points from Jonny Flynn and 27 from Eric Devendorf, all for naught, thanks to double-figure scoring efforts from 7 Providence players.
Another ranked team comes to town. What else is new? Hey, if RUTGERS can beat Georgetown (really Georgetown, REALLY?) that means anything is possible in Friartown. PC has not played West Virginia well over the past few years (I remember getting absolutely rained on by threes in the BIG EAST Tournament a few years ago), but this one is at home. Speaking of Rutgers again, the Scarlet Knights beat DePaul last night, creating a 3 way tie for first place among the bottom four (hey, gotta look towards something). We may be amongst the “bottom feeders” this year, but we might as well try to rule it, eh? It all starts with a chance at a nice upset tonight.
West Virginia has an incredibly efficient offense, coming with an adjusted offensive rating of 119.7 (#3 in the nation). They play a lot slower than the Friars – about 10 possessions less per game. WVU’s loss against Nova was their only non-OT game in BIG EAST play to go over 70 possessions (72).
Aside from defense, the Mountaineers have very similar numbers to Providence. They excel in offensive rebounding, don’t turn over the ball much, but have more success from behind the arc (while shooting slightly worse than the Friars in 2 point shots).
Free throw shooting has burned WVU in their last two games. In the loss against Nova they were a disastrous 18-32 from the line, and in the 3OT loss against Pitt they missed many key ones late. With the way the whistles have been blowing lately, this could be a big factor.
My pick for random player to have a career night: Senior Wellington Smith. He only averages 6 points a game, but is 27-59 (45.8%) from behind the arc.
The Friars return to action on Wednesday, February 17 versus No. 8/8 West Virginia at 7:00 p.m. in Providence. The Friars have posted an 11-14 mark all-time versus the Mountaineers. The Friars are 7-3 at home, 1-8 on the road and 3-3 on neutral courts all-time against West Virginia. The two teams first met on March 8, 1965 with the Friars earning a 91-67 win at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. Last season, the Friars were defeated at Morgantown, 86-59, on February 7 in the only meeting between the two teams. The Mountaineers have won the last five games between the two teams. PC’s last win over West Virginia was a 64-61 victory on February 20, 2007 in Providence.
The Mountaineers are coming off two straight losses for the first time all season. They were beaten at home by Villanova and then let a road win at Pittsburgh slip away in regulation before losing in triple o.t., 98-95
“They’re leading the league in offensive rebounding, so I think that’s a big part of it,” Huggins said of Providence’s penchant for scoring a lot of points. “And they shoot a lot of 3s. Your percentage doesn’t have to be as high when you shoot as many 3s as they do. And they’re a very good transition team.”
For the first time this year he is coaching a team that has lost consecutive games, having lost to Villanova and Pitt as it readies itself to go on the road to play a desperate Providence team that has five straight losses.
They do this at a moment when the Big East is trending toward upsets, with Louisville having knocked off Syracuse on Saturday and Connecticut having upset Villanova on Monday night, to say nothing of a week-old upset of Rutgers over Georgetown.
Perhaps it was little more than a slip of his mind, but Providence coach Keeno Davis may have picked a bad time to forget who his team was playing next when he was talking to reporters earlier this week about the strength of the Big East this season.
”I don’t see there’s any reason why the teams in the Big East can’t have similar success in the postseason (as last season), not just because of the depth of the conference, but because of how good Villanova is, how good Syracuse is, how good Georgetown is,” Davis said.
Three Big East teams are among the top 8 in the country. Georgetown isn’t one of them. West Virginia is.
“Belated Christmas for Pitt,” Huggins said on his weekly radio show. “We just gift wrapped it and gave it to them. It was difficult to watch. I know it was difficult for you all to watch and it wasn’t a whole lot better from where I was standing.”
“We just had so many breakdowns. It’s hard to imagine that you could have as many breakdowns as we did in that short of a period of time.”
It’s the beginning of Lent today and all around the world, people are giving things up for the next 40 days. Huggs and the boys need to give up this losing thing that’s been happening the last two games. They get their chance tonight against Providence.
WHAT TO: WATCH
WVU vs. Pitt in the 3 OT Thriller
The last 6 minutes of regulation
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be carried on TV by COX locally, and on the BIG EAST Network (ESPN Full Court, SNY for NY/NJ).
So after the first round of THE GAUNTLET, the Providence Friars were promptly stuffed in the face with a big puffy foam thingy by the likes of the American Gladiator TURBO. Thankfully, the Friars get a “breather” (compared to the other 5 games, no disrespect to our opponenet) for round 2 when Marquette comes to town for a rematch. This is definitely the most winnable game of the six game GAUNTLET, but it’s still worrisome considering this is the same team that blew out PC by 30 just a little more than two weeks ago. However, Marquette found a way to lose to DePaul on the road immediately after thrashing the Friars, so who knows what to expect from this team. The Golden Eagles have gone 3-2 since defeating Providence, but the wins were against Rutgers, DePaul, and Connecticut. Who doesn’t beat Connecticut these days?
Plus, it’s Parents Weekend at PC! Lots of opportunities for family members to mosey onto the court during the game!
Darius Johnson-Odom might have seen like one of those “random” players who scored their career high against the Friars, but he has been putting up some great numbers as a freshman as the season progresses. Since his 22 point outburst against PC, Johnson-Odom has scored 7,17,16,15, and 21 points.
Maurice Acker was another one who burned PC with 6 threes. While he has only scored double digits twice since then, Acker has hit 4 threes on both of those occasions.
After two consecutive road games, the Friars will return home to face Marquette for the second time this season. PC has posted a 4-7 record all-time versus Marquette, including a 1-5 mark since the Golden Eagles joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06. PC is 2-1 all-time at home versus Marquette, 0-5 on the road and 2-1 at neutral sites. This season, Marquette defeated the Friars, 93-63, on January 17 in Milwaukee. In the only meeting between the two teams last season, Marquette defeated the Friars, 91-82, on January 17, 2009 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. PC’s last win over Marquette was a 74-59 victory on January 4, 2007 in Providence. The Friars have earned a number of key wins in team history against the Golden Eagles. PC defeated Marquette, 70-64, on March 21, 1963 in the team’s run to its second NIT Championship in three seasons. The Friars also upended Marquette, 81-59, on March 14, 1997 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, sparking the team’s run to the Elite Eight.
Featuring an offensive attack that is averaging 9.1 treys made per game in conference outings, Marquette is currently ranked first in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.424).
Through games of Feb. 4, Marquette has knocked down 177-of-417 from behind the line, edging St. Mary’s’ 42.1 percent (203-of-482) from distance. MU’s effort on the season includes an impressive conversion rate of 44.0 percent (91-of-207) in BIG EAST play.
Sophomore guard Darius Johnson-Odom leads the way with 51 treys, but a total of six players have drained at least 10 3-pointers on the year.
It’s hard to find any ray of sunshine in PC’s efforts at the defensive end of the floor right now. PC is 1-4 in its last five games and has fallen several steps behind in the race for a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Big East. The reason, without a doubt, is a matador defense.
“It’s the first one we’ve had in a long time, so hopefully when we land in Rhode Island Friday afternoon, they’ll think that we can win in a state other than Connecticut.,” said coach Buzz Williams. “I think there’s some carryover, but there’s no carryover unless you do what you have to do on both ends of the floor.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Sophomore guard Darius Johnson-Odom helped the Golden Eagles jump ahead of DePaul early and never look back in the victory.
Marquette highlights versus UCONN
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be carried on TV by COX locally, and on the BIG EAST Network (ESPN Full Court, SNY for NY/NJ).
The Providence Friars look to keep up the momentum gained from upsetting Connecticut on Wednesday night when they face the Cincinnati Bearcats on the road. Even though Cincinnati has NCAA Tournament aspirations, the Friars have played them well over the last few years. This might seem silly given Keno’s roster turnover, but many of the trends have held up this year — Such as getting absolutely owned by ND and Marquette, and still being able to take care of St. John’s and Connecticut.
Check out the rest of the preview after the jump!
Another interesting subplot, if you will, is the battle of freshman BIG EAST studs Lance Stephenson and Vincent Council. Two years ago Council played alongside Stephenson at Lincoln High in Brooklyn, New York. This year, both players have had their fare share of costly rookie mistakes (Stephenson blowing the game with a bad turnover against St. John’s, Council missing 3 of 4 foul shots against USF), but they have really made a great impact on their teams. The two New Yorkers are practically shoe-ins for the BIG EAST All-Rookie team at this point, but Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin feels Lance is the best.
“If the voting were taken now, he might be Freshman of the Year in the Big East.” — Mick Cronin on Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson might have a slight edge stats wise (12 PPG, 4.8 RPG), but If Council can keep playing the way he has been, Cronin might have to think harder about his vote after seeing him in person.
Cincinnati tends to play a slower paced game (tempo of 66.6, ranked #234), and all but one of their BIG EAST games were played well under 70 possessions (75, in their win over UConn).
The Bearcats have an excellent adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 90.5 (ranked #35). They don’t force a lot of turnovers, but they manage to hold opponents to low percentages on two point shots, and don’t give the them many 2nd chance points. We saw how Providence was able to really attack the hoop against the Huskies, leading to their big win. This might be a little difficult tonight, and the Friars can’t afford to shoot they way they did against Connecticut behind the arc.
As we saw with UConn, the Friars match up pretty well with teams that struggle in shooting. In both BIG EAST road losses this year, PC was absolutely lit up with outside shots. Even though Cincinnati has an awful 29.5% three-point percentage this season (ranked #314), Deonta Vaughn is capable of hitting a decent amount of triples. The senior guard went 6-11 against Seton Hall, and 4-7 against Louisville (both losses). However, other than Vaughn nobody else really hits threes with any consistency.
The game has a good chance of being won on the boards, as Providence is still in the top 10 in offensive rebound percentage, and Cincinnati comes in ranked #29. However, the Bearcats have been really good at rebounding their opponents’ missed shots (27.4 ORB%, #13 nationally), so Greedy and Bilal Dixon are going to have their work cut out. Providence hasn’t been exactly great at keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Yancy Gates is the Bearcats team leader with 2.4 offensive rebounds per game, and 4 others (including freshman Lance Stephenson) have between 1 and 2.
The Friars will play the fi rst game of a two-game road swing on Saturday, January 30 against Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena. The Friars have posted a 4-1 mark all-time versus the Bearcats. The Friars are 2-0 at home and 2-1 on the road all-time against Cincinnati. In the fi rst meeting between the Friars and the Bearcats, Cincinnati earned a 66-64 home win on February 17, 2006 in Cincinnati. Last season, Providence defeated the Bearcats twice. PC earned an 87-79 win in Cincinnati on January 7, 2009, before earning the sweep of the season series with a 72-63 win in Providence on January 19, 2009.
The Cincinnati Bearcats (13-7, 4-4 BIG EAST) have registered back-to-back BIG EAST Conference wins over Notre Dame (60-58) and USF (78-70) in its last two home games and look to continue the trend when it hosts Providence (12-8, 4-4 BIG EAST) on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m., as part of a men’s and women’s doubleheader.
Any winning effort for us will have to start with defense. Cincy has three good scorers, two of which can beat you both inside and out, but defending against the penetration and drives will be the key. We also need to win on the boards. We struggled in the first half against UConn because they were beating us on the boards but in the second half we dominated. Crashing the boards and giving ourselves second chances is essential. We need to limit Cincy to one shot each time down the floor. In the UConn game we got a lot of steals and seemed to always get the loose balls. A similar performance is needed. The loose balls need to be ours. Good defense will lead to steals.
“One thing about Providence is that they can score,” Cronin said. “You’re going to have to make sure you understand that they shoot it quick. They shoot it early in the shot clock, and you have to be prepared for that against them, more so then most of the teams we play.”
To shut down the Friars’ offense, Cincinnati will need to key in on shutting down sophomore forward Jamine Peterson. Peterson has been averaging more than 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The Bearcats seem to match up with the Friars quite well. The Friars biggest defensive deficiency is offensive rebounds allowed, which is the Bearcats main offensive play. In fact, the put back is Yancy Gates second best move around the basket.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Highlights from Louisville vs. Cincinnati on January 24, 2010
Yancy Gates game winner for UC over Notre Dame Fighting Irish 1/16/2010.
The finish of the game as Lance Stephenson wins the game for UC over 10th ranked UConn 71-69 12/30/2009
So what are we going to see from the Friars after Saturday’s debacle? Well, I’ve heard that practices have been going really well (and two players everyone lashed out were “kicking arse” in the process), but your guess is as good as mine. It’s likely the same starters will see the court to start the game, but we will have to see how the new minutes are distributed. I expect to see a fired up team, and playing UConn in front of a good crowd will certainly help as well.
That being said, it wouldn’t be a proper Huskies preview without pulling out the infamous “Why We Hate UCONN” post from the Godfather. This post is about 9 years old, and is part of Friars internet lore — it’s simply legend-… wait for it… and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DAIRY!
Everyone is worrying about PC’s defense, but their offense is going to need to bring it versus the Huskies as well. UConn has a fantastic adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 89.7, ranked #29 in the nation. They don’t force a lot of turnovers, but hold teams to an insanely low percentage on two point shots (40.2%, ranked #2 in the country). Teams have had better success from behind the arc against Connecticut (31.5%, #64), so the Friars better hope to shoot similar to how they did against USF.
Senior guard Jerome Dyson will take a majority of the shots for the Huskies. To put it in perspective, Dyson takes a third of UConn’s shots when he is on the court — that is slightly more than Greedy Peterson takes (31.0%) for the Friars!!! Let’s hope he avoids the side of the backboard .
6-9 Senior Stanley Robinson is their most efficient scorer and 2nd best rebounder. Offensively, he is putting up shooting numbers that Friar fans would like to see out of Greedy Peterson. Robinson, like Greedy, is also not afraid to take shots behind the arc. However, he seems to have better shot selection to go along with an impressive 44.7% (21-47).
Sophomore point guard Kemba Walker versus Vincent Council. This should be a real interesting matchup for the next several years. Walker is amongst the best PG in the conference, so we shall see how VC stacks up against him.I sense they will be fighting it out on All-Big East teams in 2011 and 2012!
The Friars will return to action on Wednesday, January 27 versus 19th-ranked Connecticut at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars have posted a 26-41 mark all-time versus the Huskies. The Friars are 12-16 at home, 11-22 on the road and 3-3 on neutral courts all-time against Connecticut. The two teams fi rst met on January 21, 1928 with Connecticut earning a 29-21 win in Storrs, Conn. Last season, UConn defeated the Friars, 94-61, in Storrs. PC’s last win over the Huskies was an 85-76 victory in Providence on March 6, 2008. The Friars are 6-4 in their last 10 games versus UConn, including a 4-1 mark on the road.
“The Providence game is proabably just as important as the Texas win because it would be our first Big East road win,” Gavin Edwards said. “That’s a pretty important task we have to do as a team. A lot of us haven’t experienced one yet, and I think that would be a really big steppingstone.”
Defending the Friars is more complex than that, Blaney said. While UConn (13-6, 3-3) has to be aware of three-pointers, Providence also spreads the floor with three or four guards, creates a lot of second chances on long rebounds when threes aren’t falling and has enough athletes to score on drives if an opponent is too focused on limiting jump shots.
“Practice went really good yesterday; we came back very intense,” Walker said. “Plus [Providence] will be a little lifted the way they lost their game. We know they’re gonna come out with a lot of intensity; they’re coming off a couple of losses so we’re gonna have to match that intensity.”
The Friars are having a rough year, even by Providence standards. Non-Conference losses to Alabama, Boston College, Rhode Island and Iona, had the PC faithful worrying about the Big East schedule, and so far, their worries have been warranted.
The talent discrepancy between the UConn men’s basketball team’s last opponent and the one it plays tonight may not exactly parallel the size of the state of Texas compared to Rhode Island. But it’s close.
The Friars (11-8) seemingly don’t have the same pedigree or potential as the Longhorns, but they certainly can present UConn with some problems. And each year Providence, regardless of its record, always seems to give UConn a challenge.
Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun remains on medical leave and will miss Wednesday’s Big East game at Providence.
Calhoun, who left the team a week ago, seems to be doing well and is “talking more aggressively” on the phone, said associate head coach George Blaney, who led the No. 19 Huskies (13-6, 3-3) to wins last week over St. John’s and then-No. 1 Texas.
UConn, though, has yet to head on the road without its coach, and the Huskies have not fared well outside of Connecticut. They are 0-3 in true road games and 1-2 at neutral sites, one season after going 9-1 on the road and 8-2 at neutral sites.
Having regained their swagger, the 19th- ranked Connecticut Huskies now take aim at the first true road win of the season against the Providence Friars tonight in a Big East tussle at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
We are used to seeing a lot of great highlights from Greedy, but check out this alley-oop by Stanley Robinson in the 2nd half of the Texas game. Wow.
The Michigan Wolverines got a big win at home, upsetting the UConn Huskies 68-63. Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg recap all the action.
The finish of the game as Lance Stephenson wins the game for UC over 10th ranked UConn 71-69.
UConn point guard Kemba Walker and the rest of the Huskies are stars on the court, but he tells us what the team is like off the court. ESPNU Campus Connection Reporter Marcus Lynam has more from Storrs.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be on COX locally, and part of ESPN Full Court. It will also be on SNY for those in the NY/NJ area.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s site, tonight’s game against South Florida at home will be the Friars only win the rest of the season. These things obviously change as the season goes on (the projections had us also beating Seton Hall before our loss to Marquette and their win against Louisville). If you ask me, projections and these so called “statistics” are all a bunch of witchcraft.
Anyways, with a big rivalry game against UCONN looming on Wednesday, and a general GAUNTLET of tough games against good teams on the horizon, something might come to mind when thinking about this winnable home game tonight:
Sorry Admiral, I think the Friars will come to play tonight. Keno Davis has had almost a full week to kick their butts after the Marquette debacle. The team should be focused on tonight’s game, and know that they are not really good enough to be looking ahead in the schedule and overlook lesser teams. Every BIG EAST game is tough, and hey, even DePaul can find a way to win once in a while.
Without Augustus Gilchrist in the lineup (out with an ankle injury suffered in December), South Florida is pretty limited on the offensive end. Dominique Jones is their go-to guy, averaging a team leading 19.6 points per game. With a limited bench Jones is always on the court, playing 88.2% of the team’s minutes (41st in the nation). The only other offensive threat is 6-11 junior Jarrid Famous, who is the only other active player above 10 points per game (and also above an 100 offensive rating). With both Jones and Famous on the court (Famous is also out there a ton, 76.9 minute %), they take about half of the team’s shots. Providence should know what’s coming, the question is if they can find a way to stop both of them.
Don’t expect a repeat of Darius-Johnson-F$%#-Odom – DePaul has a 304th ranked 3-point percentage of 29.8%. Well, statistically speaking it is not likely to repeat, but that could change if there are wide open guys on the perimeter all game. However, this may be a good thing given everyone’s shooting percentage outside of Jones.
South Florida is going to try slow down the blistering pace the Friars like to play, as they come into the game with an adjusted tempo of 66.3 (#251 in the nation) — almost 10 possessions less Providence’s #6 ranked 75.0! USF has only played three games above 70 possessions, and they were all wins against not so great teams — Davidson: 70, Central Florida: 71, and Rutgers EIGHTY. To be fair the game against Rutgers was last week, and the players apparently have all quit on the season (*cough* Mike Rosario *cough*).
Watch those fouls Bilal. South Florida has a very good free throw rate on the season (they are the anti-Friars with a 38th ranked 44.2% FT rate). Although Gilchrist has the team’s highest FT rate in only 8 games played, Famous, Jones, and guard Chris Howard have also had no trouble getting to the line
The Friars return to action for their first game in six days when the squad hosts the University of South Florida on Saturday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m. It will be homecoming for all Friar alums. PC has posted a 5-1 record all-time versus USF, including a 4-0 record since the Bulls joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06. PC is 3-0 all-time at home versus USF, 2-1 on the road and 0-0 at neutral sites. In the only meeting between the two teams last season, the Friars defeated the Bulls, 77-62, on February 10, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. USF’s only win over the Friars was a 68-64 victory on November 26, 2002 in Tampa, Fla.
The Bulls (11-7, 1-5) are off to yet another slow Big East start. In their previous four seasons, the Bulls have never won more than four games. Only two (2-32 all-time road mark) of their 12 conference wins have come on the road.
But this South Florida team is the best the school has ever offered the Big East. For one, it may have the best scoring guard in the conference in junior Dominique Jones.
Defensively it is no secret that Jones has to be limited. He will score his points, but we just can’t let him go off on us. We are thinking the zone may help limit his penetration and inside finishes. But he can beat you from the outside as well, so we need to check him at all times, and force low percentage shots from him. We also need to hit the glass. There are a number of players on this USF team who will hit the boards. There is nobody averaging 10 rebounds a game but there are a few around seven. We need to put a body on the green shirts.
USF was unable to cool Cincinnati down on Wednesday, as the Bearcats shot an efficient 55.6 percent from the floor on their way to a 78-70 decision. The Bulls made just 43.5 percent of their attempts from the field and a dismal 3- of-18 from long distance. Dominique Jones continued his run with 21 points and six boards, while Chris Howard notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. That now makes it five games in row in which Jones has scored 20 or more points and he continue to pace USF in scoring (19.6 ppg) as well as assists (4.1 apg) for the season
WHAT TO: WATCH
Syracuse v South Florida Highlights
The last 6 minutes, presented with stoppages cut out, of the January 5th game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the South Florida Bulls
Highlights from Louisville vs. South Florida on December 30, 2009.
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be on ESPNU if you have it. My guess is that you don’t because I always have to go out to watch it.
DePaul plays to a very, very slow pace (62.9 adjusted tempo, ranked #330), but that just might get thrown out the window given interim coach Webster’s comments the last few days. However, just because they say they are going to speed up the pace, it doesn’t mean it’s going to magically make the team any better. More possessions could just lead to more missed shots, as DePaul’s 45% effective field goal percentage ranks 294th).
DePaul has some pretty poor rebounding numbers, but their best best rebounder (and best player) Mac Koshwal has missed half the games this season. For example, in their ugly loss against American without Koshwal, DePaul mustered just 5 offensive boards (for an ugly 14.3% offensive rebounding %).
Much like the Friars, the Blue Demons have great turnover numbers (17.6% turnover %, #34). However, Providence might be able to force some mistakes if DePaul is going to try and push the tempo. We saw how steals lead the Friars to victory in Queens against St. John’s. Can they do it again in Chicago?
PC will travel to Rosemont, Ill. for a matchup with DePaul on Thursday, January 14 at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN2. The Friars and the Blue Demons have met 26 times in the series, with PC leading, 20-6. Providence has posted a 12-1 mark all-time at home against DePaul, a 6-5 record at DePaul and a 2-0 record on neutral courts against the Blue Demons. The two teams first met on February 16, 1961 when the Friars earned an 81-77 win in Providence. In the Friars’ most recent win, PC defeated the Blue Demons, 83-74, on March 11, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in the second round of the BIG EAST Tournament. The Friars also upended DePaul, 62-54, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on January 3 last season. PC has won five of the last six meetings between the schools. In DePaul’s most recent win over the Friars, the Blue Demons defeated PC, 70-65, at DePaul’s Allstate Arena on January 5, 2008.
The DePaul Blue Demons return to Allstate Arena for a BIG EAST game against Providence on Thursday night. Thursday’s game is the first in eight days for the Blue Demons and the first since the change in leadership of the program. Tracy Webster was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season on Monday, Jan. 11.
Tracy Webster would love to rekindle DePaul’s early-season magic.
Whatever it was that shot the Blue Demons off to a 5-1 start will hopefully be on display Thursday night against Providence at Allstate Arena in an 8 p.m. BIG EAST Conference showdown televised by ESPN2.
Webster, DePaul’s interim head coach in the wake of Jerry Wainwright’s dismissal on Monday, is looking to reverse a slide that has seen his team lose seven of its last nine games.
The Demons began the year with a good win over Northern Iowa and a narrow loss to Tennessee but an injury knocked top big man Koshwal out of the lineup for eight games. The Demons went 5-3 without him and have lost all four games since his return
Also, Marshon Brooks is on the trip. He has not practiced much at all since twisting his ankle in Saturday’s game against Rutgers. Coach Keno Davis said Brooks is “day to day” but is hoping he can play Thursday against DePaul.
DePaul is not a very good, but we said the same thing last year and the Blue Demons almost beat a much more experienced Friars team in the Big East Tournament. The game is on the road, where the Friars have played very inconsistent this season. The Friars looked great against George Washington and St. John’s, but not so good in losses to Notre Dame and URI. However, this is just another step in building a young team, and our talent should be able to beat DePaul, even if the game is on the road. But playing with a new coach, no one will know how inspired the Blue Demons might play except those in their locker room.
It seems like the key to beating the Blue Demons is in slowing down Mac Koshwal. Easier said than done, considering we are an undersized team. The big man can score and cleans up on the glass. We are going to need a great effort from the front court, especially Bilal. Bilal doesn’t need to be a stats monster this game but needs to keep Koshwal off of the boards.
What DePaul sophomore Eric Wallace already has noticed from Webster in practices has been a desire to be more up-tempo.
“Being a former point guard at Wisconsin, he likes to go,” Wallace said. “I think the biggest difference is he’s going to like to push the pace up and down the floor and score more points. Me being an athlete, I like to run, get an alley-oop dunk here or there.”
Ponsetto has no choice but to take that emphatic stance publicly, for obvious reasons. But the Demons’ epic struggles in a staggeringly challenging Big East, and now the Wainwright firing, give rise to an unavoidable, critically important question: Can anyone win at DePaul anymore?
The first two days of the rest of DePaul basketball’s life featured condensed, intense practices. Apathy, especially defensively, became a capital crime. A get-it-and-go mindset returned to the offense.
And the exit strategy for two-plus seasons of misery was as bracing as a January breeze off a frigid lake.
“Go do something about it,” said Tracy Webster, the Blue Demons’ interim coach. “That’s the whole thing. Go play, give 150 percent on the court and things will change.”
Sorry, but nobody’s going to win at DePaul, not with that arena set-up, not with those entrance requirements in a city with a lousy school system, not with all the other small-time thinking and acting that goes on in Lincoln Park.
DePaul ran out the Meyer monarchy, tried an oily salesman, went with a young comer who couldn’t leave fast enough, brought in a solid Chicagoan who even had a Coach Ray-like Cowardly Lion look, and nothing much worked.
“Rodell was a great player,” said Cameli, “I remember the first summer we had him with us in the Chicago summer league when King had all those great players. It didn’t phase Rodell one bit. He scored 18 points in his first game and just continued to play well all summer, as an 8th grader! We won the league that summer.”
WHAT TO: WATCH
CBS Sports on Wainwright’s firing
Highlights from the first half of DePaul’s loss to Villanova
WHERE TO: WATCH
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Check back here for a GIANT LIVE BLOG, with some other PC bloggers joining along. Come chat as we all watch the game on ESPN2.