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Previewing The Providence Friars

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The Bearcats got absolutely pummeled the last time out. I think everyone can agree on that. So a pick me up is obviously a desirable thing. Based on record alone Providence should provide just the lift UC needs heading into the final stretch. The Friars are 13-13 (2-11) on the year which is good for last in the conference. They have lost 8 of their last 10 games, the only wins coming against Rutgers and the shocking route of Louisville back in mid January. But when you look at the Friars the stats don't really jive with the record. And they have by most accounts played better than the record too. For instance.

Friars Opponents
Effective FG%
48.8 47
Turnover % 19.5 17.1
Offensive Rebounding % 36.7 35.5
Free Throw Rate 41.5 27.9

Those are the Four Factors. Based on averages the Friars win in 3 of the 4 on a nightly basis. A great team would tend to in these four factors every night. But its possible to win with two. This UC team only dominates in turnover percentage night in night out and gets a combination of performances from the other three. The question is, as it always is for me, why? Why does the Friars record suck.

On Offense

The issue isn't on the offensive end. That much is for sure. The Friars play at a slower pace than they did last year with Marshon Brooks 66.4 possessions per game compared with 72.3 a year ago. But the efficiency numbers are really very good.

They average 1.06 PPP and boast an efficiency rate of 105.6. And they do that despite being a team that doesn't take or make many threes. Three point field goals account for just 20.2 per cent of the Friars scoring this year. They are 15th in three point attempts and 12th in three point makes, but they lead the league in three point percentage at 37.5. Why don't they shoot more of them? I have no idea. The only real issue for them offensively is the turnover percentage which is middle of the pack in the Big East.

On Defense

The rub on this team is that they aren't a great defensive team, and that might be generous. In fact the Friars are a poor defensive team. Consider the facts. They are 14th in the Big East in both effective FG% and True Shooting % Defense, 51% and 53.8% respectively. Opposing teams score score 1.13 points per possession and have 113 efficiency ratings. Both of which are last in the Big East. Also last in the Big East is Floor% at 58. That basically means that any time the opposition touches the ball on offense they have a 58% chance of scoring at least on point on that possession. Not surprisingly they don't defend the three point line. At all. In Big East play opponents have made 37.3 per cent of threes. Only DePaul is worse in that respect.

Three Guys To Watch

The main guy to watch is Vincent Council who is averaging 16-4-7 every game. His 7.4 assists per game is tops in conference. He also leads the conference in turnovers so he is the epitome of a trick or treat point guard. I am pretty sure that he and Cashmere Wright are best friends because of this. The thing to watch with Council is that he is the best three point shooter. He makes 40 percent from deep.

Bryce Cotton is averaging 15-2-2 with a steal per game. He also plays more minutes than anyone else in the Big East. 38.6 per game. How about this stat he has played 245 out of a possible 245 minutes in the last 6 games. And he only stands 6'1" and weighs 165. That he is still alive is a miracle.

Lastly LeDante Henton is one of few nominal forwards. He is only 6'6" and weighs a solid 225 pounds. But he does bring a polished game. His line this year is a solid 13-8-1 and he also averages a block a game. He can work inside as a slasher but he also has three point range to stretch defenses. Only Council knocks down threes at a higher clip. In a years time Henton will be a match up nightmare. For right now he is still a freshman. And like the other two guys he plays an obscene amount of minutes. In fact the four man guys in the rotation (these three + Gerard Coleman) play 30+ minutes a night. So safe to say they have depth issues.