Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Providence is ending 2016 with some concerns

December 30, 2016 Columns No Comments

Was Providence’s 79-67 loss at Boston College to close non-conference play a case of the Friars being out of character or being exposed? Only time will tell, to be sure, but at first glance it doesn’t bode well. And that was before the Friars opened Big East play by getting thumped at Xavier on Wednesday night.

It was not a good start to conference play at all, but based on the opponent (Xavier has the best RPI of any Providence opponent to this point) and the Friars’ body of work beforehand, not entirely shocking. But there’s more to be concerned about than just the bottom line result.

Providence exited non-conference play with a 10-3 record, a good one for a group that lost two big stars. They came in as a bit of an unknown, a team that was carried by departed stars Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, the former with both his play and leadership. What remains is a lot of good pieces, but no one who at first glance looks to be of the caliber of Dunn or Bentil in the sense of being a sure first team all-conference player.

Rodney Bullock may be that player, but the jury is still out on that. Kyron Cartwright quietly had a solid season backing up Dunn a year ago and has done a very nice job running the team as the primary floor leader this season, but he’s a far cry from Dunn. That means other players need to emerge to support them, and that’s still an ongoing process right now aside from Emmitt Holt and Jalen Lindsey.

This also means the Friars have had to hang their hat on their defense, and until the last two games, they did that. They have surrendered the two highest point totals on the season in the last two games – 79 at Boston College and 82 at Xavier. Two prior opponents had shot 50 percent or better, both of them losses, and the Eagles shot 52.6 percent from the field and Xavier shot 60.4 percent, the latter best by an opponent this season.

The Friars pressed well against BC once a 25-2 Eagle run put them down 20, and it worked. It forced a number of turnovers against a turnover-prone team, and they got right back in the game. But it was too little, too late, and as Cooley noted, “that’s not our identity.”

There is talent surrounding Bullock and Cartwright, with the aforementioned Holt and Lindsey chief among them. Holt has been a presence inside, but is just 6’7″, so the Friars will go small often. Lindsey is starting to emerge with an expanded role, shooting well from long range on the season. Younger players from Kalif Young to Maliek White can help this team. Because their progress is unknown, how this will look later in the season remains to be seen. Young is the tallest Friar at 6’9″, so he allows them to play a little bigger.

Credit the Friars’ staff for putting together a non-conference schedule designed to help them win games and gain confidence. It does mean that their resume is thin entering Big East play – Providence is 0-2 against top 25 teams and 2-3 against the top 100 – but there will be chances to get good wins later on, at which point the Friars will in theory be better. They will need them even more because Boston College has an RPI above 200, though that will rise in ACC play and thus not be quite as bad a loss in the numbers – how much depends on the Eagles’ performance, which should at least be better than last year’s winless ACC showing.

It may be as simple as this group of Friars not being ready to win a key road game just yet. Wednesday night’s game was just the third true road game of the year, all against tougher opponents than they have faced in most of their home games. They played one of their best opponents, Virginia, at a neutral site. With the Big East slate having most of their road games in the first month – six of their nine conference road games will be played before February – the Friars have to be able to win on the road soon.

Big East play continues with another tough road game at Butler to close out 2016 before the Friars come home. They have allowed two straight opponents to shoot well, and of all they have to be concerned about, that trend is the one that most urgently needs to stop.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.