Lost in the excitement of the Friars four-game winning streak, including their thrilling 73-69 victory over Marquette Saturday is the fact that tomorrow night it is Senior Night. The Friars (18-11, 8-8) will honor their only senior, preferred walk-on Casey Woodring, as they host the DePaul Tuesday night. Not only will it be Senior Night at the Dunk, or Woody’s Last Ride as I call it, but it will also be Kris Dunn Bobblehead night. All pregame festivities aside, the Friars will look to extend their win streak to five and avenge an earlier loss to the Blue Demons. Back in early January DePaul (9-20, 2-14) came back from deficits 11 points with under 5 minutes and by 5 with under a minute to play to shock the Friars. For the Friars it was their worse loss of the season and probably the low point of the season. The loss put PC’s record at 11-7, including 1-4 in Big East play, and it looked like the Friars were in for a long season. Since then the two teams couldn’t be trending in more opposite directions. The Friars have won four straight games and seemed poised to earn a 4th straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, while DePaul has lost 11 of 12 since beating the Friars. While all signs point to a Friar victory, the team cannot look past the Blue Demons. With that here’s my keys to the game!
Keys to the Game
- Contain Garrett Jr and Cain… the WHOLE GAME– In the first matchup I listed this as a key to the game and the Friars did a great job in the first half holding the duo to 4 points. The second half was a completely different story as the backcourt pair combined for 20 points and made crucial plays late in the game. Garrett Jr and Cain combine for a little over 31 ppg and are clearly the Demon’s biggest offensive weapons. The Friars will clearly have an advantage down low but they most defend these two players well throughout the contest. I expect Cooley to have his best defenders, Lindsey, Jackson and Diallo, guarding the two players throughout the game.
- Expect Cartwright to Take this one Personally– In the first game between these two teams Kyron Cartwright probably had his worse game of the season. The Friars point guard was battling knee tendinitis and while he dished out 7 assists he only had 5 points on 1/6 from the floor and 5 turnovers. Cartwright also had a chance to win the game on a coast-to-coast drive to the hoop and some how his wide-open layup didn’t go in. Some of the credit has to go to Garrett guarding him as he has a height advantage but Cartwright just wasn’t right. Kyron is a guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder and you know he’s going to want to bounce back in a big way in the rematch.
- How Many Threes Will Woodring Make?– Think about it, if Casey Woodring gets the nod late in the game it will most likely be because the Friars are up big. I know Cooley and the rest of the team want to get him some playing time and send him off the right way. Casey Woodring has a chance to go down as one of the all-time wins leader for the Friar program, as he currently sits at 88 wins. Mark McAndrew leads the PC program with 96 wins so it will take a hell of an effort for Woodring to get there but I believe in Casey! I’m setting the over/under at 1.5 three pointers made for Woodring.
Tuesday’s game vs. DePaul is one that the Friars can’t afford to lose for their NCAA Tournament chances. I could actually see Providence getting off to a slow start in this one, due to a potential hangover from the Marquette win and the fact that it’s a weird start time (8:30 PM at the Dunk what’s that about!?). This is something the Friars would rather avoid because you keep DePaul in the game they will have confidence in sweeping the Friars. Ed Cooley hopes that there’s a good turnout for tomorrow’s game but it’s going to be hard to match the crowd intensity from Saturday. At the end of the day though the Friars are playing at a level that I cant see DePaul matching. The Friars will look to attack inside early and often, as they tend to do against teams they have an advantage against down low. I also expect Cartwright to attack the basket and if the layup is not there kick it out to his teammates to knock down outside shots. I expect the Friars to get a large enough lead in this one for Casey Woodring to see some game action. I also am thinking of taking the over on three-pointers made, as I think he will hit 2 of them. Let’s send Casey Woodring off the right way!
Friars 84 DePaul 69 (Gronk’s favorite number)