The Providence Friars will be playing their first game of the Big East Tournament in tonight’s night cap vs Creighton. Im happily spending my half-day writing the the game preview for Friartown. Last week I requested the half-day for today because I thought the Friars would be playing in the 4 vs 5 matchup at 2:30. The Friars finished up the regular season with a victory and got the right combination of other teams loses and ended up earning the 3 seed. Its all good though, got to watch Nova destroy SJ and I’m really excited about this Seton Hall Marquette game that’s about to tip off. So the Friars will take the court tonight at 9:30pm in the rubber matchup between them and the Creighton Bluejays, with Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery on the call. Quick shout out to my friend Joe Neidermeyer (PC ’12), he put together an official PC viewing party for tonight’s game at Boston Sports Grille located on 132 Canal St. The Crier will be in attendance and the game will be on with full sound (a request from me that was non-negotiable). So come on down! Now let’s get down to business, here are my keys to the game.
Keys to The Game
- Take Care of the Basketball– This was one of my keys to the Friars season finale vs SJ and the Friars actually lost the TO battle. The key was it was only by a margin of -2 and they were actually +2 in the department at half when they had a 12 point lead. It’s important for the Friars to limit the turnovers against a team like Creighton because Foster and Patton are so dangerous in transition. Foster is really quick with the basketball and can slash to the rim, while Patton always looks to run the floor on the break to get an alley-oop slam. So it will be imperative for the Friars to limit the turnovers and turn Creighton over as well.
- Hit Your Free Throws– The Friars free throw shooting has been a weakness of the team that has somewhat gone unnoticed. The Friars are tied for 190th nationally shooting at 69.7% from the stripe on the season. While thats in the middle of the pack for the country they are ranked 7/10 in the Big East, not good. The Friars shot a putrid 22/37 from the line vs. St. Johns, but in an 11-point wire-to-wire victory it gets unnoticed. The Friars absolutely can’t shoot at that sort of clip tonight. I feel this game will be a tight one so the Friars have to make sure they make the freebies, especially down the stretch.
- A Point Well Taken– The Friars will have a clear advantage at the point guard position and they have to take advantage of this. Not to put too much pressure on the Big East’s Most Improved Player, but Kyron Cartwright needs to have a good game tonight. While their overall efficiency hasn’t gone down too much, Creighton certainly doesn’t have the same production at the point guard position since Mo Watson went down. Cartwright needs to play a good floor game, driving to the paint and either kicking it out to the open man or finishing at the rim. If Cartwright has a good game tonight I would be hard pressed to believe the Friars lost.
The matchup between the 3 seed Friars and the 6 seed Creighton Bluejays has a chance to be the best game of the Big East Tournament. I have a feeling that this rubber match will be an epic battle with the victor winning in thrilling fashion. How do I know this you ask? It’s the Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery Effect. These two guys will be on the call and somehow the great games always seem to find them. Look no further then just last night, it was a game between 2 of the league’s bottom 3 teams yet Georgetown vs. St. John’s was great. Also ever since Mo Watson went down these two teams are more evenly matched, just look at the last game where Cartwright hit the game winner with just seconds left. While I would be furious if the Friars lost this game and then got snubbed on Sunday, it wouldn’t totally shock me. I think Cooley rather not let it get to that and will get the boys ready to win a “must win” game, whether it is or isn’t. The Friars have been too hot lately and the fact Creighton doesn’t have the point guard play will ultimately be the difference. Having said all of that I do believe it will be a nail-biter. Who’s Got The ONIONS?
Friars 75 Creighton 73
GO FRIARS! Enjoy the Game!