The Friars continue there season on Tuesday night when they visit Chestnut Hill and the Boston College Eagles. PC (6-2) , fresh off there win versus rival URI, dispatched BC quite easily last year 86-66. That game however was played at the Dunk, this year the Friars return to Conte Forum, which has been a house of horrors for the team. Providence hasn’t won at Conte Forum since 2004, a time in which BC was still in the Big East. As someone who lives in Boston, I’ve attended the game at Conte several times and always leave feeling the same way.
As the Friars try and exorcise their Conte Forum demons I give to you my thoughts going into the game.
The Curse of Conte
Cameron Indoor, Allen Fieldhouse, Assembly Hall, and Rupp Arena are the usual suspects for tough places for visiting teams to play at, for PC it’s the Conte Forum. While tough road venues typically have a rabid student section, an arena that’s acoustically built for sound, and a strong overall fan base at Conte it’s the complete opposite. There was one year that I went and they used fake crowd noise because there was a dozen students in the student section. Another year that I went the scoreboard wasn’t working so they used a portable scoreboard on the floor that resembled something out of a high school game. Conte is typically a graveyard and for some reason it brings the worst basketball out of the Friars. Finally the national media caught on to the lack of attendance at Conte.
While the students do deserve a portion of the blame for lack of attendance at BC there’s a bigger issue at hand. BC doesn’t seem to invest a lot into their athletics nor do they market their athletic teams very well. Conte Forum is a nice on campus arena but its built for hockey not basketball. They have put in renovations into their football stadium throughout the years but it seems to be far behind other major football schools. In terms of marketing their major sports they seem to advertising the opponents that are coming to town rather than their own team. Just go on to the ticket section of their website and at the very top of the page it says “FEATURED OPPONENTS”. This is why I am grateful to be a Friar fan. We just built $30 million practice facility and there are billboards for PC hoops in Worcester, MA and on the Mass Pike. There’s a dedication from the administration to excel in athletics and at Boston College I just don’t see it.
Defend Ky Bowman
Since Kris Dunn graduated Providence College the Friars have struggled defending capable scoring guards. Last year we saw Rider’s Jordan Allen go for 28 points, URI’s Fatts Russell had 20, UMASS’s Luwane Pipkins got 30, and Marquette’s Markus Howard scored 52 fucking points. I loved Kyron Cartwright, I think his swagger could be used on this team, but clearly the opposition tried to exploit him on defense with their scoring guards. So far this year the Friars have put an end to this trend and have stifled opposing guards. They held Michigan’s Charles Matthews to 5 points and most recently limited URI’s Fatts Russell and Jeff Dowtin to 18 points combined. A lot of this has to do with the length and athleticism the Friars have been able to put at both guard positions with David Duke and AJ Reeves. Reeves certainly hasn’t been the best defender yet but his length and athleticism definitely deters opponents from attacking him. Tonight the Friars will face maybe their stiffest challenge yet with Ky Bowman. Going into tonight Ky Bowman leads the Eagles with 19.4 points per game and in his 2 games against PC as a freshman and sophomore Bowman has averaged 17.5 ppg. Bowman is only listed at 6-1 but he has the ability to blow by defenders with his quickness, has a great ability to finish at the rim and is capable beyond the arc as well. In BC’s biggest win this season, a 68-56 win over Minnesota, it was the role players that helped propel BC to the W but if you ask me I think cutting off the head of the snake in locking down Bowman should be the number one priority tonight.
PC 68 BC 72