IU Outworks Friars in Maui Opener – BOC Take

Another November tournament game, another lifeless showing for the Friars. The Providence Friars lose to the Indiana Hoosiers 79-58.

These big losses out of conference have unfortunately become a trend of recent for the Providence Friars before they enter Big East play. The Friars were not only throughly beaten by the Indiana Hoosiers, they were also out-hustled and out-muscled the entirety of the game. It was an extremely lethargic showing for the Friars, and one that doesn’t inspire much hope for the season moving ahead. The team seemed to go through the motions without any sense of urgency or purpose. Given how they concluded last season, this type of performance was shocking to me.

Hopefully, this is the traditional slow start under Cooley, and the Friars can steady the ship against Davidson tomorrow.

Here are some themes from the game against the Hoosiers:

A Forgettable Game for David Duke – This Friars team will likely go as Duke goes, and Duke will likely want to turn the page on this game ASAP. Duke had 12 points on 3-12 shooting with 4 turnovers. The Friars won’t be winning many games with that type of output from their veteran leader. Hopefully, this is just a negative in an otherwise fantastic season.

Sidenote: Please stop having him inbound the ball. He had two turnovers throwing the ball away off a simple inbound and should have had one more.

Perplexing Rotations & Line-Up Choices – Cooley’s best teams often consist of a short bench and going 7-8 deep at most. While having a plethora of Big East ready players is great on paper, it has been a downfall for Cooley, who often struggles with rotations and minutes for his players when he can go 8-10 deep.

I’m hopeful the rotation gets shortened, and the Friars stick with 8 players at most moving forward. It will lead to more defined roles and an understanding of player expectations. The numerous rotations and line-ups is doing nobody any good.

Half Court Offense Anemic – This appears to be another hallmark of Cooley’s teams, unfortunately. In order to win games, the Friars will have to score in transition, as the half court offense wasn’t at all productive. The Friars shot 37% from the field and 17% from 3.

Traditionally Strong Defense MIA – Defense is usually something that keep the Friars in all of their games, regardless of what is going on on the offensive end. Not today. Indiana seemingly did whatever it wanted, shooting 45% from the field.

Conclusion

The nice thing about these holiday tournaments is that you can bounce back quickly with a game the next day. Providence has a chance to remedy the outcome today with a win tomorrow against Davidson.

Conversely, the Friars need to avoid two losses in a row. They cannot have a repeat of last season’s Thanksgiving tournament, especially with a quirky COVID-influenced season that could be cut short at a moment’s notice. There won’t be as many chances to redeem themselves heading into the NCAA tournament, so this type of wide margin loss certainly hurts the resume.

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