If I’m Ed Cooley, my message to the team heading into their non-conference finale against Central Connecticut is to finish what you started. Your 9-1 start marks only the second team in the Cooley Era to achieve that feat. The other team to do it found themselves in the NCAA Tournament and victors in the Round of 64. You’ve put yourselves in a great position where not only can you make the NCAAs, but get a good seed as well. Now don’t screw it up. Take the opponent seriously and take care of business. Alright enough from Coach Crier, here’s the preview:
What to Know
- Opponent: Central Connecticut (2-7)
- Time & TV: 12/11 2:00pm FS1
- KenPom: #347, PC 80 – C Conn 55, PC 99% win prob
- Betting Line: PC -27.5 O/U 134
- Watson Takes Blue Devils to School- Nate Watson was back to his dominant self against UVM. The big dog finished with 24 points on 10/12 from the floor. Central CT’s front court has two things going against them in their lack of experience and size. Jayden Brown is their biggest guy that gets more than 10 minutes, and he’s only a 6-8 freshman. If the name sounds familiar, the RI native came to Central CT from Tilton School. Watson will look to use his size and experience in this one. Their other big Stephane Ayangma is a senior, but only listed at 6-6. This should be one final tune up for Watson before dealing with the grind of Big East front courts.
- Can Reeves Keep It Going? – Before suffering a foot injury freshman year, AJ Reeves had a 4-game stretch where he scored 15+ points 3 times. He really has never had a scoring stretch like that since. He’s popped off for a huge games here and there over the last three years, but not at a consistent rate. Coming off his 24-point outing against UVM, Reeves is now averaging 15 ppg over his last three. If Reeves can keep the scoring coming it will be a great confidence boost heading into conference play.
- Get to the Line, Make Your Freebies- This season the Friars have taken the 5th most free throws in the nation with 236 attempts at the charity stripe. That’s thanks to Watson and Durham constantly in attack mode at the basket. PC should have no trouble finding themselves at the free throw line, as the Blue Devils have given up 180 attempts in 9 games. PC has also got to hit them. They are at 73% on the year but there’s work to be done at the line.
- Get Some Other Guys Minutes, Starters Some Rest- The Friars should look to get out to a big lead against Central Ct so they can get some other guys more minutes. It’d be good for guys like Goodine and Case to get some solid game action going into conference play because you never know when we may need one of them to step up. It would also be good to get guys like Al Durham some much needed rest. Durham is averaging 36 mpg. While they do have a week off after this one, it’d be paramount to leave this one healthy and fresh.
While the thought of it scares the heck out of me, I don’t see this PC team taking this one off. There’s too much at stake and they’ve shown no signs of taking an opponent for granted yet this season. Friars close out the non-conference in style PC 88 – CCSU 57
This team is too veteran to have a let down game to an inferior opponent. Friars win easily. PC 84-CCSU – 61