It is truly incredible what is happening in Friar Town. Providence is 13-1, atop the Big East, nationally ranked, and on an 8 game winning streak. When I’ve glanced over this team’s statistics, nothing jumps out which clearly defines why Providence is doing so well. Is it fool’s gold or can the numbers help tell us something?
I decided to take a deeper dive into how this team stacks up nationally, using a few key metrics to compare the Friar team as a whole to the rest of the D1 (using stats through games as of 1/1). I then got a bit more granular and compared individual stats to the rest of the players in the Big East.
The findings below tell a pretty unique story that this Friar team has hung its hat on defense, and that will be their calling card moving forward. Additionally, the sum of this team is greater than its individual parts, exemplified by no one individual player dominating stats like we’ve routinely seen with Friar teams in the past.
Friar Team Stats Versus Entirety of Division 1
Points Per Game: 231st at 69.8
Field Goal Percentage: 191st at 44.01%
Three Point Field Goal Percentage: 190th at 33.57
Assists Per Game: 157th at 13.9
Assist/Turnover Ratio: 71st at 1.24
Free Throw Percentage: 152nd at 71.43
Rebounds Per Game: 115th at 37.43
Defensive Field Goal Percentage: 35th at 38.72%
Points Allowed Per Game: 44th at 61.1 Points/Game
Summary: If you were to peruse these stats and predict how the Friars stack up nationally before getting to the defensive stats, you probably make the assumption that this team is a slightly above average team that has trouble producing offensively. None of the offensive stats illustrate why this team is at 13-1.
It is when you get to the defensive stats that you see why this team is currently where they are at. This team is an absolute bear on the defensive end, measuring in the Top 50 nationally in all of the aforementioned key defensive metrics. Providence has managed to win because they make life incredibly difficult on their opponents, and their opponents cannot get on track offensively. If you want to point to one singular thing when looking at the stats, point to the defensive effort and metrics because that tells a lot of the story as to why this team is so successful.
Now, let’s look into individual stats and compare them to all personnel in the Big East. It further illustrates the “we over me” mentality that the Friars have adopted.
Providence Stat Leaders Versus Big East
Points Per Game – Nate Watson at 13th overall at 13.9 points/game.
Rebounds Per Game – Noah Horchler at 2nd overall at 8.3 boards/game.
Assists Per Game – Al Durham at 12th overall at 3.3 assists/game.
Three Point Field Goal Percentage – Horchler at 3rd overall at 45.3%
Steals and Blocks – Nobody in the Top 15 for either category
Free Throw Percentage – Al Durham 5th overall at 80%
Summary: I like to compare individual stats to the team stats to see if the narrative stays the same as to why this team is having success. In my opinion, the lack of a dominant scorer exemplifies the well rounded nature of this team and why they are winning. How many times in years past have the Friars had two leading scorers in the top 10, but hovered around the .500 mark? This team can beat you in so many ways, and this stat shows that.
If there is a “unicorn” on this team, it’s Noah Horchler. How often do you see a player be top 3 in both three point field goal percentage and rebounds? I’ve said time and time again that Horchler may be the most crucial piece to this Friar squad, and I think him being in the Top 3 in two vastly different categories shows that.
Lastly, I included the steals and blocks stats because it further shows that this team is really playing together and in system. Nobody is gambling on plays and trying to be a hero defensively. Everybody is a cog in the defensive wheel, and it is paying off with the Friar defense leading this team.
In conclusion, I’m not sure any of the above was not well known already, but it was a fun exercise to objectively look at stats and try to decipher why the Friars are where they are.
If this Providence squad can stay dedicated on defense and continue to remain unselfish on the offensive end, I have no problems stating this Friar squad has the chance to make a serious run in March.