Initial Draw Thoughts for The Friars

We at the Crier will provide full coverage of the games but first figured we’d give our initial reactions on the Friar’s initial draw in Buffalo. Coaches love to break these things down as 3 4-team tournaments so let us take a look at this first field of South Dakota St and Iowa/Richmond.

Crier Initial Draw Reactions

  • I’m not going to go as far and say I love the Friars draw but I certainly don’t hate it.
  • South Dakota St has won plenty of games but this game against Providence is probably the toughest opponent they’ve faced this year. They haven’t lost since December 15th but those 4 loses were all ones that were big losses – 16 points vs Alabama, 11 points vs Washington, 14 points to Idaho and 12 points to Missouri State. Their only quality win would be over a Washington State team that finished 19-14.
  • Having said all this, South Dakota State is going to be a trendy upset pick so get ready for that Friar fans. The game opened as Friars being 2.5 point favorites but luckily for PC they’ve been able to outperform the spreads for the majority of the season.
  • What I really like about this draw is we won’t face a team with a true rim protector or a guy that can stay in front of Jared Bynum. Expect Bynum to be able to cook against mid-major guards and then either Bohannon or Gilyard.
  • What I really don’t like about this draw is Keegan Murray. If PC gets by South Dakota St and Iowa gets by Richmond the matchup vs Keegan Murray scares me. A big man that can score inside and out will be tough assignment for Watson. Also his brother Kris is no slouch either.
  • Let’s not sleep on the Spiders either. They can potentially give Iowa trouble. The Spiders have been a resilient group and are playing their best ball of the season.
  • The Buffalo region seemed to get a great slate of games. The region also gets a 4-team tourney of UConn, Arkansas, New Mexico St and Vermont. The bars in Buffalo should be poppin.

BOC’s Initial Draw Reactions

  • I hate the initial bedwetting from Friar fans about how they are playing a red hot South Dakota State team. Yes, you read that right. Providence fans fear a team from South Dakota. Listen, all NCAA Tournament games are tough. These teams made it in for a reason. If Providence is truly the elite team we think they are, they flex on the Jackrabbits physically and throw them off their game. I expect our size and athleticism to show here. I’m not a sports gambler, but -2.5 seems like a very easy decision for the Friars.
  • South Dakota State is lethal from 3. That is obvious. Cooley needs to implement a gameplan where they suffocate the Jackrabbits from deep and force them to beat PC off the dribble, which I don’t believe they can do. Conversely, we cannot fall in love with the 3 ball if South Dakota State hits a few deep ones early. If that happens, we could see the Creighton effect. We need to stick to our game plan and not deviate away from it and panic, particularly if the Jackrabbits bang a few three’s early.
  • The gameplan offensively should be attack the rim and feed Watson. I don’t think the Jackrabbits have the athleticism to play man to man against us, so I’d presume the Friars see a lot of zone looks. If so, we need a Reeves or Minaya to flash the high post and be decisive with their next action, whether that be attack the rim, shoot a jump shot, or kick it to an open man. Horchler isn’t suited for that role, while I think those two are.
  • Our obsession with the three ball lately has been frustrating to say the least, and I hope that trend doesn’t continue. Watson is going to have a size match-up in the first two rounds of games, and we need to exploit that in a big way.
  • If the Friars advance to play Iowa Saturday (no easy task for Hawkeyes against Richmond), I look at them as a more juiced up version of South Dakota State. They can score in bunches and make it rain from three. Sound familiar to our round 1 opponent? The common trend is inability to play defense and a lack of dominant post presence (Nunge would be a godsend right about now, but I digress).
  • The Crier is worried about Keegan Murray going off and rightly so; however, we have a defensive stopper by the name of Justin Minaya. Minaya can earn a serious professional paycheck in this game by showing his defensive prowess against a likely Top 10 pick in the NBA draft.
  • I like our chances to make the Sweet 16, quite frankly. We’ve played excellent ball all year and are rewarded with a 4 seed. South Dakota State and Iowa are both eerily similar match-ups, which may help with preparation.
  • Providence will be well represented in Buffalo. It’s close enough where Friar fans can drive, but also not a bad flight at all. With it being St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, I anticipate the Friar faithful to be loud and make their presence known.

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