Providence did not start off in Mohegan the way they envisioned, slogging their way through a game that was never really in doubt for the Miami Hurricanes. Miami controlled throughout the entire game and never gave the Friars much of a chance to get back into the game in the second half. With the loss yesterday, Providence takes on St. Louis, who were walloped by Maryland 95-67.
We break down what went wrong in this game, what needs to be fixed, and what are some concerning themes emerging for the Friars 4 games into the season.
Revisiting Keys to Game
In the preview article for Miami (https://theprovidencecrier.com/2022/11/19/miami-providence-preview-friars-looking-to-start-4-0/#more-5291), we identified a few areas that Providence should exploit to come out victorious. None of those things came to fruition, unfortunately.
Win the Frontcourt Battle – The story of the year so far has been the surprise emergence of Clifton Moore and the imposing nature of our frontcourt. We probably should have looked at the quality of the opponents before buying into the hype of the frontcourt. Prior to this game, Moore and Croswell were averaging together 25 points and 13 boards a game. Against an undersized Miami team led by a 6’7 Arkansas State small ball 5 transfer, Moore and Croswell combined for 8 points and 10 rebounds. That’s unacceptable if Providence wants to make the NCAA tournament.
They are going to be going up against a lot of size in the Big East and need to have their big men play like Big East caliber big men. If not, this could be a long season. What’s more concerning is that it was apparent both players weren’t playing their “A” game and Castro couldn’t jump in and give quality minutes. I just don’t think Castro is ready yet to contribute at a high D1 level, and we’re going to have to roll the dice with a tandem of Croswell and Moore moving forward.
Rebounding Woes – This could be inserted into the section above around frontcourt issues. The rebounding numbers AND effort were atrocious by the Friars. Miami outrebounded Providence 38-29, but the most concerning thing was the sense of indifference in finding a body when the shot goes up and making the effort to secure a rebound. There were far too many plays where Hopkins and Moore just ball watched and were outhustled for a board by a Miami player. That type of effort is unacceptable. Rebounding is just as much about desire as it is fundamentals, and the desire was lacking. That is something I’m certain Cooley will remedy.
Bynum the Aggressor – With the heralded backcourt of the Hurricanes, we wanted to see Bynum take charge and make his mark on this game. Bynum just couldn’t get in a flow today. Bynum was 1-7 from deep and finished 5-12 with 14 points. With Bynum struggling, the offense followed suit to the tune of 24% from 3 and 42% from the floor. This team is going to go as far as Bynum can carry them. That’s a tall task, but that’s what you sign up for when playing PG under Cooley. Here’s to hoping for a bounce back against St. Louis.
BOC High Level Takeaway – Anybody who follows me knows I fall for a team and players that play the right way, hustle their tail off, and give every ounce of effort on the court. It’s why I loved Kyron Cartwright, loved Justin Minaya, and have a soft spot for Alyn Breed.
Four games into the season, I find myself frustrated with the newcomers (sans Devin Carter and Pierre) and overall lack of effort and energy on the court. The turnover in roster and unfamiliarity of playing for Ed Cooley is why I was so hesitant on putting any expectations or label on this team. The new guys are still finding their footing on the court, but I think Cooley needs to really imprint that the Providence Way under Cooley is maximum effort. I just am not seeing it consistently. Until the light bulb goes off, this team is going to be up and down all season.
With all that said, Miami is a NCAA tournament team, and the season is far from lost. Remember when we lost to UVA last year? All the Friars need to do is win today to head into Thanksgiving week at 4-1.
Friars play St. Louis at 3:30pm today.