Well, our last opportunity to sweep a team didn’t go so hot. Yes, the Friars were taken to the woodshed at UConn on Wednesday night but the game is in the rear view, and we are onto Georgetown. For the Friars it’s a game you certainly don’t want to drop, but the Hoyas are still battling amidst their poor season. The Hoyas hung tough in a 74-62 loss at Providence, and they were able to to snap a 22-game road losing streak with a win at Butler. Unfortunately, the selection committee doesn’t care that Georgetown is playing hard, and it would be a detrimental for the Friars to drop this one.
Ed Cooley thought the Friars effort in Storrs was “bullsh**”. After a few days to get over an 18 point loss, the Friars need to refocus and get this victory in DC. Let’s take a look at what to watch for in this one.
Husky Hangover?- Sometimes getting dominated in a game can be good for a team in the future. The game at UConn reminded me of Providence’s game against Florida at Barclays Center in 2019. This past game wasn’t as bad of a beat down as the Gators 32 point thrashing for the Friars where Noah Locke and Keynote Johnson, now at K State, combined for 30 points. However, you have to wonder about the Friars psyche heading into this game. For what its worth, after that Florida loss the Friars won 13 of 19 including a NCAA record 5 ranked wins in the month of February.
We need to hope their confidence isn’t shaken and that they come out ready to dominate an undermanned Georgetown team. I’ll be concerned if they come out sluggish, especially because I’m certain Cooley lit a fire under them after the Connecticut game.
Bryce “Iron Man” Hopkins– In the last three games, Hopkins has logged 127 minutes played. Hopkins has gone from Kentucky afterthought to a guy that Cooley can ill afford to sub out of a game. Bryce had a nice outing in the first matchup against the Hoyas. He had 17 points, on 6/15 from the floor, and added 6 rebounds. Look for him to have an encore, but hopefully the Friars get a good early lead and give him some much needed rest. Providence needs him rested and healthy down the stretch.
Bynum Homecoming- Jared Bynum was the reason the Friars trailed by only two possessions at halftime against UConn. He had 12 points at the break; however, the second half was a different story. He would only have 2 points the rest of the way.
It seems like Georgetown is just what the doctor ordered. Bynum, who starred at Georgetown Prep in high school, absolutely goes off against the Hoyas historically. JB was on fire in DC last year, going for 32 points on 11/15 shooting and a blistering 7/8 from three. Don’t believe me? Just ask Charlotte Hornets announcer Eric Collins who called the game. I could see JB leading the Friars in scoring in this one.
Hoya Saxa Notes- Qudus Wahab missed two games for the Hoyas after the loss at Providence for personal reasons. It might not be a coincidence that Wahab’s last game before departure was a poor effort against the Friars. LSU transfer Bradley Ezewiro replaced him in the game and was one of the few positive players from that game. But without further speculation Wahab returned two games ago and was huge in their win against Butler. Will Qudus look to redeem himself in this one?
After the Friars were -20 in rebound margin against the Huskies, Cooley may pull his hair out if Qudus dominates the glass. In the backcourt Primo Spears is in a shooting funk. He has gone 6/27 shooting in his last two games. Spears gave the Friars fits in Providence, and the Friars can’t bank on his shooting woes to continue.
Lastly, Brandon Murray is coming on off late, scoring 25 against St. John’s in the last game. He has the ability to score in bunches and get to the rim at will. Providence needs to stay engaged defensively and use their defense to build a comfortable lead.
Crier: On our latest episode of the Providence Crier Podcast, I was more concerned with a possible UConn hangover than BOC was. While I do have my worries ultimately I think the Friars bounce back. What’s the anecdote when you were had the clamps put on your offense the prior game? It’s the Georgetown Hoyas defense. Ultimately, the Providence’s offense is too much for Georgetown. PC 81 Georgetown 70
BOC: Despite my prediction, I’m not concerned about this one. This will be a game where Providence has a 5-15 point lead throughout, but it is never completely in hand. PC wins in one that looks tighter than it ultimately was. PC 80, Georgetown 73