It’s a fun exercise to take the position of an optimist and pessimist when evaluating how this season could play out. There are so many unknowns about this roster, the conference, and this coach that it is entertaining to evaluate all the different outcomes.
We took the stance of “what happens this season if everything goes right” and “what happens this season if everything goes wrong”. When taking this on, we kept outcomes realistic. While I’d love to say every starter averages 20 points a game, and this team is the second coming of the Golden State Warriors, that isn’t realistic. All of the below potential outcomes are within the realm of possibility.
Without further ado, a preview of this season from The Optimist and The Pessimist. Enjoy!
The Optimist’s Preview: The Providence Friars
1. Bryce Hopkins makes a second year leap at Providence and becomes a Two Time First Team All Big East Player and All-American. The reshaping of his body pays off, and he increases his numbers to 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists a game.
2. Devin Carter’s offseason works pays off, as his three point field goal percentage increases from 29% to 34%. Devin Carter uses his improvement from last year to become Big East DPOY and All Conference.
3. Garwey Dual is as good as the hype indicates, being named Big East Freshman of the Year and combining with Devin Carter to form one of the best defensive backcourts in the entire country.
4. The concerns around depth in the frontcourt are completely overblown, as Castro shows he can hold down the back-up 5 position and provides rim protection that PC hasn’t seen in years. Oduro shows to be an adequate defender, incredible offensive big man, and adept at avoiding foul trouble.
5. Jayden Pierre is the clear point guard of the present and future and will be the PC lead guard for the foreseeable future.
6. The shift to a Kim English offense is a resounding success, as PC finishes in the top 2 in points per game with Creighton.
The Pessimist’s Preview: The Providence Friars
1. The depth in the frontcourt is an issue all season, as teams abuse PC in the post with ease. The loss of Will McNair is a bigger one (literally and figuratively) than Friar fans anticipated. Rebounding, rim protection, and depth are the ultimate Achilles heel for this squad. This issue puts a cap on the ceiling for the Friars.
2. There is a steep learning curve to coaching in the Big East for Kim English, particularly against the likes of Pitino, Hurley, Smart, Miller, McDermott, etc. The close games that Providence fans are used to winning become close losses, as English continues to find his footing in in-game coaching at the Big East level.
3. While English wants to play a 4 out offense, PC doesn’t have the personnel to do so and shots themselves out of games too frequently. Providence fans ironically begin calling for a grind it out offensive style of play that was the hallmark under Ed Cooley.
4. Point guard play is a work in progress, and Jayden Pierre and Garwey Dual need another year of seasoning before becoming consistent contributors at the Big East level. Nobody clearly takes the reins as starting point guard.
5. The jump from the A10 to Big East proves to be too large for Josh Oduro and Ticket Gaines, and they are overwhelmed by the talent in the Big East.
6. The injury bug strikes Providence. I’ll leave it at that.
When analyzing the optimist and pessimist’s take on the season, I naturally find myself leaning towards the positive outcomes of the season.
I feel like a broken record, but I believe this is a Sweet 16 team. The only thing that may prevent that from happening, in my opinion, is the lack of quality depth and size in the frontcourt. It is my only legitimate concern heading into the season.
If Kim English can find a way to gameplan around this, I believe PC is going to have a special season.
Providence Crier Preseason Articles
What I’m Most Looking Forward To in Season Opener – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/11/03/providence-season-preview-what-im-looking-forward-to-seeing-in-the-opener/
Intel from Big East Media Day – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/10/24/2023-big-east-media-day-insights-and-intel-from-the-friars-the-big-east/
Non-Conference Prediction – https://theprovidencecrier.com/2023/08/10/bocs-way-too-early-non-conference-prediction/