The Friars will take the court coming off their opening night victory over Columbia with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coming to the AMP on Saturday. The Panthers struggled early against DIII opponent Wisconsin Stout in their opener until ultimately pulling away 91-73. It is worth noting they were without their leading scorer from last season BJ Freeman, who was suspended due to violating team rules. Under head coach Bart Lundy, the Panthers were picked to finish second in the Horizon League. They are a fast paced team with a dangerous offense. This will certainly be a step up in competition for the Friars from Columbia. This will be the Friar’s final tune up before their big game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at what to look for in this one.
Cleaning Things Up– While the Friars played a solid game in their opener, they were terribly sloppy with the basketball. They turned the ball over 18 times. Against Columbia, that’s fine. Against an offense that likes to get up and down the court, it is a good idea for them to take care of the rock. PC was clearly pressing at times during the opener. You’d hope that Providence settles more into a groove and is more composed now that the opening night nerves are behind them.
Not My Tempo?– For Friar fans the first game was an eye-opening experience to see PC play at such a quick pace. However, in the post-game press conference Kim English stated that he would have liked them to play quicker. It may take a little time for the roster to fully gel, integrating the George Mason transfers and the Friar returnees all while acclimating to Kim’s system. Let’s see if we notice a tangible increase in pace in this one.
Dual Status– Garwey Dual entered the game against Columbia about 5 minutes into the contest, and his impact was immediately felt. He canned a three to give the Friars a 9-7 lead and then had a great block off helpside D. Unfortunately, that was the last we saw of Garwey Dual as he would not return due to an ankle injury. The good news for Friar fans is that they were being overly cautious, and there’s a good chance Dual returns. Hopefully, he will be able to go in this one and continue to show what he’s capable of. Garwey raises the ceiling for this squad when available.
Castro’s Minutes – Castro was ultra effective in game one and warrants more playing time. I want to see him continue to stack solid performances to warrant more playing time. I’d expect him to play anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes in this one. He has earned that with a superb opening night showing.
Shot Selection – Providence was a pretty abysmal 26% from 3 in the first game against Columbia. I want to see if 1. That percentage improves 2. How many three’s they put up. I’m expecting a low 30% success rate from deep, but I do expect PC to put up 30+ three pointers in this one.
Crier: The Friars look a little more crisp in their second game and despite UWM putting up points, they just can’t keep pace with the Friars. PC 88 UWM 76
BOC: I’m not as worried about this one as Mike is, but my score prediction has UW-M closer than the Crier’s. Go figure. Providence shakes off the opening night rust and wins 80-71.