After starting the season 12-0 and climbing all the way to #4 in the rankings, the 14/15 ranked Cards (13-3, 1-2) have now lost 3 out of their last 4 games, and have looked bad doing it. If there is any good news, it is that they are in a portion of the schedule where the next 2 games are very winnable. If the Cards can pick up the next two victories and get back to 3-2 in the conference, it could bring back some confidence and help create momentum for the rest of the season. In order to do that, however, the Cards must go on the road and beat Providence (11-6, 0-4) tonight.
Providence comes into the game at 0-4 in the conference, but 3 of those games are against Syracuse, Georgetown, and a much improved Seton Hall team. They have 4 players that average double figures, led by Vincent Council. The 6’2 junior guard is averaging 16.5 ppg and 6.6 assists as well. He has failed to reach double figures in points only twice this season, and in those games he had 8 and 9 points. He has had 5 games of at least 21 points, with the highest this season being 26. In their most recent game against Seton Hall, Council had 23 points and 9 assists.
The other 3 players for the Friars that average double figure points are Gerard Coleman (15.1 ppg), Bryce Cotton (13.9 ppg), and LaDontae Henton (12.6 ppg and 9.2 rebounds). After those 4 tough games to start conference play, now Providence faces Louisville, Syracuse, and Marquette. Knowing that they could easily start out 0-7, the Friars will be desperate for a win. The Cards need to come out and put the game away early and not let them hang around. Easier said than done lately for UofL, so we’ll see!
It was good to see Kyle Kuric and Chane Behanan with big games against Notre Dame. Gorgui Dieng needs to avoid fould trouble because UofL just doesn’t have a legit backup center. Peyton Siva and Chris Smith have disappeared lately, so they need to get back on track. And Russ Smith had an off game, so hopefully that was just a bump in the road and not the beginning of a trend.
The game will tip off at 7:00 pm and be televised on ESPN2. It can also be heard on 840 WHAS. Rick Pitino and his 1987 Providence team will be honored at some point during the game to mark the 25 year anniversary of their Final Four run.
Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan
|Avg Points Allowed||59.3||65.4|