Friar Basketball

Weekly Primer

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 12.20.07 PM Providence College Athletics

Creighton should find its way back into the top 25 next week after Saturday’s 76-61 dismantling of Villanova in Philly. The win was Creighton’s fourth in a row, and fifth in its last six games — with four of those games (Nova, Xavier, DePaul, and Georgetown) coming on the road.

Tyshon Alexander and Mitch Ballock combined for nine 3-pointers against Nova, on only 13 attempts. The Wildcats also had no answer for Denzel Mahoney off of the bench. He scored a team high 21. The powerful wing was a big reason why Creighton finished with a 34-18 scoring advantage in the paint.

According to The White and Blue Review, the Jays limited Villanova to .897 points per possession, and forced Jay Wright’s club to shoot 6-23 to start the game, and 3-16 to end it. Creighton, conversely, finished with 1.134 points per possession — the only team to top one point per possession against Villanova this season.

Creighton, who comes to the Dunkin Donuts Center on Wednesday, is building quite the resume. Their NET ranking jumped to #14 in the nation after the Nova win. And, according to The White and Blue Review, Greg McDermott’s group now has six Quad 1 wins this season — tied for third in the nation. Four of those wins have come on the road.

As strong as Creighton’s resume is, Providence certainly knows they can play with them. The Friars led by five points with a minute and a half to play in Omaha two weeks ago, but saw the Jays close on a 9-0 run to shock them. David Duke enjoyed a career day, scoring 24 of his 36 points in the second half. Duke shot 9-11 and 4-5 from 3 in the second half of the loss to Creighton.

When Providence and Creighton meet, it is a clash of styles, with McDermott preferring a free flowing game, and Ed Cooley hoping to drag them into a fight.

Interestingly, Providence had the upset in hand in Omaha, despite not establishing Nate Watson (2-4 FG) or Alpha Diallo (3-13) on the interior.

Ballock, Alexander, and Marcus Zegarowski will play upwards of 40 minutes, and they rely heavily on 6’7, 205 pound Christian Bishop to hold down the interior. They space the floor well and force opposing big men to guard in space. Kalif Young was relatively effective in doing so in Omaha, but Providence would love to use Watson to make them pay when the Friars have the ball.

Cooley started both Young and Watson against Butler on Saturday, which simply isn’t possible when the Jays come to town.

The weekend then brings a trip to Xavier. If there is a group that most mirrors Providence in this conference stylistically, it is Travis Steele’s Musketeers. Xavier (14-8, 3-6) spent a portion of December nationally ranked following a 9-1 start, but conference play has been a struggle.

They dropped to 2-6 in the Big East last week – falling in double overtime to Marquette, despite Markus Howard missing the final 12 minutes and overtime sessions for the Golden Eagles after a head injury. With their season slipping away, Xavier went on the road and pretty much dominated a top ten Seton Hall club on Saturday.

This is a group that is physical, defends, but has offensive shortcomings — sound familiar? Ken Pomeroy rates their defense 22nd in the nation (PC is 56), with an offense ranked 101 (the Friars are 113). The win over Seton Hall (previously unbeaten in the conference) put Xavier right back on the bubble. They are still a top 50 NET team (47).

Tyrique Jones was immense for Xavier against Seton Hall, finishing with 18 points, 19 boards, and four blocks. Seton Hall didn’t look ready for the 11am start, as Xavier rushed out to a 30-6 lead to start the game and never looked back.

Jones, Naji Marshall (16.8 ppg) and Paul Scruggs (13.4 ppg) are the three X players averaging in double figures this season. A home loss to Providence would be crippling to their NCAA tournament chances.

Friars Welcome a Visitor

Northfield Mount Hermon has long been one of the best prep programs, not just in New England, but the country. Winners of three of the last four NEPSAC titles, John Carroll’s group flawless executes a beautiful brand of offensive basketball.

This year’s group includes 6’8 center Moses Ngodock out of New Orleans. According the reports, Ngodock visited Providence unofficially this weekend. NMH was playing in the National Prep School Invitational, which was held at Rhode Island College from Thursday-Sunday.

The best big man to come out of NMH in recent memory is Penn star AJ Brodeur, who gave Providence fits in November.

I got my first look at New Hampton sophomore Alex Karaban at the Prep School Invitational on Friday night, and the versatile sophomore forward impressed with 27 points, using a mature offensive skill set. Providence has expressed interest in Karaban, who should have an army of suitors as he continues his prep career. This is a skilled big man who is putting up huge numbers at a young age.

Also impressing was Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe, a 6’7 wing from Orangeville Prep — the program that produced Kalif Young. Young played at this tournament during his time at Orangeville and committed to PC a few months later. Alexander-Moncreiffe does not appear to be a Friar target, but we could be seeing more of him — he officially visited Seton Hall in November and Georgetown in January.

The Big East’s Week Ahead

Villanova has quite the challenge in front of themselves this week, as they travel to Butler on Wednesday before returning home to host Seton Hall.

One Comment

  1. Gary

    February 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Where channel has the game against creigton