To say the Providence Friars are over-performing would be an understatement. With one game remaining in their nonconference schedule, they sit at 10-2 with Boston College being the only team standing between them and an 11-2 record. Those two losses come from the likes of Ohio State and #12 Virginia. Prior to this season, had Friar fans been told that they could enter Big East play only losing to those two teams, I’m sure 100% of them would have jumped at the opportunity. Tempting as it is however, Ed Cooley won’t let his team overlook their final nonconference game.
So with Providence exceeding expectations through the first month of the season, it’d be greedy to ask for more, right? I mean, the Friars are getting contributions across the board from more than just Rodney Bullock and Kyron Cartwright, they’re sporting the best defense the program has ever had under Ed Cooley, AND they’re knocking down threes at a 41% clip. What more could you ask for? Well I’ll tell you.
According to KenPom, the Friars rank 270th in offensive rebounding percentage. In other words, they only grab 26.3 percent of available offensive rebounds. Come Big East play, the Friars will need all the hustle points they can get against the tougher, in-conference competition. Improving their play on the offensive glass will help PC immensely if it allows them to steal a few extra possessions in tight games. Second chance points and hustle plays will be a difference maker for Providence against some of the Big East elites this year, and improving their offensive rebounding numbers would be a nice addition to PC’s repertoire. If Christmas lists included subheadings, this section would also include a bullet point for free throw shooting. But the holiday season isn’t a time for nitpicking.
A Lot of the Same
Providence’s first month of the season has been close to perfect. Picked to finish 9th in the Big East at Media Day, Cooley quickly found an effective formula for success. The scoring has been coming from all angles. Prior to Emmitt Holt posting 18 points in a win over Maine, the Friars had four different leading scorers over their last four games. Rodney Bullock, Emmitt Holt, Kyron Cartwright, and Jalen Lindsey have all been consistent contributors for the Friars. In his third season, Lindsey has finally settled into his role, playing outstanding defense, in addition to shooting with confident efficiency from beyond the arc. Cartwright has been the ultimate quarterback for this team on offense, while Bullock has been the team’s go-to scorer. Holt has been strong underneath, creating the post presence that Cooley hoped he’d be. Their defense is stellar and, for the first time in years, the Friars finally shoot the three-ball effectively. It may be boring, but if I’m Ed Cooley, my Christmas list consists of hoping for a whole lot of the same over the next few months.
A New Mascot
I know it’s the Christmas season, but that doesn’t change the fact that Friar Dom is downright terrifying. With the team playing well, the Friars can focus on the important things in life, like replacing the scariest mascot in division one athletics. I’m not a big proponent of change, but Friar Dom has to go.
Absolute nightmare fuel.
As for my Christmas list? I hope there’s plenty more where these came from.