Tuesday, February 05, 2008


February 5, 2008

Something has to give tonight as both Providence and DePaul bring losing streaks into their contest at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence. The 'Fire Welsh' chants were out in full force as the Friars dropped their fourth straight Saturday night against West Virginia. The Friars are now just 3-6 in conference play. At DePaul, the Blue Demons have lost three in a row and are finding themselves in a fight for the last Big East Tournament berth after a promising start in the conference, which included a 70-65 win over PC at Allstate Arena on January 5th.

Here are the local media preview stories on tonight's game:

DePaul Not Hot Going into Providence Rematch (Courier News)
Game Preview: DePaul @ PC (Providence Journal)
DePaul Needs Big Hit to Keep its Season Alive (Chicago Tribune)
Lack of Consistency on Offense, Defense Has PC's Welsh in a Bind (Providence Journal)
PC Has Left Welsh to the Boo-Birds (Providence Journal)

Providence looks to snap a four-game losing streak and get revenge for a 70-65 road loss earlier in the season at the hands of DePaul. In the earlier game, PC played without a point guard as sophomore Dwain Williams missed the game with an injured ankle. Williams' return to the line-up helped spark the Friars to a three-game winning streak, which included a road win at UConn, but it has been downhill since for the Friars and their fans have taken their frustrations out towards Tim Welsh in recent games.

The same problems continue to plague the Friars as they remain inconsistent on defense and on the boards. With Williams' injury issues and Sharaud Curry missing all but 8 minutes of the season, the offense has been inconsistent as well. The Friars seem to rely solely on the perimter shooting touch of Williams, Brian McKenzie and Jeff Xavier for their offense. Geoff McDermott is bothered by an injured knee and Randall Hanke tends to get pushed around often in the Big East.

DePaul is a similar team as Providence where they also struggle with consistency. The Blue Demons definitely pass the look test with a line-up of strong and athletic players, but they struggle shooting the ball consistently and getting the ball inside the paint. Draelon Burns is their leading scorer and his role is to score points, sometimes it leads to ill-advised shots, but he is given the offensive freedom to score for the Blue Demons. The very promising freshman duo of Mac Koshwal and Dar Tucker have also stepped up as the season moves on, but after those three, you never know what else you will get from Jerry Wainwright's squad.

The Friars are 7-pt favorites in tonight's contest. I do expect them to come out with a strong effort as they know the opinion of th efans of their recent play. They heard the boo-birds during their loss to Seton Hall and it was only louder at the end of the West Virginia loss.

Shooting the ball will be the key, on their home floor, look for PC to hit their three's at a solid clip and pressure the DePaul guards into tough shots. DePaul will keep it close with their size and they are more than capable of stealing this one on the road, but I am giving the edge to the home team tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Providence 72 DePaul 67



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