Wednesday, February 18, 2009


February 18, 2009

One had to feel for DePaul over the weekend. Possibly the worst Big East team in recent memory was on the road facing a very angry Rick Pitino coached team and it was no contest as Louisville got well against the Blue Demons in a 99-54 drubbing in Freedom Hall. Louisville looks to remain in the 4-way deadlock of teams with two Big East losses when the Providence Friars come to Freedom Hall.

The Friars are an interesting dilemma for the NCAA Tournament committee. As of today, PC has an 8-5 Big East record. PC has two wins over Cincinnati and a victory over Syracuse, other than that, their best victory is over Rhode Island and they dropped every non-conference game of significance as well as their opener with Northeastern. In their last five games, PC has the Cards, as well as Notre Dame, Pitt and Villanova on the schedule. Assuming a win against Rutgers, PC would definitely have to win at least one of the four games against quality teams on the schedule for a chance at a tournament bid.

Here are some pregame stories and previews on tonight's game:

Pitino: Cards are Showing Purpose (Courier-Journal)
Crunch Time in Big East Has Arrived for Friars (Providence Journal)
PC at Louisville (Providence Journal)
Delk Out, Williams In When Cards Meet Providence (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Providence is a pretty good match-up for the Cards. PC is not a strong defensive team and they prefer a higher pace of a game. This should allow Louisville to score points and when they score, they can set-up their fullcourt pressure. Also, pressure is something that PC is susceptible to as they do tend to turn the ball over in bunches.

The Friars will rely on the three-point shooting ability of point guard Sharaud Curry and guards Jeff Xaiver and Brian McKenzie as well as the slashing skills of Weyinmi Efejuku and Marshon Brooks for much of their offensive output. Louisville's defense is designed to stop this kind of attack and matches up well.

On offense, the Cards should look to go inside to Samardo Samuels and use the inside/out abilities of Earl Clark. If Terrence Williams' wrist is close to 100% and he is an offensive threat, Louisville should cruise to victory as a 13 1/2-point favorite in this contest.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Louisville 82
Providence 67



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