Saturday, February 14, 2009


February 14, 2009

On Saturday evening, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights head to Providence to take on Keno Davis’ Friars. Rutgers has been off since last Sunday’s home loss to rival Seton Hall. RU is now just 1-10 in Big East play this season. Providence snapped a three-game losing streak with a 77-62 win at South Florida, pushing their Big East record to 7-5.

Here are some pregame stories and previews on the game:

PC Can’t Afford to Slip Against Downtrodden Rutgers (Providence Journal)
Capsule Preview: Rutgers @ PC (Providence Journal)
PC’s Postseason Hopes May Hinge on Strong Regular Season Finish (Providence Journal)

Well, it is year #3 of the Fred Hill era and, despite the addition of McDonald’s All-American Mike Rosario and highly touted 6-foot-9 Greg Echenique, things are not looking much different than year’s #1 and #2. In fact, this season has a real chance at being the worst yet, a very disappointing, but very real, possibility.

In Big East play under Hill, the Scarlet Knights are a pathetic 6-41, good for a .128 winning percentage. Once again, it is an anemic offense that is the root of their struggles. In Big East play, Rutgers manages just 0.948 points per possession. That would be an offense that ranked 266th in the NCAA and be the worst among all major conference teams. While Providence is certainly not going to win any defensive awards, the RU offense is more of a tonic for the PC defense than the PC defense for the RU offense.

On their home floor, PC can definitely score some points and they have plenty of scoring options, while Saturday’s opponent seems to rely solely on Mike Rosario to shoot them into games. On the road, this is probably not a good game plan to follow.

As for the Friars, like the South Florida game, PC needs to avoid any possibility of slipping up in this game to remain in the top half of the conference and to keep their slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive. With their best non-conference win coming against the A-10’s Rhode Island, the importance of finishing up strong in the Big East is not lost on Keno Davis.

“I think finishing in the top half is very important because if you don’t finish in the top half, you have to have a very good RPI or a very good non-conference coming in,” Davis said in the Big East coaches conference call this week. “Not many people have picked Providence to be one of the top division teams and right now we are. That’s a nice spot to be in and we control our own destiny if we’re going to be in the top half of this league.”

Winning on Saturday is another step in securing that possibility and give them 8 league wins. With Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, before finishing with a rematch against Rutgers and then a conference finale with Villanova ahead on the schedule, this is a most-win game for the Friars.

While Rutgers will likely scrap and try to get physical, the Friars will have too much offense and the offensive struggles of the Scarlet Knights are likely to prevent them from keeping up in this one.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Providence 78
Rutgers 63



Post a Comment

<< Home