Thursday, March 12, 2009


March 12, 2009

Providence kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alove as a Late Friars Surge Holds Off DePaul and PC ends the Blue Demons' season with an 83-74 win.

Sharaud Curry led PC with 25 points and Weyinmi Efejuku added 23 in the win in a game that Keno Davis' squad could not afford to lose.

Their reward is a date with the 2009 Big East Tournament's No. 1 seed, Louisville, at high noon today at Madison Square. At stake for PC could be a bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

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

Providence Friars Eye NCAA Tournament Bid (Hartford Courant)
Friars Survive Big Day for Two Blue Demons (Courier-Journal)
Pitno Denied the Honors He Deserves (Courier-Journal)
Cards: New York Not Neutral (Courier-Journal)
Friars Used Bye to their Advantage Against DePaul (Providence Journal)
After Win over DePaul, Providence Season Comes Down to Louisville Game (Providence-Journal)
Friars Hung in With Louisville in February - For Awhile (Providence Journal)

Despite a 10-8 Big East regular season, earning a bye as the 8th place team in a conference once thought of as a 10-bid league, it is likely that Providence will need a win over Louisville in the Big East Tournamant quarterfinals to secure a spot in the 'Big Dance' when the selections are announced on Sunday. That is an awfully tall order for the Friars, who lost at Louisville back on February 18th, 94-76.

While the 18-point difference seems daunting, there are a few facts to keep in mind about the previous meeting. The Friars shot 50% from the floor in enemy territory and out-rebounded the Cards. However, the difference in the game was turnovers. PC turned the ball over 22 times (while just forcing UL to turn it over 9 times) as the UL press took its toll.

The Friars need to do a better job against the pressure, and there is no reason to believe they will not. They have the experience of going through it once and the game tape to improve on their mistakes. They have a veteran back court with redshirt junior Sharaud Curry along with four senior starters in Weyinmi Efejuku, Jeff Xavier, Geoff McDermott and Jonathan Kale. This group has pulled together before, in a stirring upset of Pittsburgh, and they can definitely do it once again.

In order to do so, they will have to prevent Terrence Williams and Earl Clark from turning their defensive pressure into quick strike points the other way. The Friars have to defend the perimeter in earnest, not allowing Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles to find comfort shooting from the perimeter. PC showed they could rebound and score against UL, now they need to show they can handle the ball.

Louisville will be the test case for the double-bye as they will be playing their first game in the Big East Tournament. All the favorites won on Wednesday, as expected, but there definitely seems to be a severe drop from the top 7 (or eight if PC can prove themselves worthy) and the rest of the league. These next three days should be awfully fun!! With their defensive pressure, the Cards should be able to wear down PC and that is likely to make the difference.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Louisville 75
Providence 68



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