Wednesday, March 11, 2009


March 11, 2009

Day two of the 2009 Big East Tournament (see link for tickets) tips off at high noon with DePaul facing Providence in Madison Square Garden.

The Blue Demons snapped an 18-game losing streak with a 67-57 tournament opening win over Cincinnati on Tuesday. The Blue Demons got 17 points a piece from Will Walker and Dar Tucker and they shocked slumping Cincinnati.

The Friars come to New York City as the tourney's 9th seed following a 10-8 Big East conference season. Many thought that 10 wins in this year's Big East would make a team a lock for the 2009 NCAA Tournament, but the Friars definitely look to have more work to do, especially with Cleveland State knocking off Butler last night, likely taking away an at-large bid for the bubble teams.

Here are some pregame stories and previews on today's contest:

Kale Gives Hopeful Friars a Spark (Sun Chronicle)
Friars Defensive About NCAA Tourney Chance (Sun Chronicle)
Frars Aim: Change That New York State of Mind (Providence Journal)
Capsule Preview: PC vs DePaul (Providence Journal)
A Year After PC Fired Him, Tim Welsh Still Roots for Friars (Providence Journal)
With Senior Laden Group, Providence Smiling on Keno Davis (Chicago Tribune)
No So Blue, DePaul Advances (Beacon News)
DePaul Upsets Cincinnati in Big East Tournament Opener (Chicago Tribune)

This is a good news-bad news scenario for Providence College. The good news, they are heavily favored according to the latest college basketball betting odds (-9 1/2) to win and advance to the Big East quarterfinals with a victory against DePaul. However, for a team in need of a win (or two) that means something, beating the Blue Demons, a team that is 9-23 on the season, is not going to grab anyone's attention.

These two teams met back in early January with the Friars victorious at home, 62-54. The Friars had four players in double figures in the win, led by Weyinmi Efejuku's game-high 18 points. The held the Blue Demons to 35% shooting and leading scorer Dar Tucker was just 4-17 from the field.

The Friars have a deep backcourt, led by senior Efejuku and redshirt junior Sharaud Curry, and they have some size with Geoff McDermott and Jonathan Kale inside and Randall Hanke can be a productive player off the bench against a team like DePaul.

While the Blue Demons are playign with house money as a 16-seed advancing to round two of the Big East Tournament, they will be facing a tough uphill battle in this game. Having the experience of one game in Madison Square Garden under their belt should help and the Friars have all the pressure on them, look for DePaul to possibly get out of the gates quicker than the Friars.

But, in the end, PC will take control of the game near the end of the 1st half and begin to set the cruise. If they win, their date with Louisville in the quarterfinals will be their biggest game in some time.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Providence 72
DePaul 61



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