Wednesday, December 08, 2010



A season ago, Providence struggled through a 12-19 campaign in which the Friars lost their final 11 games.

Keno Davis’ troops ranked next-to-last in the country in scoring defense, giving up an eye-opening 82.2 points per game. They also ranked No. 321 in field-goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot 47.1 percent.

Expectations weren’t much higher this season, as the Friars lost their two top scorers from last year, Jamine Peterson and Sharaud Curry. Moreover, with an influx of freshmen, the defense did not seem primed to improve.

Surprisingly, though, Providence currently sits at 9-1, a record that includes a double-digit win over Rhode Island.

“It’s going good so far,” sophomore guard Vincent Council told Jeff Borzello for his article at BustingtheBracket.com. “I think [we’re doing better than expected].”

The team defense has been the key so far. Opponents are scoring 65.3 points per game against the Friars, and shooting just 38.8 percent from the field. The Friars also rank No. 50 in effective field-goal percentage.

“[People underrated us because of our] youth,” Council said, “but we’re working hard.”

Marshon Brooks and Council are providing most of the offense, while first-year players Gerard Coleman and Kadeem Batts have made immediate impacts. Brooks is currently second in the conference in scoring at 21.4 points a game and is coming off a career high effort against Brown with 33 points Monday night. Council tied the school record with 16 assists in a game in the same contest and has taken over the league lead in assists, averaging 6.8.

Although the Big East is tough top-to-bottom, Providence could surprise some people if it continues to lock down on the defensive end. A busy week continues for the Friars and their new defensive prowess will be put to the test with a road game against former conference rival Boston College in Chestnut Hill tonight. The Eagles are 6-2 on the season and averaging 77 points a game in their three-game win streak that includes victories versus Cal, Indiana and UMass. On Saturday Alabama will make the trip to the Dunkin' Donuts Center from SEC country to battle the Friars.

Be sure to check out BustingtheBracket.com for more coverage from Jeff Borzello on NCAA College Basketball.


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