Pregame: Providence College vs.The University of Louisville

Posted: January 6, 2010 in Pregame
Tags: , , , ,

Opponent: The University of Louisville Cardinals / Est. 1798 / Louisville, KY / Enrollment(UG) 15,100 / BIG EAST

All-time Series: Friars- 4  |  Cardinals- 9

Location: The Dunkin’ Donuts Center [12,500] Providence, RI

Date: Wednesday January, 6

Time: 7:00pm

Coverage: TV- ESPNU   Radio- 103.7 FM Providence

Preview: Providence (9-5, 1-1) will return home, after opening there first two games of BIG EAST play on the road, to take on The University of Louisville Cardinals (10-4, 1-0).  Louisville won their BIG EAST opener over USF, but lost in their last contest to Kentucky.  Rick Pitino will once again make his way back to the home that launched his coaching career for the 14th meeting between these two teams.  This year the Cardinals have a very talented team, that still has some unanswered questions.  Louisville is led in scoring and rebounding by big man Samardo Samuels.  Edgar Sosa is the only other Cardinal averaging in double digits scoring , but the rest of the team gives consistent scoring averages as well.  Louisville is a team that likes to create turnovers and play at a quick pace.  Considering Providence tries to do the same, the game should have many possessions and could become high scoring.  The Friars will look to win their BIG EAST home opener and try to improve to 2-1 in conference play.

PFB Perspective: Tonight is another chance for Providence to pick up another win, and this is why:  Despite school being on break, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center should be pretty full for the game.  It will be one of the first times this young team has been able to play in a full Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  The home court advantage and the name on the other teams jersey should hopefully be enough to get the Friars going.  Also Louisville is a team searching for answers.  Granted the last team we saw them play was Kentucky, they had some serious offensive troubles.  It took them almost 14 minutes in that game to get into double digits.  Also, you have to think that after playing Kentucky in Rupp Arena, Providence in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center might be taken less seriously.  If the Friars can get there shots to fall early and play some defense they stand a chance in this game, and could potentially get a win over a quality opponent.

But this is what is more likely to happen.  Rick Pitino, having coached in Providence, gives the team, school, and city more respect than most.  He will have his players prepared and they will come out anxious to get back to their winning ways.  The Louisville pressure that Rick Pitino’s teams execute so well will be a challenge for VC and Sharaud to get through.  We aren’t saying they won’t break the press, but for anybody who watches Louisville, you know that that pressure certainly wears on even the beset guards throughout the course of the game.  Samardo Samuels will be difficult to stop.  Although he is only 6’9″ he is a bigger player than Bilal and will be tough to match up against.  Look for help to slide over or drop down on Samuels when the Friars are in the zone.  He isn’t the greatest passer so a double might slow him down.  But even if he was to be slowed down the Cardinals are capable of beating teams in other ways.

Providence will need to protect the ball.  Keno uses a deep rotation, so hopefully that alleviates some of the grind of the Louisville pressure.  Since the Louisville defense is more than a capable one, it is imperative that offensive production comes from a variety of places.  Another good game out of Sharaud would be great, but Bilal and Marshon need to produce this game.  The defense will be tough, but the Friars need to be careful with shot selection (especially Marshon and Greedy).  Too often when teams are pressured they settle for bad shots.  This is a game where the extra pass would go a very long way.  Also, Providence needs to be big on the glass.  Second shot opportunities will make this an easy game for Louisville, but second opportunities and put-backs for us may just keep us in it.

Winning tonight may be a bit of a stretch on paper, but that is the great thing about the BIG EAST… anything really can happen on any night.  Much crazier things than beating Louisville have happened at the Dunk.  But the truth is the game will be tough, and Louisville is a very very tough, and resilient team.  The game will probably be high scoring, but in the end the Cardinals may just be too much for Providence.  But win or lose, as in all games this season we are looking for development, strong performances, and progression.  If we can can play Louisville well, it would be a good sign for this team.  (And here is a little Rick Pitino throwback for you…)

Links:

Friars.com

Men’s Basketball To Host Louisville On Wednesday, January 6 At 7PM On ESPNU

ProJo.com

Capsule Preview: Louisville at PC

Smithfield’s Marra Wears Cardinal red, but was nearly a Friar

Friarblog

The State of Friars Basketball

Friar Preview for Pitino’s Crew

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