Pregame: Providence College at The University of Cincinnati

Posted: January 29, 2010 in Pregame

Opponent: The University of Cincinnati Bearcats / Est. 1819 / Cincinnati, OH / Enrollment(UG) 39,700 / BIG EAST

All-time Series: Friars 4  |  Bearcats 1

Location: Fifth Third Arena [13,200] Cincinnati, OH

Date: Saturday January, 30

Time: 8:00pm ET

Coverage: TV- ESPNU  |  Radio- 103.7 FM Providence

What you should know about the Bearcats: The Bearcats enter the contest with a BIG EAST record of 4-4, and an overall of 13-7, putting them just one spot ahead of Providence in the BIG EAST rankings.   Their last game was a loss to Louisville on Sunday.  If you follow BIG EAST basketball, or just college basketball in general, you probably know the name Lance Stephenson.  Stephenson is a highly touted freshman who is the all time leading scorer in New York high school basketball history, and, not surprisingly, has become the Bearcats leading scorer.  He is no John Wall or Xavier Henry, but he can play.  He was picked as the Preseason BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and is averaging over 12 points as a game.  He is in a constant attack mode on offense.  He has a strong frame and very good ball handling skills which allow him to drive, but sometimes his drives are a bit out of control.  His 12 points a game could easily be more, but he often forces his offense taking lower percentage shots.  The 12 points is acceptable though when you have other decent scorers in the line up.  Both Deonta Vaughn and Yancy Gates are averaging in double figures.  Vaughn is an undersized combo guard.  He is not particularly explosive, but is one of the more complete guards in the league.  Vaughn can create his own shot, but his real skill is in his shooting ability.  He is a great three point shooter and his range extends out to the NBA line.  Gates is the big man  down low.  He is strong and physical.  He asserts himself on the glass, but is not the greatest defender around the rim, and isn’t consistent enough taking it strong to the hoop, for this reason Gates sometimes dissappears for stretches at a time.  The rest of the team gives decent support in that they are all capable of putting the ball in the hoop.  Cincinnati can put up a lot of offense at times and has been great at home this year, with a 10-1 record.

PFB Perspective: Against UConn, PC was able to do the things they haven’t been doing all year.  Most notably, they played with defensive intensity and were scrappy on the the offensive end.  This game at Cincinnati could be a good opportunity for us.  Admittedly it is difficult to not get too caught up in one win.  After beating UConn, you start to think, hey we beat Connecticut so we should be able to beat Cincy too.  Well it is a good thing to have confidence, but Cincinnati, on the road especially, will be a very difficult game.  And the real question to be asking is if the Friars can carry over that intensity from last game?  Can they withstand the punches that they took in the first half of the UConn game again at Cincinnati?  We will have to see.  We can only hope that the players recognized what they did right last game and keep it up against the Bearcats.  The truth is that the Bearcats have had some bad losses, but have also had some very good wins.  They are significantly better at home so far this season, and they have some very good players… but this is a winnable game for us.

Any winning effort for us will have to start with defense.  Cincy has three good scorers, two of which can beat you both inside and out, but defending against the penetration and drives will be the key.  We also need to win on the boards.  We struggled in the first half against UConn because they were beating us on the boards but in the second half we dominated.  Crashing the boards and giving ourselves second chances is essential.  We need to limit Cincy to one shot each time down the floor.  In the UConn game we got a lot of steals and seemed to always get the loose balls.  A similar performance is needed.  The loose balls need to be ours.  Good defense will lead to steals.

Offensively it is always nice when our shots are falling.  In the UConn game we had a less than spectacular shooting night, but we were able to find other ways to score.  Balance is the key.  Balance in where on the floor the points come from and balance with who is scoring the points.  Ball movement and finding the open man may seem like CYO talk, but it is necessary and sometimes needs to be reminded to this young team.  We have a lot of players who can make mid range jumpers so settling for the three is not always necessary.  Hopefully we will be able to use our bench like we did last game, and who knows maybe Ray Hall even sees some more action!  We would definitely like to see that.

The game will be tough.  Providence has had some good road games, but they also played terribly against Marquette out in Milwaukee.  Which team will we get tomorrow night?  Cincy is coming off of a loss they feel like they could have won, and will be very eager to get back on track.  They have had almost a full week to prepare for us and last time a team out that way had a week to prepare for us things didn’t go too well.

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