Thursday, March 06, 2008


March 6, 2008

An January 17th, Providence College want into Connecticut and stunned the Huskies 77-65 on their home court. The win moved PC ahead of UConn in the Big East standings at 3-2 with their third consecutive Big East victory. Jim Calhoun's squad had lost for the third time in four games, falling to 2-3 in the Big East.

Boy, did things move in the opposite direction for both teams since that game!

Here are the local media previews and game stories on tonight's contest:

After Their Sluggish Start, the Huskies Have Pulled Together (Providence Journal)
Game Preview: UConn @ PC (Providence Journal)
AJ Not One to Forget (Hartford Courant)
UConn Has Score to Settle With Providence (Waterbury Rep-Am)
UConn Men in Mood to Fricassee Friars (Connecticut Post)

Providence has completely tanked since thier win over Connecticut. The Friars followed up their win at UConn by losing nine of their next 10 contests and falling 'below the line' for qualifying for the Big East Tournament, let alone the NCAA Tournament which was their preseason goal. PC showed some signs of life this past weekend with an overtime road victory against Cincinnati, which puts them in a tie with DePaul and St. John's for the last spot in the conference tournament.

Connecticut moved in the complete opposite direction following the loss to PC. The Huskies rattled off 10 straight wins and now sit on 12 wins in their last 13 games. They played nine of those games without Jerome Dyson, who was their leading scorer at the time of his suspension from the team. Dyson is now back, trying to re-assimilate himself in the mix. However, this is now AJ Price's team and the junior point guard has run the show nearly flawlessly for the Huskies during their run. Price has shown 100-times improvement with his feel for the game, knowing when to look for his offense, push or pull out the ball and getting the bigs involved. He also has a knack for hitting tough and important shots down the stretch.

UConn still has the muscle inside with Jeff Adrien and the intimidating Hasheem Thabeet. The Providence front line will definitely struggle scoring and rebounding against the big Huskies. Adrien and Thabeet should have their way inside, drawing fouls, controlling the boards and finishing against Randall Hanke, Jonathan Kale and Ray Hall. In their first meeting, Providence relied on the long-ball, hitting 14 of 24 from beyond the arc, led by Dwain Williams' six of nine. However, Williams, who scored 23 in the win, is lost for the season with an ankle injury and Jeff Xavier, who had 11 in the win, is slowed with a foot injury, making the Friar backcourt much less lethal. Factor in that Sharaud Curry has missed virtually the entire season and you see why PC is having problems winning in the Big East.

In their win over Cincinnati, freshman Marshon Brooks stepped up and was the hero. Tonight, it is a different ballgame and the Huskies have the edge at every position and with depth. Having the game at home would seem to help PC, but in this series, the road team dominates and that should continue tonight as the 4.5-pt road favorite Huskies look to continue their march to the postseason.

NBE Blogger Prediction: Connecticut 75 Providence 65


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