2011 National League Preview

Yesterday I posted my 2011 American League Preview.  In case you missed it: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/2011-american-league-regular-season-preview/

Today I bring to you my National League Preview.  I fully admit I am more of an American League fan despite my hatred of the DH.  I attribute that to the Red Sox being in the AL and I primarily watch them.  But as a baseball fan, I enjoy the National League brand of baseball so much more.  Doubles, triples, sacrifice bunts, hit and runs, and double switches are more interesting to me than 3 run home runs. I digress.

After that mini diatribe here is my predictions for the National League this season. Just like yesterday the parenthesis show where I rate them overall.  During the season I will ditch the divisional format and do my rankings of all 30 MLB teams.

NL EAST

Philadelphia Phillies (1)

Atlanta Braves (5)

Florida Marlins (8)

New York Mets (11)

Washington Nationals (14)

It is easier to tell the difference between Jose Canseco and Ozzie Canseco than it is to pick against the Phillies this season.  They have 4 aces in Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels.  Halladay and Lee are arguably the two best pitchers in all of baseball.  Pitching alone will get the Phillies to the World Series.  The Braves bolstered their lineup with the acquisition of Dan Uggla in the off-season and have a nice 2 headed closer in Craig Kimbrell and Jonny Venters.  The Marlins have one of the better young teams in baseball led by Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. Expect Mike Stanton to have a monster year as the Marlins have some pieces in place to make a run at another title in a few years.  The Mets have zero pitching and have a patchwork outfield with Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran being as injury prone as they are.  Johan Santana ins expected back in July but it will be way too late for him to help the Mets in any way.  Stephen Strasburg is out or the season and Bryce Harper will be in the minors all year.  All the National fans have to look forward to is how badly management overpaid WWE wrestler Edge, I mean Jayson Werth.

NL CENTRAL

Cincinnati Reds (2)

Milwaukee Brewers (3)

St. Louis Cardinals (9)

Chicago Cubs (10)

Pittsburgh Pirates (13)

Houston Astros  (16)

Over the past year I have become somewhat of a closet Reds fan.  I love Drew Stubbs (UT grad) and Brandon Phillips (from my days of being a batboy with Pawsox).  I love Bronson Arroyo because of his ties to the Sox.  And oh by the way, they have the reigning NL MVP in Joey Votto.  The Brewers are another young and very talented team.  They are an exciting squad because of their home-grown talent with Weeks, Fielder, and Braun.  Also Corey Hart and Casey McGehee are very underrated.  They also scooped up Shaun Marcum who was making his living facing the Rays, Sox, and Yanks last year and still putting up solid numbers.  Take this into consideration: His Blue Jays faced those 3 teams close to 60 times last season.  This season he faces a weaker division. He could be a dark horse Cy Young candidate.  St. Louis losing Adam Wainwright for the season definitely sets them back a few places in the division and subtracts a sure 20 wins from their season. The Cardinals biggest worry this season won’t be winning games, it will be making sure they re-sign Pujols.  The Cubs don’t have much to work with the season.  In fact their only bright spots are their closer (Marmol) and the development of their shortstop (Castro).  Other than that, they will be keeping a close eye on the Pujols situation and will be ready to pounce once he becomes a free agent.  For the Astros, well, at least Hunter Pence is one of the best young players in the game today.  They have too much money tied up in a deteriorating Carlos Lee and Brett Myers is their ace.  The Pirates are right there with the Indians in the battle for the worst team in baseball.  Pirates fans (if there are any) can only hope Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Pedro Alvarez develop at a rapid rate.

NL WEST

Rockies (4)

Dodgers (6)

Giants (7)

Diamondbacks (12)

Padres (15)

The Rockies have two of the best young players in baseball in Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.  Gonzalez has a swing that has to be seen to be believed (think Kid Griffey).  They also benefit from having Ubaldo Jimenez who was lights out last season and another young stud in waiting Jhoulys Chacin.  The Rockies are always great in late August and September.  If they can hold it together in the beginning and middle of the season the NL West is theirs. The Dodgers have all the ingredients to be a playoff team.  Kershaw and Billingsley are a great 1-2 punch and Ethier and Kemp will provide pop in the lineup.  If they can keep it together there is no reason they can’t make the playoffs this season.  Last season the Giants caught lightning in a bottle with Cody Ross.  I do not believe that will happen again.  While they benefit from having one of the better pitching staffs in baseball (Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Baumgarner) their bats are synonymous with swim noodles.  The Diamondbacks will struggle again this year.  They do have a stud in waiting on the mound in Daniel Hudson but this team will not put runs up on the board. The Padres will be just as bad if not worse.  They lost their only guy that could produce when they traded Adrian Gonzalez.  They also start the season with their ace, Mat Latos on the DL.  I honestly think the Padres will average less than 4 runs a game and there is no real reason to watch them this season. That being said, Red Sox fans will be interested to see how Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes, and Anthony Rizzo turn out.

2011 NL Wild Card- Milwaukee Brewers

Phillies over Brewers in 4

Reds over Rockies in 5

Phillies over Reds in 6

World Series – Red Sox over Phillies in 7

NL MVP-  Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

Cy Young- Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

Rookie of the Year- Brandon Belt, (UT Grad) San Francisco Giants

Manager of the Year-  Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies

So there you have it.  Love it? Hate it?  Be sure to let me know in the comments section below.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN ALREADY!

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF



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The Pros and Cons of Ed Cooley

As all of you should know by now, Providence College has hired a new men’s basketball head coach, Ed Cooley.  Cooley, formerly the head coach as Fairfield University, played his high school basketball at Central, and grew up in Providence, RI.  Prior to becoming the head coach at Fairfield, Cooley coached under Al Skinner at the University of Rhode Island and Boston College from 1996-2006.

Even though coach Cooley had a fair amount of success at Fairfield (25-8 in 2010-2011, 92-69 overall), there are both pros and cons to Cooley becoming the head coach at Providence College.

PROS

Basketball Heritage

As I mentioned previously, Cooley played basketball in high school at Central.  Cooley then played for four years at Stonehill College, where he was a captain for three seasons.  To be honest, I have never heard of a player being a captain as a sophomore, so that should say something about Cooley’s leadership ability.  Unlike Keno Davis, Cooley played at a level where he can at least somewhat relate to his players.  That should allow him to better connect with his players and hopefully gain some respect a bit faster.

Rhode Island Roots

Cooley’s Rhode Island roots play in his favor in two ways.  First, recruiting locally should be easier for a coach that grew up and found success in Rhode Island.  Convincing Ricardo Ledo that staying in state to play college ball could be Cooley’s first big move.  Second, Cooley’s Rhode Island roots should help hold him “home” a bit longer than other coaches.  PC has often been regarded as a “stepping stone school.”  Coaches that have big success in Providence often use that as a platform to move on to better jobs.  Being from Rhode Island, Cooley may be more likely to stay at PC if he finds success than other coaches.

Defensive Success

Ed Cooley’s Fairfield team was amongst the best defensive teams in the NCAA last season.  From what I can remember, Fairfield ranked second in the nation in points allowed and held opponents to under 40% shooting on the season.  The Friars biggest Achilles heel for the past few seasons has been their inability to consistently play any sort of defense.  Cooley and his defensive pedigree will hopefully help out PC.  But, it is important to remember that Keno Davis’ Drake team was amongst the best defensive teams in the country before he came to PC.

Passion and Intensity

I have to admit that even though I wasn’t in favor of letting coach Davis go after three seasons, coach Cooley’s press conference after being hired at PC was inspirational.  Cooley’s enthusiasm for coming back home and coaching at Providence makes you believe that he wants to be here for the remainder of his coaching career.  You can tell that Cooley demands his players not only perform on the court, but also in the classroom and in the community.  I can’t help but love that he places a treadmill on the side of the practice court so if players can’t focus on the court than they can focus on the treadmill, that is just priceless.

CONS

Small School Success

As all of us Friar fans know very well, small school success definitely does not always translate to big program success.  I’m not saying that Providence is a huge basketball school, but the Big East is a whole new animal.  Cooley’s ability to find success at Providence will depend on his ability to coach defense, keep his players actually eligible, and recruit very well.

Recruiting Questions

Providence College and coach Cooley recently terminated the contract of Chris Driscoll, the only remaining member of coach Davis’ staff left at PC, and a supposed local recruiting guru.  Driscoll was thought to be primarily responsible for both Gerard Coleman and Ron Giplaye signing with the Friars.  Driscoll’s release leaves major concern on the recruiting front for the Friars.  Cooley stated that he will be looking for a big time recruiter with Big East ties, but those guys don’t grow on trees.  Cooley will evaluate the current recruits that the Friars have committed and make moves from there, so we will just have to see that happens.

The more research that I do, the more I seem to like the hiring of Ed Cooley, but that doesn’t mean that he will have instance success.  I expect the Friars to be a pretty good team next season, considering the immense experience that they have coming back.  Cooley should benefit from all of the time that coach Davis gave to guys like Vincent Council, Kadeem Batts, Bilal Dixon, Gerard Coleman, Duke Mondy, etc.  I’m looking forward to the 2011-2012 season, and I’m excited for what the future holds with Ed Cooley at the helm at PC.

2011 American League Regular Season Preview

With the Celtics and Bruins playoffs still about 3 weeks away, the NCAA tournament winding down, and the weather warming up, it is fair to say that most people are craving Opening Day.  Opening Day is a symbolic of the first day of spring.  With baseball starting up everyone knows cookouts, days at the beach, and beautiful weather is upon us.  For me, baseball is my favorite sport, and with the moves the Red Sox have made in the off-season, you can only imagine what my level of excitement and anticipation is at.

I very much want to blog regularly this season.  I am in a competitive fantasy baseball league for the first time since high school and I feel I will be paying very close attention to the diamond this year.  However, I will make no promises about posting with any consistency because it seems every time I make a promise on here, I break it.  On the bright side I do have time to give you a layout of the 2011 MLB Season.  I will give you my predictions on how the divisions will play out, in parenthesis will be where I rank the team overall in the MLB. I will also predict the major awards.  I will do the National League Preview tomorrow.

AL East

Boston Red Sox (1)

New York Yankees (2)

Toronto Blue Jays (4)

Tampa Bay Rays (10)

Baltimore Orioles (12)

The Red Sox have the most complete roster on paper.  If they are able to avoid the injury bug they should be able to put up over 100 wins.  The Yankees still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball but did not do anything to address their need for starting pitching in the offseason.  Yanks have to hope for CC and Hughes and 3 days of rain. The Blue Jays have the foundation in place to make some noise in the AL East this year.  They have a solid young rotation and a lineup that will put up plenty of runs.  Tampa Bay is in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season.  Joe Maddon will keep the Rays competitive but they don’t have the horses to compete in the AL East.  The Orioles have a manager that will keep his squad motivated but when your pitching is dependent upon Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz, you are in trouble.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins (3)

Chicago White Sox (6)

Detroit Tigers (9)

Kansas City Royals (11)

Cleveland Indians (14)

I have learned over the past 5-6 years to never count out the Minnesota Twins.  They were able to make the playoffs without Justin Morneau last year and that convinced me that Ron Gardenhire knows how to keep his team competitive.  The White Sox added some pop to one of the best 1-9 lineups in the league when they signed Adam Dunn this offseason.  But their pitching is suspect at best. Detroit has a nice 1-2 to head their rotation with Verlander and Scherzer but they will have trouble putting runs on the board with only Miggy and VMart putting any fear into opposing pitchers. Kansas City has some of the best prospects in baseball and have drafted rather well the past 3 seasons.  Maybe this time around the prospects will pan out and do some damage in coming seasons, just not this year.  Watch Major League and stop watching before the team learns that Rachel Phelps assembled the team just so they could move to Miami.  That is how bad the Indians will be this year.

AL West

Oakland Athletics (5)

Los Angeles Angels (7)

Texas Rangers (8)

Seattle Mariners (13)

The Oakland A’s have a solid rotation and an even better bullpen this year that will help them leap-frog the Texas Rangers for division winners. The offense may not put up a ton of runs but the pitching will be good enough to get them to the playoffs. The Angels benefit from having the best manager in baseball in Mike Scioscia. They have a good enough rotation and an ok lineup to make a run at the wild card.  They will falter because their bullpen is terrible. Texas will be hurt by the loss of Cliff Lee as their rotation is now led by CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis.  Adrian Beltre will bolster the lineup but don’t expect him to put up the same numbers he did with the Red Sox a season ago.  The only reasons to talk about the Mariners are Felix Hernandez and Ichiro.  Hernandez won the Cy Young award last season in spite of being on the Mariners.  That is a telling statement about the franchise.

Wild Card: New York Yankees

Red Sox over Athletics in 4

Yankees over Twins in 5

Red Sox over Yankees in ALCS in 6

American League MVP: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

Cy Young: Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox

Manager of the Year: Bob Geren, Oakland Athletics

Rookie of the Year: Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

Love it? Hate it? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Coming tomorrow: My National League Regular Season Preview

I can be followed on Twitter @ Scottientcf




A Rant on a Variety of Issues

In honor of The Rock’s return to the WWE…(Wrestlemania April 3,2011)

Finally, The Scott has come back…to NTCF!!!  So I haven’t written anything in 13 days and the five people who come and read this blog on a regular basis have had withdrawals that rival that of a drug addict.  In my defense, I haven’t really had much to write about over the past two weeks as Gambo informed you in his last post.  To be honest I have no excuse for not chipping in a few thoughts here and there on any number of topics over the past 13 days.  I sincerely apologize for not posting as
regularly as I once did and hope that this drought was only a one time thing.  With that being said I have plenty to rant about.  Be warned this post has no real main idea behind it other than to just flat-out rant.  Where it takes me, I have no clue.

Friars Hire Cooley

Today the Providence College Friars held a press conference introducing Ed Cooley as its next head men’s basketball coach.  In his presser, Cooley vowed to have Providence atop the Big East Conference one day. Lofty words for a team that has reached an all time low.  He also looked his players dead in the eye and told them the treadmill is his best friend in practice.  “If you have trouble focusing in practice, you can focus on the treadmill.”  He also showed good faith in saying that he will by 10 tickets to each game and give them out to students in the Providence Public School system that “do things the right way.”

I think Providence made a good hire here.  I am a bit concerned that there coaching search only had one candidate but Cooley appears to be what the Friars need.  He preaches defense and discipline.  Something Keno Davis knew nothing about.  I expect the fans to return to the Dunk in small doses to see the hometown kid lead the Friars. (Cooley played high school ball at Central High School).  In my eyes, as long as Cooley keeps his players out of jail, he will be a roaring success.

Pants on the ground…Pants on the ground

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has been banned from the North Park Center Mall for sagging his pants a bit too much.  Bryant has been banned from the mall for 90 days along with a criminal no trespass order in effect.  Bryant has apparently had a few dustups at this mall, most notably the time he cut a rather large line in the Apple store, offering to buy a customers items if he let him cut the line.

Gone are the days of the Cowboys being America’s Team.  Do you think Michael Irving would have ever been hassled in the mall at all? Let alone someone telling him that his pants were showing too much crack?  This is an embarrassing story for Dez, but highly entertaining for the rest of the nation.  Speaking of crack…

Taylor Doesn’t Card

Lawrence Taylor has been sentenced to 6 years probation for his involvement with an underage prostitute stemming from an incident May of 2010. When asked about his involvement with said prostitute Taylor did his best Forest Gump impression saying, “It’s the world of prostitution.  You never know what you are going to get. I don’t card them, I don’t ask for a birth certificate. She is a working girl.” If I was to set an over/under on when Taylor will violate his probation, I’d set it at 3.5 years and take the under.

Uncle Thomas Grant Hill?

Ok so Thomas Hill was Grant Hill’s teammate at Duke but I figured I’d try to integrate  (no pun intended) it all together for this story.  A few weeks ago ESPN aired a documentary on The Fab Five from Michigan.  Jalen Rose made headlines by saying he felt like Duke only recruited black players that were Uncle Tom’s.  Uncle Tom is a phrase used to describe someone who is subservient to white people.  Grant Hill took issue with this statement and wrote an eloquent, well thought out response published in the New York Times.

I understand Jalen said these were his thoughts as an 18-year-old kid, not necessarily now.  He felt Duke would only recruit players from good hard-working families.  My question to Jalen is so what? When did it become bad to recruit good upstanding members of society to play for a basketball team offering a scholarship to someone who would actually make good use of it?  I don’t understand and refuse to understand why it is fashionable to not work hard and study. Why is it the cool thing to act hood and rep the streets?  Can’t the streets be “repped” by being an outstanding member of society?   Just remember Jalen, Grant Hill didn’t cause Duke to have any violations or break any rules while he was there.

Maybe I am jaded because of the recent occurences at Providence College where kids, ahem thugs, are being offered full scholarships to get an education and lay the ground work for having a successful life only to see them throw it all away.  Maybe I am jaded because time and time again kids like you, Jalen, coming from a single parent home, have been given an opportunity to have better lifestyle and set your children up for a better life then you had, and then throw it away.  Don’t blame Duke for recruiting people who are deserving of such an honor.  Believe it or not no one is entitled to anything in this world. So don’t blame Grant Hill for being awarded a scholarship to a prestigious university.

Montreal Police Investigate Chara

By now everyone in both the Boston and Montreal markets know about the hit Zdeno Chara laid on Max Pacioretty resulting in a concussion.  Sure, it was an ugly hit.  The argument can be made that Chara intended to ram Pacioretty into the turnbuckle.  But the bottom line is it was a hit, something allowed in hockey, but can also be penalized.  Montreal police looking into Zdeno Chara because of this incident is beyond ridiculous.  Every sport has its own governing body.  Police have no business inserting its will upon a sport.  If they were to do so, every hockey fight should result in an arrest because it is an assault.  Someone being hit by a pitch in baseball could be considered assault with a dangerous weapon.  Don’t get me started on football.

Montreal police getting involved in this instance is totally absurd.  My disdain for the Canadiens has reached its boiling point with this last saga.  I have tolerated their European soccer style of hockey for the past 3 years, I have bit my lip when the booed the American National Anthem, and I even look the other way when their own players deliver dirty hits.  But this incident has gone beyond, as Felger calls it, “Yahooism.”  It may have actually vaulted the Canadiens ahead of the Lakers in my most hated opposing sports team category.

I will not write about the NFL lockout situation because quite frankly there are 3 other sports going on right now and they do a great job of entertaining me.  I am not going to waste my time worrying about billionaires arguing with millionaires over revenue sharing.  “And that’s all I got to say about that.”

I once again apologize for my recent hiatus.  I vow to the five followers of this blog that I will not let it happen again.  Please feel free to comment below and let me know if these issues are burning you up as much as they are with me.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNtcf

A Mad March for New England Sports Fans

So its been a while since we posted a new article here at NTCF and there is a good reason for that. There really has been nothing that New England sports fans can get excited about. It has been a mad March for Boston-area sports teams, and as electrifying as March Madness has been for all sports enthusiasts, there is no Northeast team making us clamor for more right now.

Lets take a quick look at the some of our local teams and why perhaps we should have been more wary of the ides of March.

PC – The Friars finished under .500 yet again with a 15-17 record, and despite having the ninth-highest scorer in program history in Marshon Brooks, PC managed to win just four BIG EAST Conference games. Not even a 52-point game from Brooks, who will get a look from NBA teams in the second round, could save former-bench boss Keno Davis. He was fired last week and now Providence must move quickly to find the next leader of the program.

Fairfield’s Ed Cooley has been the most brought-up name as a potential replacement and now that Bruce Pearl has been fired at Tennessee, his name will surely be batted around. Cooley put up an impressive 25-8 record during the 2010-11 season, but there is no guarantee that he can win at the BIG EAST level. Pearl would definitely require the Friars and AD Bob Driscoll to reach into their pockets, something the University can’t really afford to do. Pearl would also likely only be a stop-gap, as he tries to get his career back on track before moving on to another big-time program.

Speaking of the BIG EAST, after getting 11 teams into the NCAA Tourney, only two remain. Now Villanova closed out their year on a six-game losing streak and Georgetown has not done anything in their last three postseason appearances. St. John’s was without leading rebounder and heart-and-soul player, D.J. Kennedy in a blowout loss to Gonzaga. West Virginia played Kentucky tough, but the losses of De’Saun Butler, Devin Ebanks and Wellington Smith from last year’s Final Four team proved to be too much. Louisville was upset by Morehead State. Yes, once again Louisville was upset by Morehead State. Notre Dame could not buy a basket against FSU last night and bowed out as the first No. 2 seed to fall. Pittsburgh gave their game away to Butler on a ridiculous foul and continued their trend of being Tournament goats. Syracuse let fellow leaguemate Marquette advance after failing to execute in crunchtime and even though Boeheim admitted that this was not his best team, more was expected.

The Conference’s hopes now lie in the hands of Kemba Walker and UConn who knocked off Cincinnati to advance to the Sweet 16. The League NEEDS Calhoun’s boys to get past San Diego State, and probably Duke, just to keep from being crucified in publications across the country.

But PC and the BIG EAST weren’t the only college teams to fail to meet expectations. Boston College just missed out on a NCAA appearance and earned a No. 1 seed in the NIT. Despite having some talent with Reggie Williams and Corey Raji, the Eagles lost in second round to Northwestern. URI, who we rarely mention as is, is still alive in the CBI. I know you are probably asking yourself what the CBI is and because of that, I feel no need to write anything further about URI.

Keeping on the basketball track, the Celtics have been less than inspired as of late. The loss of Perkins has definitely affected mental psyche of the team and they need to figure out how to counteract his loss in the next few weeks leading up to the playoffs. There is also obviously something very wrong with Rajon Rondo. He has not played well at all during the past week and while he and Doc Rivers keep saying there is no injury affecting him, his lines as of late would speak to the contrary. Hopefully Rondo can get himself figured out while the bench continues to learn how to play together. This team needs to hit their stride as they chase the No. 1 seed along with Bulls and Heat, while hopefully entering the playoffs on a high note.

The Bruins have also struggled as of late, coming away with two points in just three of their nine games this month. Now just to be honest, I really don’t follow hockey all out untill the playoffs but the previous stat has me very worried about this team. Hopefully they can just rest Tim Thomas down the stretch through these final 11 games and get to the playoffs in decent shape.

UPDATE: Bruins and most NHL fans just got some good news as the league has announced that cheap-shot artist Matt Cooke will be suspended until the second round of the playoffs.

It’s the offseason for the Patriots and thanks to labor dispute, the biggest news this month has involved Brandon Meriweather being accused of shooting two men in the face and Tom Brady growing a pony-tail and showing he not only does not possess the ability to run on the field, but can not dance to save his life either.

To make things even better for Pats fans, rumors swirled today that head coach Bill Belichick is already going to trade picks – woof. The San Diego Union-Tribune notes Chargers GM A.J. Smith’s “history of partnering with Belichick” in draft-weekend trades, and reports that “the idea (of moving to No. 28) is intriguing” to Smith.

By the way, its also MattyO’s fault that he already did a draft preview for the Patriots and we couldn’t rewrite about that this month. Thanks a lot O’Rourke.

The only glimmer of hope for us despondent Boston sports fans is the Red Sox. We are two weeks away from opening day and with the staff announced, lineup seemingly set and pen shaping up, fans are genuinely getting excited for Opening Day. The only bad part is that it does not come in this month, which means we still have 10 more days of Mad March for New England Sports fans.

But again, after three Patriots titles, two Red Sox World Series rings and Celtics championship banner No. 17 in the past 10 years, should I really be that mad I had to put up with a month of futility? Probably not.

Farewell Keno Davis!

There is absolutely no secret that I have been calling for Keno Davis to either resign or be fired from his position as head coach of the Providence College Men’s Basketball team since last summer.  The Friars haven’t performed well on the court and have been even worse off of it. Many of you will say that I am being too hard on him for what has happened with his players off the court, many of you will say that what happens off the court has no impact on the program and its all about winning ball games, and some of you will agree with me.

Keno Davis has destroyed the once proud Providence College basketball program in what has been a long three years.  In those three years he is 46-50.   19 of those wins came in his first seasons with Tim Welsh’s roster. He was unable to win a game on the road in the Big East this season, the only team in the conference to do so.  His team was responsible for Depaul’s only win.  The Friars were notorious for getting down 20 and having to fight back in the end only to come up short dozens of times over the last three years.

Off the court the Friar basketball team has blatantly embarrassed a school that “encourages the deepest respect for the essential dignity, freedom, and equality of every person.”  It started with Johnnie Lacy and James Still beating up a student because “they felt like beating someone up.”  Well congratulations, you dislocated an innocent student’s frontal lobe. Jamine Peterson was booted from the school after an incident on campus that was rumored to be hosting a party for 15-16 year old’s providing weed, alcohol, and strippers.  I won’t comment on that to heavy because it is rumors but I am sure that President Reverend Brian Shanley wouldn’t be thrilled to hear his dorms were turning into settings for rap music videos.

The problems continued when Kadeem Batts was arrested for disorderly conduct outside a Providence night club.  The charge was dismissed after he did some community service.  During the season, Gerard Coleman was suspended for the UCONN game because he fell asleep during class.  Sadly my take on that was, “Hell at least he went to class.” Later on in the season the star of the team Marshon Brooks was benched to start a game for undisclosed reasons.  The frosting on the cake for Keno? Duke Mondy hasn’t played in the last five games of the season due to whats rumored to be an incident with another female student.  I haven’t even mentioned the Joseph Young and Ricardo Ledo recruiting fiascos.

I honestly think if it hadn’t been for the Mondy incident, Keno would have had one more last chance next season.  Matt, my colleague on this blog, will argue with me until he is blue in the face that the off court problems had nothing to do with Keno.  That these problems were out of his control.  I started to believe him for a time but then the incidents just kept happening.

My earliest memories of PC basketball (live, not the tapes of Pitino and Donovan) were the days of Barnes, Gillen, and then Welsh.  I remember those coaches for coaching Eric Murdock, upsetting Duke and making a run to the elite eight in the tournament, for Ryan Gomes and bringing a top ranked Texas team to the buzzer at the Dunk.  I don’t remember any of these teams making more news off the court than they did on.  Keno has zero control of his program. He turned PC into a school for thugs, hoods, people with no regard for anyone but themselves.  These kids didn’t care that they were getting a full ride.  They didn’t care that more students get rejected than accepted to PC.  They didn’t care that kids who have SAT scores in the 1100’s were getting rejected so they could come in and play basketball.  All they cared about was where they could party and focus on how much they love themselves.

It is expected that come Monday, Keno Davis will no longer be the head basketball coach of the Friars.  Names will be thrown around all spring and summer long as to who will be on the sidelines next season.  Early candidates include Pittsburgh assistant coach Pat Skerry (who may hold out for a bigger job), PC alums Jim Larrnagua (who some say is too old for the job), Ken McDonald (who I wanted three years ago), former URI and BC head coach Al Skinner, and then long shots that I just like to dream about in Rick Pitino and Bobby Knight.

No matter who the PC decides to bring in, that person can not possibly be any worse than Keno Davis.  It is my hope for the program that they can bring in someone who will generate buzz and get the fans of Friartown who soured on the program because of Davis back into the seats of the Dunk.  Once upon a time there was nothing better to do in Rhode Island in the winter, than to go to a Providence Friar basketball game.  I hope those days are coming back with the end of the Davis “error.”

I can be followed on Twitter @Scottientcf  but you already knew that

Big East Tournament Game 1: Marquette 87 – Providence 66

-I’m not sure if any Friar fan, no matter how pessimistic, would have predicted that Marquette would go on a 17-0 run to start the game.  The same bad start that has plagued the Friars all season continued on Tuesday, as Marquette’s early lead proved to be too large for Providence to overcome.

-It’s very telling about how much heart a team has when rumors are flying about your coach possibly being fired, and the team comes out and lays a dud like that.  Some people are trying to tell me that Keno “lost” the team towards the end of the season.  Others are calling for Davis to be fired.  What I think is that Marshon Brooks showed absolutely no heart and gave no effort defensively in Tuesday’s game, and as PC’s senior leader, his attitude was contagious.

-Vincent Council played his best game all season against Marquette.  Council ended the game with 21 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, and only 1 turnover.  More importantly, Council left it all on the court.  When the Friars offense became anemic, Council was there with a three pointer.  When the Friars were gaining some momentum, Council was leading the charge.  When the Friars needed a defensive stop, Council was willing to put in the effort, although PC didn’t play more than two total minutes of defense on the entire night.  Vincent Council has just shown why he is the player that the Friars will build around over the next two seasons.

-Gerard Coleman needs to work relentlessly on his outside shot over the offseason.  Of Coleman’s first four three point attempts, I’m pretty sure only one hit the rim, and that was banked off of the backboard.  Coleman tried his best to step up and provide some offense while Marshon Brooks was struggling, but taking three pointers isn’t Gerard’s game (he was 2-7 on the night from beyond the arc, 4-15 overall).  Coleman is an explosive athlete when he is headed towards the rim, so adding some bulk and improving his ability to finish in traffic are necessities over the summer.

-Kadeem Batts and Bilal Dixon, you both got completely outworked all night.  Boxing out is all about effort, and neither showed any on Tuesday night.  I’m very disappointed in Batts, but I can’t say it wasn’t expected from Dixon.

-Bryce Cotton was arguably PC’s second best player on the court on Tuesday night.  Cotton took over the 6th man role since Duke Mondy was suspended, and has played better than I expected.  Cotton also showed his exceptional athleticism on an alley-opp in the second half.  At 6 feet tall, on a good day, Cotton soared through the air, with his forehead ending up even with the rim.

-Ron Giplaye has absolutely no offensive ability.  Developing at least some interior presence is a must this offseason.  Giplaye’e effort is second to none, but it rarely shows either offensively or defensively.

-Oh Marshon Brooks.  Just as Friar fans were calling for you to be considered for Big East Player of the Year, you give a performance like that.  Marshon seemed uninterested for the entirety of Tuesday’s game.  To be completely honest, the Friars defense effort was one of the worst that I have seen over the last several seasons from any team, and they were lead by Marshon.  The laziness the displayed on defense was unbelievable.  He jogged back on nearly every possession.  After a missed shot, which he threw up plenty, Marshon was either too busy pouting about not making the shot or about a foul not being called.  I appreciate what Marshon did for this Friars team for the majority of the season, but I truly believe that next season they will be better off without him.  I used to this Charlie Burch was my personal most hated Friar ever, but Marshon just put himself in the argument.

-Much speculation has been made, as mentioned earlier, that Keno Davis and PC are considering a buyout.  As most of you know, I’m a huge Keno Davis advocate.  I admit, PC’s performance on Tuesday, combined with their recent lack of success and several off of the court issues, aren’t good things for coach Davis to have on his resume, but you’ve got to at least give the man a chance.  I will repeat for the 28th time, Keno Davis’ first recruiting class are currently sophomores.  They have 11 freshmen on their team.  Were we really expecting immediate success when coach Davis got hired?  I was aware that PC needed to be rebuilt after the debacle Tim Welsh assembled, was everyone else not?  You need to give a new coach five seasons before you make a change.  Give him a chance to coach HIS guys as SENIORS.  That being said, I will make no further comment about this matter until an official report surfaces.

-To all of you supposed Friar fans out there, make a decision.  Don’t hate on PC, and then call yourself a fan when they beat a ranked opponent.  Don’t bash Keno Davis and then praise him when PC plays well or when he snags a good recruit.  Don’t not follow your team when they struggle but then become a “faithful” when they start winning games.  If you don’t want be a Friar fan, that’s fine with me, get off of the damn ship, but don’t you dare try to jump back on when they start winning games, you aren’t wanted.