Big East Game 10: Providence 55 – Villanova 52

-Big win for the Friars.  They completed the season sweep against Villanova, the same team that had just beat #5 Louisville and #3 Syracuse in the same week.  I’m not sure if this win means more about a turnaround for the Friars or the struggles of Villanova.  Either way, a win is a win.

-So word in the twitterverse (courtesy of Scottie) is that Sidiki Johnson has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the Friars.  I can’t figure this one out.  Sidiki was coming off of his best game of the season against Marquette, recorded a DNP against UConn, and then left the team.  Cooley didn’t address the Johnson situation specifically, but stated this after the Villanova game, “We’re just trying to find guys to buy into what we’re trying to do. If everybody is on the same page, you can have success,” he said. “If there are guys who are not on the boat, they can go swim in another one. I want guys who’ll swim with me on my boat and those guys who do are with me today.”  That sounds to me like Mr. Johnson, Harlem’s favorite big man, has jumped off the boat…

-I loved Johnson’s energy and fight on the court.  He wasn’t the smoothest guy out there, but he battled.  That’s more than you can say for every big man the Friars have had since John Kale roamed the middle.  I really hope Sidiki’s days as a Friar aren’t numbered, but it isn’t looking good.

-With that being said, Coach Cooley will not stray from his plan (unlike Keno Davis and Tim Welsch).  If guys don’t buy in, he gets them out.  That is a great precident to set when rebuilding a program, but I hate to see talent walk out the door.

-If the Johnson news wasn’t bad enough, Ricky Ledo is considering going pro after this season.  If Ledo makes that choice all I can say is, “Good Luck!”  I’m not sure how much of a market there is out there for 19 year old kids that haven’t played competitive basketball in nearly a year.  Hopefully God Shammgod gets in Ledo’s ear and convinces him to avoid the mistakes that he made when he left for the league a little early.

-I was in class during various portions of the game, so my ability to comment is slightly hindered.  I will do my best.

-Kris Dunn continue to struggle shooting the ball, and yet continues to find subsequent ways to contribute.  His stat line: 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover.  Dunn needs to continue being aggressive in terms of getting to the rim and the free throw line (he shot 0 free throws against Villanova), but he is doing his best to contribute and that is all you can ask.

-Bryce Cotton and Josh Fortune (yes, that Josh Fortune) carried the Friars offensively.  It was nice to see Cooley’s dream of having two sharp shooters fulfilled when both Cotton and Fortune were stroking it from three.  If those guys stay hot (particularly Fortune), the Friars offense will be troublesome for every defense they face.

-Bryce Cotton for the win…YES!  Ice Cotton living up to his name.  Kid is fearless.

-Henton’s scoreline: 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls.  Can we trade Henton for Sidiki?  I’ll do it in a heartbeat.

-Lee Goldsbrough outscored and had the same number of rebounds as Kadeem Batts.  Simply unacceptable for Batts.

-The Friars need to gain some momentum tonight against Cincinatti.  I see this game as a very pivotal matchup for the Friars.  With a win tonight, PC improved to 4-7 in the Big East, they would be 11th in the Big East, one game out of 10th place.  They have a winnable game coming up next against USF.  There is a chance that the Friars could work their way up to the middle of the pack in the league, a place they haven’t been in a while.  As the season comes to a close, seeding in the Big East Tournament always moves to the front of our mind.  We need wins!  With a loss tonight, the Friars are withering into Big East oblivion once again.

-I can picture this nightmare right now.  PC gets matched up with Villanova in the first round of the Big East tourney.  No shot we can string together 3 wins against the same team.  Seems like this stuff happens every year to the Friars.  You heard it here first people!

-NEXT GAME: Wednesday, February 6th vs. #17 Cincinnati, 7pm (ESPN3)


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