Big East Game 14: #8 Syracuse 84 – Providence 59

-Coach Cooley’s comments following the blowout loss to Syracuse, “That’s as bad as we’ve played all year. When we played bad before, we were in the game. We were listless today. We looked sluggish.”  I can’t agree more coach.

-On a night where Vincent Council became the all-time assists leader in Big East play, the Friars got exposed for their lack of depth, lack of size, and inferior talent in comparison to Syracuse.

-Syracuse goes, 6’6″, 6’4″, 6’8″, 6’8″, 6’9″ and 6’8″ with Southerland off of the bench.  Providence goes 6’2″, 6’0″, 6’3″, 6’6″, 6’8″ and 6’5″ with Fortune off of the bench.  When Syracuse is on point, both offensively and defensively, PC simply doesn’t have the size to compete.  There were several instances when 6’8″ CJ Fair was posting 6’2″ Vincent Council up on the post.  That is the mismatch of a lifetime.  Batts was bothered by their size, Henton was bothered by their size, Cotton was as well.

-I thought that last night was one of Kris Dunn’s worst games over the past several.  He picked up a quick foul early on in the first half when trying to crowd Michael Carter-Williams, and he didn’t seem the same after that.  His offense continues to be lacking, as Kris seems to be a little tentative to shoot and unable to find rhythm.  Dunn didn’t fill the stat line like he normally does.

-Bryce Cotton was off, and when Bryce is off PC has little chance of winning.

-Vincent Council played arguably his best game of the season.  He was pushing that basketball, finding the open lanes, penetrating the defense, and working to get everyone else the best shots possible.  Sadly for Vince, many of his great passes went unrewarded as his teammates weren’t able to convert on a consistent basis.  Council still managed to rack up 7 assists, however he probably should have had more like 11 or 12.  Vin tried to will the Friars to a win, he just couldn’t do it alone.

-LaDontae battled, he was just overmatched.  That is the most aggressive I’ve seen Henton in a long time, which was nice to see.  Sadly, LaDontae just couldn’t compete with Syracuse’s size down low.

-Kadeem battled, he also was overmatched.  Several times he settled for fade-away jumpers from the free-throw line.  That’s not Kadeems game.  He is a good mid-range shooter…when left open.  Kadeem tried to drive the ball to the rim a few times, usually leading to a blocked or wild shot and quick Syracuse buckets.

-Seeing Michael Carter-Williams slice through the Friars defense like a hot knife through butter makes you cringe at previous PC coaching staffs.  He is the exact reason why PC can’t let local talent get away.  Carter-Williams is a St. Andrews product.  I know, we can’t get all of the local talent (i.e. Nerlens Noel), but I think developing consistency in terms of being in the running for all of the local talent, and signing a percentage of them, is a necessity.  Joey Mazzulla, Carter-Williams, Noel, Erik Murphy…the list goes on and on with local guys that PC missed and had success elsewhere.

-I’ve begun to hate James Southerland over the last 12 hours.  Showboating up and down the court.  Talking shit to Council every time down the floor.  Smiling in Henton’s face every time PC was on offense.  I know, maybe I’m being a bit sensitive because my team just got smoked.  I’m just not a huge fan of guys boasting and looking for attention when they are blowing someone out of the water.  You’re a member of the #8 team in the country.  You’re playing Providence College, 11th place in the Big East.  You’re supposed to win this game, and probably by a lot.  Act like you’ve been there before.  Southerland, you suck.

-In my opinion, one problem with the Friars is that no one on the court identifies that this stuff happens and acts on it.  I remember the days when Jon Kale and Geoff McDermott roamed the middle.  If shit like Southerland pulled went down, Kale is letting him know that it’s not going to fly as long as he’s in the paint.  We need some of that enforcer-like mentality.  Come on Kadeem, you’re 250 pounds.  Throw that weight around a bit.  Get a little chip on your shoulder.  Get mean!

-The Friars are now 6-8 in Big East play (14-12 overall) with 4 games remaining (@ Rutgers, vs. SJU, vs. Seton Hall, @ UConn).  In hopes of going .500 in Big East play, PC needs to go 3-1 over those next 4 games.  Coach Cooley and his staff need to get this team to erase the Syracuse game from their mind, get some swagger back, and work towards making a run at post-season play.

-NEXT GAME: Saturday, February 23rd @ Rutgers, 9pm (ESPN U)

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