Thank You Evan Turner! Welcome to Tankapalooza Part 2

Last night, Evan Turner beat the buzzer in traffic with less than a second left to beat the Boston Celtics 95-94.  Under jpegnormal circumstances, I’d view this as a crushing defeat.  But with the way the NBA is set up, the Celtics thrived in their biggest game of the season.  They took the Philadelphia 76ers down to the wire and lost the game.  As a true Celtics fan, it was the absolute best outcome one could ask for.  Going into last night’s game, the Celtics were a half game better than the 76ers in the standings.  Losing to the Sixers put the Celtics in better position to acquire more ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.  The Celtics now have the third best chance to acquire the #1 pick in the 2014 draft.  The other caveat in losing to the Sixers, is the potential of getting their 2014 1st round pick.  Every Celtic fan should be rooting for the Sixers to win as many games as possible.  If the Sixers make the playoffs, the Celtics will have three first round picks.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the players available for the Celtics should they land a top 5 pick.  In this installment of “Welcome to Tankapalooza” I will look at the potential players available with the pick the Celtics acquired from Brooklyn in the Pierce-Garnett deal.  I will also throw a trade idea out there I read about from Adrian Wojnarowski.  My post from earlier in the week can be found here:

If the season ended today, the Celtics would have the 20th pick of the first round from Brooklyn.  Brooklyn has recovered from their woeful start of the season and have won 8 of their last 10.  There is reason to believe they have “figured it out.”  I believe the Celtics will be picking between 20-25.  Here are three guys who may be available around that time in the draft I’d be interested in.

Willie Cauley-Stein  7.6 PPG  6.8 RPG 3.2 BPG031513_UK_Vandy_0203-1

Cauley-Stein patrols the paint for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  As you can see by his 3.2 blocks per game, he does a terrific job of protecting the rim.  Cauley-Stein is 7’0  244 pounds.  His offense lacks polish, but make no mistake about it, Cauley-Stein will be a terrific defender for the Celtics.  I believe he can fill the enforcer role left vacant with the departures of Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett.  The added bonus Cauley-Stein brings to the table is his ability to run the floor like a gazelle.  Surely, Rondo is salivating at the idea of having a fellow Wildcat on the Celtics roster that possesses the skills of Cauley-Stein.

Aaron Gordon  12.0 PPG  7.9 RPG  1.5 APG

Gordon is a 6’9 freshman from the University of Arizona.  Like Cauley-Stein, he runs the court extremely well and is an absolute freak of an athlete.  Much like Cauley-Stein his offensive skill set is not much to write home about.  He gets the majority of his points by running on the fast break and catching alley-oops.  Much like Cauley Stein, he would be a great running mate for Rondo.  Gordon is far from a finished product and Celtics fans would have to be patient with his development.  But the tools are there.

James Young  14.7 PPG  4.5 RPG 2.0 APG

Young is a 6’6 shooting guard/ small forward out of Kentucky.  I watched him light up Providence in the beginning of the season for 18 points, shooting 3 of 4 from long-range.  Young has the ability to get red-hot as evidenced by some of his point totals this season: 26, 21, 26, 23, and 23.  He is only shooting 33% from three however.  Regardless, I believe James Young will blossom into a solid NBA player.  I would love to see him do so wearing Celtic Green.

Earlier in this post I mentioned a rumored trade that I believe would net Danny Ainge the Executive of the Year jeff-green-dunkAward in the NBA.  The Phoenix Suns have 6 first round picks in the next 2 drafts.  They are currently 6th in the Western Conference.  The Suns could use a wing player to compliment Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (when he returns from injury).  Enter Jeff Green.  Green would fit the bill perfectly for the Suns.  He is a role player would have the ability to break out from time to time.  There is also an outside chance the Suns would be willing to take on Gerald Wallace also.  Phoenix would give up 1 of their 2014 first round picks and Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract.  If that were to happen, the Celtics would open up a ton of room under the salary cap allowing them to make a run at big name free agents this summer.

So there it is.  The recipe to get the Celtics back into title contention.  Open up cap room and acquire draft picks.  With a little help from Phoenix and Philadelphia, Celtics fans may only have to root against their team just this season.  The Celtics have the chance to be quite good for quite some time.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Goodbye Past; Hello Future: Welcome to Tankapalooza! Part 1

Fresh off of one of the most emotional nights I’ve ever witnessed as a Celtics fan, I think it is a good time to take a look at the imagescurrent state of the franchise.  Last night gave me a bit of closure realizing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Boston Celtics.  I fully admit tears were shed seeing Paul pierce’s video tribute at the end of the first quarter.  Pierce was drafted when I was 13 years old.  He carried the franchise for those 15 years he wore Green.  He was given some assistance in 2007 and finally got his much deserved championship ring.

Now, the Celtics organization is trying to avoid another long championship draught.  In order to be good in the NBA, your team has to be horrendous for at least one year.    Danny Ainge is well aware of this.  He traded Pierce, Garnett, and Jason Terry for 3 first round draft picks, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.  Only Humphries remains on the active roster.  Ainge also traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a first round pick.  In the middle of the season, Ainge traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks for draft picks.  Ainge traded Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless to create cap space.  The previous paragraph can be summed up in three words: Welcome to Tankapalooza!

The Celtics have 2 guaranteed first round picks in the 2014 draft.  If the 76ers manage to make the playoffs, the Celtics will get their first round pick, too.  The Celtics have their own first round pick which very well could land in the top 5.  They then have the Brooklyn Nets pick from the KG/Pierce trade.  At the time of this writing that pick is in the range of 15-18.  By the end of the season, I believe the pick would be around 20th overall.  I do not expect the 76ers to make the playoffs.  If they do, they will surely be the 8 seed in the East meaning the Celtics would have the 15th pick overall.

The Celtics are likely to have a top 5 pick in this draft.  With that pick, the Celtics are looking at names like Parker, Wiggins, imagesEmbiid, Smart, and Randle.  The Celtics plan going forward appears to be building a team around Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger.  If that is the mindset, they are in need of a shooting guard, small forward, and center.  The Celtics should concentrate on Jabari Parker as their prime target in the upcoming draft.  Obviously if he is selected ahead of where the Celtics pick, they will need some sort of contingency plan.  Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are not bad fall back options.  The Celtics do not need Marcus Smart or Julius Randle because they already have Rondo and Sullinger.

Here is a look at the top 5 prospects in the draft:

Jabari Parker  18.7 PPG    8.0  RPG  1.4 APG

I think Parker is the best all around player in this year’s draft pool.  Yes, I am assuming he is coming out of college after his freshman year despite numerous reports he wants to stay at Duke for 1 more year so he can play with Jahlil Okafor. Parker is 6’8 235 and compares favorably to Carmelo Anthony.  My dream scenario involves Rondo, Sullinger, and Parker.  In the games I have seen this season, Parker has exhibited an ability to get the rim at will.  He has a pure jump shot.  He is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from deep.

Andrew Wiggins 15.8 PPG  6.0 RPG  1.6 APGuntitled

Wiggins has been criticized all season for not being flashy or putting up eye-popping numbers.  These criticisms are unfair because of the expectations Wiggins faced coming into the season.  I will admit Wiggins has shown a propensity for disappearing in some games.  But at the end of the day Wiggins’s talent is undeniable.  He has had a few games where his stats jump off the score sheet.  He had 26 and 11 against #19 Florida, 17 and 19 against #8 Iowa State, and most recently 27, 5 and 5 against TCU.

Joel Embiid  11.2 PPG  7.4 RPG  2.8 BPG

Embiid has skyrocketed up the expert’s mock draft lists.  The 7’0 250 pound center from Cameroon is a raw talent. Most scouts will tell you, one can not be taught size.  Embiid is a big body who does a great job of protecting the rim and cleaning the glass.  He has a tendency of getting into foul trouble, but as he learns the game, that deficiency should go away. Embiid is a raw project who won’t necessarily help an NBA team right away, but could be a productive center for 10-15 years when his career is done.  He is 3rd on my most wanted list for the Celtics.  While I don’t hate the idea of Rondo, Sullinger, and Embiid I don’t like the lack of offense this lineup presents.

In my next post, I will look at the Celtics trade options with their current roster, their potential picks with their 2nd pick of the first round, and free agency.


I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Mattyoshow’s PC Friars Mumbles – 1.26.14 Edition

I’m stealing a little bit of Scottie’s style here.  Actually, I’m completely jacking one of Scottie’s classic posts.  I have a lot of thoughts on what’s been going on in Friartown lately, but don’t really have time to review every single game like I did in my younger years.  Therefore, when the thoughts start piling up and I get some free time, I’m going to throw out some Friars mumbles to clear my mind.  Let’s do it…

-I’ve been seeing a lot of negative stuff on social media over the past several weeks about Ed Cooley, stemming from the Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock suspension.  Some people were even going back to last year and throwing Ricky Ledo into the mix.  People were knocking coach Ed Cooley for recruiting these guys that don’t even end up playing for the team.  Let’s get one thing straight here.  Ed Cooley is the best thing that has happened to Providence since Ryan Gomes was leaving his shoes at half court.  Cooley has recruited more talent over the past 3 years than Providence has seen in over a decade.  Providence didn’t rule Ricky Ledo ineligible, the NCAA did.  Ed Cooley’s job is to recruit really good basketball players, give them the tools to succeed as basketball players and as students, and then hope that these kids follow through.  It isn’t Ed Cooley’s job to babysit 24/7.  He holds them accountable. That’s all.  Be happy we can be excited about the recruits that he brings in, because we are a long ways from getting excited about recruits like Alex Kellogg and Brice Kofane.

-The student section at PC absolutely sucks.  How can you not come out to support your team when the coach basically begs you to come watch them play, but then complain that your best player isn’t getting any love from the national media?  It doesn’t make sense.  If you want to be a Friar faithful, and jump on the bandwagon come tournament time, SUPPORT YOUR TEAM ALL SEASON!  I live in Boston and have been to more games than 99% of these scrubs!

-I can’t decide who pisses me off more, Tyler Harris or Josh Fortune.  Combined, their basketball IQ is around 85.  When 100 is the norm, you know there are issues.  Scouting report on Tyler Harris:  Gets the ball and either shoots or drives left.  If you stand in front of him he will run you over and you’ll draw the charge.  If you pressure him, he’ll make a bad pass or take a bad shot.  Scouting report of Josh Fortune: has no idea what he is doing on a basketball court, can get hot from 3, but if he has the ball in his hand he will throw it away 95% of the time.  Watching these guys play is painful.

-Kadeem Batts is a man, and might be a more interesting NBA prospect than Bryce Cotton.

-Bryce Cotton was left off the Wooden Award (best college basketball player) mid-season list.  Do I think that he should have been on there? Yes, absolutely.  Do I care that he was left off?  No, absolutely not.  I don’t care if Bryce gets recognized for what he is doing for this team, I just care that we are winning games.

-Side note: when Bryce is our best player in a game, we aren’t nearly as good as when guys like Batts and Henton are getting the job done.

-Kris Dunn deserves a medical hardship waiver for missing nearly the entire season this year and nearly half of the season last year.  For the Friars’ sake, seeing Dunn around for another three years would be much nicer than him leaving in two.

-Ever since the Villanova game, the Friars are doing a much better job of moving the ball offensively.  I think that is a huge key to the team’s success.  When they go big (Batts and Desrosiers down low), they have a size advantage over nearly every team in the Big East.  They need to exploit that advantage.  Working the inside out game is much more effective for the Friars than passing it around the three point line until something opens up.

-Speaking of Desrosiers, is it just me or does it seem like

he doesn’t get enough consistent playing time.  I don’t get it.  Why is Cooley throwing Desrosiers in there for like 3 minutes at a time and then pulling him for Goldsbrough, or putting Batts back in?  Leave the big man in there and let him get in a rhythm.  If we want Carson to be a more consistent offensive player, he needs to actually play!

-Every good basketball team needs a Ted Bancroft.

-Every good basketball team needs to rid themselves of useless big men (Goldsbrough and Kofane).

That is all for this edition of the Friars mumbles.  Stay tuned for more in the future!

Brother to Brother: Episode 3

In this edition of Brother to Brother, I present the topics, and Big Bro responds.  My comments will be in regular font.  Steve’s will be in italics.  Please note: My comments were made January 21.  Steve took some time responding.  His comments were made January 23.

In this edition we talk about the Patriots season, top 10 Friars we have seen play, Jeff Green, and various other topics!

1) The Patriots have no reason to be upset with the season they had.  They lost to the better team on Sunday.  To be honest, I expected them to get walloped to the tune of 42-24 or so.  I still believe the Patriots can make another run next year because there is no clear cut team in the AFC ready to make the next step.  Keep in mind the Pats will be healthy coming into next season.  All in all you might be able to say the Pats overachieved this season.  Still hurts to lose to Peyton though.untitled

Pats –  Great season.  Something very difficult for NE fans to keep in perspective.  The Pats have been to the AFC Championship 8 times and 6 Super Bowls in the last 20 years, plus amazing winning percentage.  Pats fans are spoiled because of all the success.  Think of the following teams:  Browns, Bills, Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, Bucs, Redskins, .  Cowboys have not won a playoff game in 20 years.  Think about that.  They had a great season and the future looks bright.  You could make the argument that their off-season acquisitions will be the return of injured players (Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Mayo, Talib, 3 rookie receivers, full season of Vereen, Gronk, Amendola at full health).  I read they were the second youngest team in the NFL.  Health was the biggest factor for them.  I also saw that Amendola should have been on season ending IR in Oct, maybe people will give him a break, he must be tough.

2) Everyone is bashing Richard Sherman.  You know I like to stick up for the guy everyone hates.  Let’s be honest, his cough adrenaline cough was flying high after the biggest play of the season to send his team to the Super Bowl.  You interview him 10-15 minutes after that play on the field?  He is still emotional.  Everyone knows his history.  Of course that outburst was going to happen.  He was jacked up.  And I have no problem with it.  I like seeing emotion a lot more than the usual “yes man” athlete.  I thought it was fantastic to see the unadulterated emotion.

 Sherman – Ehhh, an example of a non-story becoming a story.  Wow, an NFL player talked trash, gee I never saw such a thing.

3)Eddie Cooley has the Friars at “first 4 out” in the latest Bracketology.  Amazing he has the team this competitive with the adversity the team has faced this season.  He is basically playing 6 guys.  Bryce Cotton has played 50 minutes twice this season.  Cooley has said he will come out of the game when he graduates.  Cotton has crept into the 10 top Friars I have ever seen.  I know my list will vary greatly from yours but here it is.  1) Eric Murdock 2) Austin Croshere 3) Eric Williams 4) Ryan Gomes 5) Michael Smith 6) John Linehan 7) Bryce Cotton 8) Dickey Simpkins 9) MarShon Brooks 10) Jamel Thomas.untitled

Friars – In no particular order – Billy Donovan, Eric Murdock, Soup Campbell, Otis Thorpe, Eric Williams, Ryan Gomes, Austin Croshere, Ron Jackson, Joe Hassett, Michael Smith.  Ask Dad if he remembers Ron Jackson.  They very best were before my time:  Ernie D, Marvin Barnes and Jimmy Walker.  Special note to Marty Conlon, became a solid NBA player, but no one saw that coming.  And special note to Harold Starks, the greatest energy, defense first guy they ever had.

4) The Longhorns had a big win over #8 Iowa State the same day PC beat #20 Creighton.  Our squads are looking up?  Frankly, Iowa State is a one and done candidate come March.  I don’t think they get out of the first round.  After PC beat Creighton, Creighton turned around and smacked #4 Villanova by 30.  Too bad the transitive property doesn’t pertain to college basketball. Keep in mind Nova smashed PC by 30.

Longhorns & Barnes – Crazy program.  It is obviously a football school, but he has built a great basketball program.  The team is 2-3 recruits away from being very, very good.  Problem is when they get the talent, they are not around long.  But something to think about, here is a list and again in no particular order of the guys UT/Barnes has placed in the NBA.  TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Jordan Hamilton, Dexter Pittman, Royal Ivey, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Chris Mihm.

5) It is time to explore trade options for Jeff Green.  The Celtics are in a complete rebuild mode.  Green is a fringe player.  He has shown signs of being a top dog in the NBA, other times he completely disappears.  I don’t see him as a guy that can lead a team anywhere.  Remember the old line Bobby Knight used referring to Steve Alford?  That applies to Green.  The Celtics should rebuild around Rondo and Sullinger.  I compare Sullinger to Charles Barkley.  Both are undersized power forwards, who have a knack for cleaning the glass.  Sullinger is trying to develop some range similar to Kevin Love.  As long as his back holds up, Sullinger can be a great guy to build around.  Remember he was supposed to be a #1 overall pick after his freshman year but he stayed in school.  Time to trade Green for a first round pick somewhere.untitled

Jeff Green – Dropped 39 last night.  I still go back to my comments last year during the playoffs.  This is a guy who has been Option #3 for most of his career. He is an outstanding athlete, but does not have the instinct for selfish play and may not be a natural leader.  That is not a bad thing, when you think of the alternative, which is someone who wants to lead but can’t or sends the wrong message.  Also, you cannot have a locker room full of so-called self-appointed leaders, then you have nothing, sometimes having no drama guys who follow is a great thing to have.  Ainge actually did a good job with him from a contract standpoint.  He did not overpay.  I would rather have Green and his contract than Wallace and his contract.

6) Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus in the region will be the Bruins.  The Bruins are in second in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Pittsburgh.  They could be in trouble come playoff time because they lost Dennis Seidenberg for the season to an ACL injury.  The defensive pairing of Chara and Seidenberg has completely shut down high-flying offenses in years past.  Seidenberg might be the most underrated athlete in Boston.

Bruins – I have to do a better job following hockey.  My lack of hockey knowledge is apparent.

7)The Olympic break is one of the more interesting conundrums in sports.  Hockey owners must hate sending their best players to Sochi.  The beauty of the Olympic hockey is hockey players are a different breed. Cam Neely said it best when asked why the hockey players compete in the Olympics and do everything they can to win (as opposed to NBA players who coast through these competitions) “because they don’t know any better.”  The Olympics will serve as the true All Star Games fans want to see.

Olympics – Ehhh, used to love it, now it just feels like a pre-cursor to Campbell’s soup commercials and Wheaties boxes for the lucky winner.

8)Not much news on the Red Sox.  I am praying the Mets sign Stephen Drew so Xander and Middlebrooks will not have to look over their shoulder and have their development stunted by Drew.  The Grady Sizemore deal is reminiscent of when the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli.  Low risk/ high reward.  He offers competition for the center field spot with Jackie Bradley Jr.  I can’t honestly say I am expecting anything from him.imagesCAUU54PH

Red Sox –  Grady Sizemore!  Way to go all out Cherrington.  Reminds me of when Sinden ran the Bruins knowing they would always make money so never signed the talent to get to the Cup.  Although, I think the Sox really learned their lesson with Crawford/Gonzo signings.  They saw the burden those contracts might present, the animosity of the fans when they don’t perform.  Boston fans would rather have guys killing themselves to prove themselves, than guys who get  paid a lot to demonstrate apathy with W-L.  Boston fans can handle losing, if they know the players hate losing.  If they think the players are rich guys who could care less, it gets ugly.

Peter Vescey follows me on Twitter and you should too @ScottieNTCF.

2013-2014 NFL Conference Championship Picks: Scottie vs. MattyoShow

I went undefeated last week correctly predicting the outcome of all four divisional playoff games.  My perfect weekend tied me with MattyO for the playoff wins-loss aspect of this challenge.  Matty lost one game incorrectly picking the Panthers to beat the 49ers.  We are both 5-3.  I have 22 confidence points.  Matty has 21 confidence points.  As always, it is a tight matchup.  This weekend we have two close games to choose from.

Scottie’s confidence grows on a weekly basis as I continue to fail to put him away.  This weekend is huge, and I need to go 2 for 2.  My fanship for the Pats will most likely interfere with my brain function while making these picks, but I’m so pumped for this game I can’t help it!  Let’s do it…

Patriots @ Broncos

Scottie: Broncos 8

The weather report for Sunday in Denver calls for temperatures reaching nearly 60 degrees with 0% chance of precipitation.  In other words, ideal weather for Peyton Manning.  Since when does it hit anything above 35 in Denver in the middle of January?  I hate to say it but I believe this weather dooms the Pats.  Peyton can’t choke when there are no elements to deal with.  He is surrounded by too many deadly weapons on offense.  Talib will play Demaryius Thomas, Dennard on Decker, Arrington on Welker, and Collins on Julius Thomas?  Without Brandon Spikes, Knowshon Moreno will gut the Pats up the middle time and time again.  I see no possible way the Patriots can pull this one out in Denver.

On a side note, I want nothing more than for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl this season.  I want Aaron Hernandez to know he was not important to this team.  I do not want him to have the luxury of saying, “If I had of been there…”

Matt: Patriots 8

Scottie says there is no possible way that the Pats can win in Denver.  The weather will be nice, Brandon Spikes is still snowed in, Peyton Manning has had arguably the best season of his career, and so on.  Well, guess what Scottie, the Pats are winning this game!  Tom Brady has as much to prove as Peyton Manning.  The guy hasn’t won a title in 9 years.  His playoff stats since that point are similar to Peyton Manning.  The Broncos can run Moreno all they want.  Heck, he can rush for 300 yards.  That means Peyton Manning isn’t completing passes and the Patriots game plan is being successful.  Tom Brady gets the job done in crunch time, Peyton Manning shits his pants with the game on the line.  DONE DEAL!

49ers @ Seahawks

Scottie: Seahawks 16

Everyone is talking up Kapernick vs. Wilson.  In reality this game is a tale of two hard nosed running backs and two incredible defenses.  The teams are near mirror images of each other.  I never pick against Seattle when they are playing at home.  I will not break that habit now.  Yes, the Niners are the hottest team in football coming into Sunday.  That will not matter on Sunday.  Kaepernick will not be able to solve the Seahawks defense and the crowd will be all over Kaepernick from he player introductions until the time the Seahawks are crowned NFC Champions.

Matt: Seahawks 16

So much is being made of how great the 49ers are.  Guess what, they aren’t that awesome!  In the Wild Card round, they beat up on a Green Bay team that had their starting quarterback playing for the first time in over 2 months.  Last week they took out the Panthers, whom were underprepared and under-talented.  This week, they are matched up with a team that knows what it takes to win playoff games (last week’s game against the Saints was the most physical game I’ve seen all season) and has a HUGE advantage when playing at home.  The 49ers defense will keep it close, but I expect a big mistake from Kaepernick to be the difference in this game.

Friars First Half Recap

The Providence College Friars men’s basketball team has reached the midpoint of their 2013-2014 campaign.  Their record stands at 11-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play.  For what seems to be the norm around Providence, the main stories of the season are what’s going on off the court instead of on.

Top recruit Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock were suspended for the season shortly before the new year for an off campus untitledincident the school has tight-lipped about.  Austin promptly transferred to Oregon joining another ex-Friar top commit  that never played a game for the Friars in Joseph Young.  If Friar fans want a glimpse of what could have been, keep an eye on the Oregon program.   Bullock has stayed at Providence and will likely let the suspension play out and be eligible to play in games next season.

Another of Ed Cooley’s highly touted recruits, Kris Dunn  is also out for the season with a shoulder injury.  Dunn injured his shoulder before the start of his freshman season last year.  He missed 10 games last season.  Dunn played in just four games this season and should be eligible for a medical red-shirt, allowing him to not lose a year of eligibility.  There is concern, however, about Dunn’s status with the school overall because he has not been seen with the team over the winter break.  He has chosen to stay at home in New Haven over the break.  If Dunn had been healthy, I strongly believe the Friars beat UMASS and Seton Hall.  The Kentucky game also would have played a bit differently.

On the court, the Friars have put forth solid effort in every game this season with the exception of the 30 point loss to Villanova.  Coach Cooley has referred to that game as the worst game he has had at Providence.  He will not find an argument from me.  I have been encouraged by the play of the Friars, especially with the realization they are undermanned night in and night out.  Losing three guys in half a season puts a lot of strain on the active roster.

Bryce Cotton is averaging 38.6 minutes a game.  He has played 6 games where has played 40 minutes or more.  He has scored in untitleddouble figures in all but 1 game this season, and put up at least 20 points in 10 games.  He is without question the team MVP.  Kadeem Batts has struggled most of the season.  The 5th year senior seemed to have lost his shooting touch.  He has also been bullied on the defensive end of the floor in a few games this season.  I was encouraged with how he played against Georgetown.  If he can start getting back to the way he was playing his junior season, the Friars season may not be lost after all.

Transfers Tyler Harris and Carson Desroisers have played pivotal roles for the Friars this season.  Harris is a poor man’s Tayshaun Prince with a massive wingspan.  He is averaging 13 points and 5 boards a night.  Harris has become the 2nd option in the offense behind Cotton.  I am excited to see Harris develop as he is only a sophomore.  I expect to see big things from this kid before his career in Providence comes to a close.  Desroisers has been a game changer on the defensive end of the floor.  I can’t remember anyone that protected the rim better than Carson wearing a Friar uniform since Karim Shabazz and Marcus Douthit.  He is averaging nearly 3 blocks a game.

LaDontae Henton has been the unsung hero of this season.  Henton has been a glue guy for Ed Cooley’s Friars.  He will never be untitledmentioned with why the Friars would win a game.  He hasn’t had any outstanding games this season but he goes about his business.  He has improved his rebounding and is getting rebounds in traffic amongst bigger opponents.  He is the team’s leading rebounder.  A year after his three-point shot disappeared, Henton is shooting 43% from deep.

As a season ticket holder, I was disappointed in not seeing Austin, Bullock, and Dunn this season. After seeing Ricky Ledo on the bench in a suit all of last season, I thought this would be the year the Friar Faithful’s patience would be rewarded.  I was wrong.  the familiar mantra of “wait ’til next year” rings true yet again.

Fortunately the guys who have taken the floor night in and night out have been fun to watch.  Saying the team plays hard is an understatement.  Credit Cooley with fielding a competitive team.  These kids will run through a wall for him.  I believe the Friars have a chance of finishing in the top half of the new Big East behind Villanova, Creighton, and Xavier.  A four seed in the Big East would put the Friars squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.  If that were to happen with the amount of adversity the team has faced all year, I would consider 2013-2014 a success.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

2013-2014 NFL Divisional Round Playoff Picks: Scottie vs. MattyOShow

Obviously, I did not do so well last week in my picks.  Once the Chiefs blew a 28 point lead in the third quarter in the first game of the weekend I knew I was in trouble the rest of the weekend.  The highlight of my weekend was picking the Chargers upset, especially because Matty called me “an idiot” last week for doing so.  In hindsight, was that not an obvious pick?  I need to get my stuff together here because Matty has smoked me from the second half of the season on.  Yes, I took home the regular season title but I want more!

Playoff Record

Scottie-  1-3  2 points

Matt- 2-2  3 points

Saints @ Seahawks

Scottie: Seahawks  8

I don’t buy what the Saints are selling.  I was pretty surprised they won last weekend in Philly. But I can confidently say their playoff run ends in Seattle.  The Seattle defense is too good, their crowd is too loud, and they are getting healthy on the offensive end of the ball at the right time.  I will stick with my mantra.  Seattle does not lose at home.

Matt: Seahawks 4

The Seattle Seahawks at home might be the best team in the NFL.  On the road, they aren’t as scary, but at home with that crowd they are nearly unbeatable.  Meanwhile, the Saints on the road are a completely different team, and Drew Brees in the elements rarely gets the job done.

Colts @ Patriots

Scottie: Patriots 2

I do not know why, but this game makes me nervous as a Patriot fan.  The Colts defense isn’t spectacular however they are opportunistic.  Robert Mathis’s strip sack was the game changer last week in their come from behind win over the Chiefs.  If the Colts can clog the middle of the field on defense, the Patriots are in trouble.  LaGarrette Blount will need to carry the load against the Colts, chewing up clock, and keeping Andrew Luck off the field.  I believe Kyle Arrington will garner the TY Hilton assignment because Hilton works primarily out of the slot.  Talib will cover Da’Rick Rodgers or Griff Whalen.  Do not expect Deion Branch to be a factor.  The zombie Patriot fan mindset says the Patriots win because they have Brady and Belichick.  I don’t think it will be that simple.  I am a Patriots fan, so I am picking my team.

Matt: Patriots 8

I’m not sure why I am so confident in this game, but I just feel like there is no way that the Pats are losing this game.  Indy is arguably the most ideal matchup for the Pats, considering they aren’t stout running the ball and have a tough time stopping the run.  Lately, the Pats haven’t been able to stop the run and have been pounding the rock like the Ravens of 2000.  Tom Brady is better than Andrew Luck, for now, and that will show on Saturday night.

49ers @ Panthers

Scottie: 49ers 6

The Panthers were the biggest surprise of the 2013 season.  Their defense has been stingy.  Cam Newton has really developed into what everyone thought he would be coming out of college.  All of that is fantastic.  I just don’t see the inexperienced Panthers taking down a battle tested 49er team.  The Niners have been on this stage before.  The Panthers have not.  The 49er defense will neutralize Cam Newton and the rushing attack will lead the Niners past the Panthers in Carolina.  Do not expect this game to be high scoring as both defenses are rather stout.

Matt: Panthers 2

Everyone is jumping on the 49ers bandwagon, however is it really that impressive to beat a Packers team that had their starting quarterback return for the first time in 2 months by 3 points?  I don’t think so.  Kaepernick is dynamic, but he might be the most overrated quarterback in the NFL.  Meanwhile, while most believe that Sunday’s game will be a coming out party for Cam Newton, I think that this game will be a Luke Kuechly coming out party.

Chargers @ Broncos

Scottie: Broncos 4

Every part of my being wants to pick San Diego in this matchup.  I just can’t pull the trigger.  Beating Denver in the regular season might be the worst thing that could have happened to the Chargers.  I expect the Broncos to still have a bitter taste in their mouth from that loss.  They had last week off to get healthy.  I expect Peyton will come out guns blazing and the Chargers won’t be able to keep up with the high powered Broncos offense.

Matt: Broncos 6

The season series is 1-1.  The Chargers are an 8.5 point under dog.  I put some money down on San Diego covering the spread, however I think that there is little chance that the Broncos lose this game.  Yes, Peyton Manning has lost more 1st time playoff games than any other quarterback in NFL history (8), but he really can’t do that again…can he?