DePaul @ Providence: A Must Win for the Friars
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Location: Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, RI
Time: 2:00 PM
Media: Fox Sports 1/WEEI 103.7 FM
It hasn't even been two weeks since these two teams last met but a lot has happened in that small window of time - much of which is negative. Following their February 1st matchup in Chicago, Providence has lost three straight games and DePaul remains winless since mid-January. The Friars' current losing streak has brought them from the upper quarter of the Big East standings back down to the middle of the pack and DePaul's has them sitting just a half game above Butler for last place. While both teams are in dire need of a W, DePaul will enter what will likely be a sold out Dunkin' Donuts Center as PC celebrates Alumni Weekend.
Despite the fact that DePaul is typically one of the Big East's weakest schools, the Friars have not defeated the Blue Demons at home since 2009. That will need to change if PC would like to remain in the NCAA Tournament conversation. Bryce Cotton has been playing as well as ever, scoring 31 points in PC's most recent loss to Georgetown, but it is the supporting cast that could use a confidence boost. Perhaps there is no better team to regain that confidence against, than DePaul. Look for Josh Fortune to bounce back after his worst shooting game of the season on Monday night (2-14), and for Kadeem Batts to have his way in the paint against Tommy Hamilton.
As DePaul looks to end their seven game losing streak, they will be without leading scorer, Cleveland Melvin, as his decision to leave the program was announced this week. With the departure of Melvin, who last played on January 20th, DePaul loses 23% of their total offense which certainly hurts a Blue Demons team that has only averaged 67.7 points per game this season.
Two players that Ed Cooley and the Friars must now key on, are DePaul senior guard Brandon Young and freshman R.J. Curington. In their last meeting, Curington went off, scoring a career high 22 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. Slowing those two down will be a definite, if the Friars want to come away with the victory.
Getting back to the NCAA Tournament conversation... in Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology, he kept the Friars in the field as a 12 seed but a loss tomorrow will essentially end PC's hopes for making the 'Big Dance'. So for all intensive purposes, tomorrow's contest is a must win for the Friars.