I had said five days ago that I would post on here if the State of Friar basketball had become a dire problem. Well, the Friars downward spiral today has continued this negative trend in which the Friars have struggled down the stretch in the second half, a trend that has existed since Game 1 this season. I’ve just got some quick points, take of it what you want.
1. This is going to be one of the rare occasions where I am going to say some examples of poor officiating may have cost the Friars a chance at winning. Now, the reason I usually dont blame officiating is because teams usually have a chance to overcome the officiating. However, in a close game, there might be a call or two that you look back on and say that might have changed a game. The one call that stuck in my mind is a “inadvertant whistle” that occured in the middle of the first half. The Friars had the ball, Bilal Dixon makes a nice pass to the cutter for a layup, but because of an inadvertent whistle the play gets overturned. The Friars get the ball back, but turn the ball over for two Marquette points. Momentum swing? Not quite, but that poor excuse of officiating truly did cost the Friars two points and gave Marquette two points. Do the quick math … PC 81, Marquette 80. I’m not saying the game turns out that way, but those two points could have been huge throughout the course of the second half.
2. What defense? The Providence defense again proved terrible, as the penetration and kick-out destroyed the Friars in the second half. Defensive rotation was slow, as our man-to-man defense clearly is not our staple defense against an athletic team. However, instead of letting the penetrator into the heart of the defense to go 1 on 1 with a big man which Marquette struggled with, the wing players would always collapse leaving the best 3 point shooting team in the country wide open looks.
3. This team is not clutch. After a truly impressive run to cut the Marquette lead to 1, Marshon Brooks, who does nothing all game, decides to put the team on his shoulders and clank a layup into the rim. However, the Friars make a big stop on defense, only to forget about rebounding. And again out of a timeout with a chance to tie, Keno Davis comes up with a lackluster play and the Friars are forced into a terrible last-second attempt, similar to BC, or even URI to some extent.
4. Bilal Dixon is a 6th man, period. The lack of a dominant offensive post presence is still evident. Dixon had a good game, but he is not a dominant post presence that will single-handedly win you games. The Friars desperately need a 6-11 shot blocker with a sweet baby hook. Bilal Dixon would make a great 6th man to clean the boards, but he is just way to undersized for the Big East, as evidenced by the game against Syracuse.
5. I thought we had depth? 4 Friar players played over 30 minutes. I thought we were supposed to have 11 players who could play and make an impact. The lack of talent on our roster is still evident. We lack a fearless shooter, a shutdown defender, and a team with heart. We really need another shooter. Sharaud Curry only one doing damage from outside. Everyone else inconsistent. You cant win like that.
This was a must-win game for NIT hopes to stay alive. The Friars at 12-11 have 4 out of 5 against ranked teams, although three of those are at the Dunk. However, if you cant beat Marquette or South Florida at the Dunk, how can you expect to beat West Virginia and Syracuse. Anything is possible, but this is just highly unlikely. The disappointment continues to kill me inside.