2015-16 Friars' Mens Basketball Thread: Dunn Guns for 3rd-straight NCAA Run

HomeRunBaker

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I wouldn't say that. Offense isn't the Problem in this game. Bentil's injury and complete lack of rebounding and D is an issue.
See my above post about Dunn/Bentil rising up for big games and carrying us. When this doesn't occur the rest of the team isn't good enough to grind through a win. This hurts now in a game like DePaul but we will benefit from being so front loaded in March if things fall right.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Bentil seen walking on campus without crutches or a walking boot so thet is really good news. I don't expect him to play Saturday vs Villanova (my opinion/guess nothing more) and maybe even missing another game or two. Having him at full strength in March is crucial to making a run and I suspect Cooley recognizes that in the big picture these next few games don't really mean a whole lot in comparison where the team is now.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Bentil seen walking on campus without crutches or a walking boot so thet is really good news. I don't expect him to play Saturday vs Villanova (my opinion/guess nothing more) and maybe even missing another game or two. Having him at full strength in March is crucial to making a run and I suspect Cooley recognizes that in the big picture these next few games don't really mean a whole lot in comparison where the team is now.
I agree, but why the hell did he put him out there in the 2nd half? He was useless on offense and cost them like 6 points on D.
 

Mloaf71

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Ugly display of effort today until the stretch run.

Bentil with a real gutty second half performance. Cooley not starting Bentil and then playing him 38 mins is mind numbing. The game was lost in the first 3 mins.

Fazekas hitting some shots again today is a good sign. Hopefully he can help pull defenses out of the paint to let Dunn get back on track.

Hopefully, the ankle is 100% by Wednesday. Going 2-0 this week would be huge to getting back on track.
 

CouchsideSteve

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If you told me before the season started the Friars would be 18-6 at this juncture, including a split with Nova and sweep of Butler, I would have been satisfied. If you then told me Ben Bentil was leading the conference in scoring and emerging as one of the nation's most improved players, I would have been ecstatic. It's hard to categorize the team's performance to date, and the collective development of Bentil, Cartwright and Bullock, as anything but a success.

That said, perhaps the most surprising part of this team's performance has been the play of Kris Dunn. Now it pains me to say anything but praise about Dunn, since his decision to return has made this successful season even possible. He's responsible for so many great memories, and as the school's best NBA prospect in many years (decades? ever?), he's made a tremendous contribution in elevating and shining such a positive light on the program nationally. For all of those reasons, I am grateful as a fan. But the reality is, he hasn't quite lived up to the pre-season accolades that were (deservedly) heaped upon him... at least not yet.

Dunn is one of the most dynamic defenders at the guard position that I can remember in college basketball. On that side of the ball, he's been everything we expected, and then some. He led the Big East in steals per game last year, and has somehow improved that aspect of his game, and is leading the nation this year. Depending on how much stock you put into SportsReference.com's advanced metrics at the collegiate level, he also leads the conference in Defensive Win Shares and is 4th in PER. Crazy good numbers.

Then you look at his offensive contribution, and there is a different side of the coin. Now, of course, the graduation of Henton (plus the loss of Desrosiers and Chukwu occupying bodies inside) have allowed teams to design defenses with the sole objective of neutralizing Dunn. That would impair even the greatest players' efficiency, and it's impressive he maintains a conference-leading assist rate with such a cold-shooting supporting cast. You just can't ignore his lapses in other areas during conference play -- he's constantly forcing bad shots, especially long 2s, and his FG% is an ugly 41% in Big East play (down from 48% last year). The turnovers have ticked up slightly from 4.2 to 4.3 per game, including 7 in an upset loss to Marquette and 6 each in the split with Villanova. Again, I don't take SportsReference.com as gospel, but consider his Offensive Win Shares have dropped from 2.5 to 1.4, while his True Shooting % is down more than 2pp-- despite an improvement in his 3pt shooting. FT also shooting remains a weakness at 64% in-conference and 67% on the year.

These types of stats paint an incomplete picture without proper context, and I would reiterate that I think Dunn has been *great* this season. I'm just not sure he has been All American great so far, and as a consequence, I'm not sure this team is likely to win an NCAA tournament game, unless they find a new offensive rhythm. The highs have been exhilarating, but the lows have been gut wrenching.

Still time to get back on track as others have said, but I'm not sure this team deserves to be ranked tomorrow. The advanced stats from KenPom rate the Friars 50th overall, an abysmal 126th in Adjusted Offense, with the benefit of better than expected luck so far. They're a more respectable 32nd in RPI, but the narrative could shift from "tournament lock" to "on the bubble" awfully quick, which would have been inconceivable 10 days ago.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Dunn's overall offensive numbers have taken a hit recently for a couple reasons.

1. Opposing coaches game playing to stop him by extending a 2-3 or a matchup/trap 2/3 out to 25-30 feet while not worrying about our shooters beating them.

2. You point out that Dunn's Assist numbers are impressive with such a poor shooting supporting cast then turn around and criticize him for forcing shots. Dunn recognizes the team needs offense and is thrown into a high volume shooter out of necessity. This isn't his game especially against a zone defense.

3. It's much easier for conference teams to gameplan defensively for a familiar opponent. Much different in a tournament setting when you have 24-48 hours to prepare along with no history. Familiarity breeds contempt......conference opponents are always going to be a tough matchup for Dunn especially when we don't get offense anywhere else but Bentil.
 

shawnrbu

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Friars fall to 0-10 lifetime at Marquette. This was the closest game in that building that I can remember. Bentil's potential go ahead 3 in the final minute of the first OT was in and out.

Friars are squarely on the bubble and in danger of falling to 8th in the Big East if they lose at the Dunk on Saturday against Georgetown.
 

CouchsideSteve

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This is admittedly a heat of the moment post, but consider: 1) Dunn misses a critical FT with the chance to put PC up 3 with 34s to play; 2) Throws a pass away on the final possession of regulation with the score tied; 2) Turns the ball over with the score tied halfway through the first OT; 3) Proceeds to foul out in OT.

He's been an outstanding player, one of PC's best ever. But this shouldn't keep happening to an All-American caliber player, who is teamed up with another guy who is a slam-dunk 1st team All-Conference nom in Bentil. Way too many unforced errors.

If this is a tournament team, Saturday at home vs. Georgetown is now must-win.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Friars fall to 0-10 lifetime at Marquette. This was the closest game in that building that I can remember. Bentil's potential go ahead 3 in the final minute of the first OT was in and out.

Friars are squarely on the bubble and in danger of falling to 8th in the Big East if they lose at the Dunk on Saturday against Georgetown.
It's easy to get caught up in the emotion of 3 straight losses and 4 out of 5 but our strength of schedule is still very strong along with several high quality wins. Lunardi's updste this morning has us as a 6-seed......we are not on the bubble right now nor close to it.
 

NickEsasky

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This may be the dumbest team I have ever seen. Blow a 26 point lead then foul a guy in the act of shooting a three with a three point lead with 10 seconds left. Stupid d, bad turnovers, no shooters. They are no where near as good as they looked at 14-1
 

HomeRunBaker

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This may be the dumbest team I have ever seen. Blow a 26 point lead then foul a guy in the act of shooting a three with a three point lead with 10 seconds left. Stupid d, bad turnovers, no shooters. They are no where near as good as they looked at 14-1
What are you comparing this team against? Villanova is currently the #1 team in the country and DePaul just beat #5 Xavier. I know I've beat this drum endlessly but the higher the importance of the game the better Dunn and Bentil play as they are frequently the two best players on the floor sometimes by a wide margin. The problems occur when one is in foul trouble or they exhale due to it being a let down game against a bottom feeder or when we have a big lead. It's a two-man team but one that is fully capable of beating anyone in the country.....and has the Wins to confirm this.

The parity is insane this season in college basketball as well.
 

NickEsasky

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I realize there is parity in CBB.However, there is really no way a team should be blowing a 25 point lead at home. And it's the same issues that keep rearing their ugly heads in this games and other they have lost. It's a two man band. Post mono for Fazekas, there are no shooters on this team. They turn the ball over way too much -- especially Dunn, kinda suck at the free throw line, and make dumb fouls. This is still the best PC team since before I attended, but it doesn't mean I can't be frustrated by their recent play.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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This team lives and dies by the three.

Not good when you are 297 in the country percentage wise.

Edit: live and die is a little harsh, but they rely on it way too much, and take way too many dumb ones.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This team lives and dies by the three.

Not good when you are 297 in the country percentage wise.

Edit: live and die is a little harsh, but they rely on it way too much, and take way too many dumb ones.
Combine the college zone with a 30 second shot clock the result is going to be a shit ton of three-point shots. Throw in having Dunn on your team which REQUIRES teams (except Georgetown because JT3 is a stunad) to play zone and that only places more pressure on us hitting 3's.

I'm so disappointed how so many players, pretty much everyone not named Dunn/Bentil, haven't improved since the start of the year and in some cases took a step back. Still believe that these two can win a lot of games in March (and April) which is all that matters.
 

NickEsasky

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You can keep defending them, but this team is now just a couple of slip ups away from not getting in to the tournament at all. Under 500 in conference play and some bad metrics. If they drop out early in the BE tourney they might be on the outside looking in. Lunardi has them as an 11 seed right now.
 

moondog80

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You can keep defending them, but this team is now just a couple of slip ups away from not getting in to the tournament at all. Under 500 in conference play and some bad metrics. If they drop out early in the BE tourney they might be on the outside looking in. Lunardi has them as an 11 seed right now.

They're not under .500. They're 7-7 with an excellent chance of finishing 10-8 or even 11-7. The only difference between now and last Saturday is that they lost by 7 on the road to a top 10 team. And Lunardi has them as an 8 seed.
 

NickEsasky

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They're not under .500. They're 7-7 with an excellent chance of finishing 10-8 or even 11-7. The only difference between now and last Saturday is that they lost by 7 on the road to a top 10 team. And Lunardi has them as an 8 seed.
I understand they aren't currently, which is why I prefaced it saying they are a couple of slip ups from screwing themselves. They can certainly right the ship in the next few weeks. But it's not like they haven't lost to conference teams they should have beaten this year already.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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They're not under .500. They're 7-7 with an excellent chance of finishing 10-8 or even 11-7. The only difference between now and last Saturday is that they lost by 7 on the road to a top 10 team. And Lunardi has them as an 8 seed.
They have 4 games left. They should have lost to Creighton before and now have them at home. Should be a win, but I'm not 100% confident. They really weren't in the Seton Hall, at home. On the road, I bet Seton Hall will be favored. That DePaul game was a travesty, I'll give them that. And a St. Johns game at MSG should be a win, but nothing is guaranteed. If they do go less than 2-2, tho, you are looking at them needing to win more than one or two games in the BE Tournament.

HRB, you have been one of Dunns biggest vocal supporters. Him and Bentil should be the best two players on the floor, but honestly, there haven't been that many games where Dunn is one of the best two. Best talent? Of course. But during the games, no, he hasn't been that this year.
 

HomeRunBaker

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They have 4 games left. They should have lost to Creighton before and now have them at home. Should be a win, but I'm not 100% confident. They really weren't in the Seton Hall, at home. On the road, I bet Seton Hall will be favored. That DePaul game was a travesty, I'll give them that. And a St. Johns game at MSG should be a win, but nothing is guaranteed. If they do go less than 2-2, tho, you are looking at them needing to win more than one or two games in the BE Tournament.

HRB, you have been one of Dunns biggest vocal supporters. Him and Bentil should be the best two players on the floor, but honestly, there haven't been that many games where Dunn is one of the best two. Best talent? Of course. But during the games, no, he hasn't been that this year.
You don't think there has been that many where Dunn has been one of the best two??? Aside from a handful of off games that everyone has virtually the only time he hasn't been the best player often by a wide margin was when Bentil was. The problem is when his teammates shoot the ball so terribly that opponents extend the 2-3 out to beyond the 3-point arc and forcing him to create his own shots. He gets criticized when he shoots 8-21 due to his teammates forcing him to put the team on his back when that isn't even his game.

How does one individual player lead The Big East in Assists, lead it in Steals, and be 2nd in the conference in Scoring (plus Top-20 in Rebounds and Blocked Shots) while getting all attention but not be one of the two best players on the floor most of the time?

Appreciate him the rest of the year. We won't see another one like him at Providence for decades.
 

NickEsasky

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I guess my thinking is that while I see Dunn as an immense talent and great player, I do not see him taking over games as much as he did early on in the season. Perhaps it's because of the college rules and his game will play up better at the NBA level, but I remember Ryan Gomes doing a lot more to really take over games in his heyday carrying a subpar cast to wins than I am seeing from Dunn right now. Just my two cents and people may see things differently and that's ok. But I've gotten to see a lot of games this year and Dunn has underwhelmed me in many of them considering his talent level.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Dunn's elite NBA-ready skills are his defensive skills, being an offensive facilitator particularly in transition for others, and ability to get to his spots on the floor forcing the defense to react (leading to opportunities for teammates). His game isn't about taking over for 40 minutes although we've seen him do so for stretches and at the end of games out of necessity......yet he is being judged this way by so many people who expect him to be a scorer/shooter in iso.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Look, a majority of the times, he is the best player on the court. But he has moments where is is out of control, turns the ball over, takes stupid shots, commits stupid fouls and misses key free throws. The best player in the country should not lose to Marquette (this year) twice and DePaul. The supporting class hasn't done a whole lot, but basketball is the one sport where the best player on the court usually decides the game. If Dunn's erratic play was somehow transformed on a Celtic player this year, you would be pulling your hair out. His talent has not produced the results that they should have. And imagine this team without Bentil? Would they have even 3 wins in the Big East?

This season has had some great moments, but, against the elite of the conference, they went 1-3 and were completely outclasses in all three losses.
 

CouchsideSteve

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I've injected my share of pessimism in this thread, but taking a step back, it's hard to call this season anything less than a success so far... albeit not the resounding, best-in-a-generation run we saw a glimmer of back in December.

Huge game on Thursday at Seton Hall. Win that (I imagine they'll be a slight underdog), they have an inside track to finish third in the Big East regular season standings, all but ensuring a 5-7 seed. Lose Thursday? I still think they're better than a 50/50 bet, expecting to be favored in their final 3 tilts. Get to the tourney, and we've already seen that this group has a high ceiling... even if it's fleeting.

Looking ahead, I'm also much more bullish on next year than most other fans I talk to. For the second straight year, there is a pretty good argument that PC will enter the season with the consensus best player in the league. A starting five of Cartwright, Lomomba, Fazekas, Bullock & Bentil will still be a pretty long, athletic group to keep up with. They need to recruit some size, so hopefully the flirtation with Dajour Dickens comes to fruition. I also think Drew Edwards & Jalen Lindsey can be perfectly cromulent wing depth over the next two years. Net-net, I still expect them to compete for a 4th straight tourney bid, assuming things don't break too poorly in recruiting/transfers/Bentil-to-the-NBA luck.

Cooley has brought this program a long way in a relatively short time.

Edit: Brain fart -- Dickens is a 2017 recruit, of course. Only 2016 commit is 3-star PG Maliek White. Any front court reinforcements would have to come by way of a graduate transfer.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Dunn shouldn't even be out there but he's giving it a good ole college try. He's been in bed for days with the flu and just began getting on the practice floor for a little bit yesterday. Three airballs and clearly not himself out there. Aside from Dunn's flu-riden corpse there is Bentil and a bunch of guys who would struggle to get minutes for Stonehill right now. 4-23 behind the arc and Bentil ejected for a flagrant that if not overturned will cost him a game.

It's mind boggling how this team has crumbled to these depths from a 6 weeks ago to become an NIT team. Cooley better figure this group out or he'll be on the hot seat. This is embarrassing.
 
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PC Drunken Friar

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Dunn shouldn't even be out there but he's giving it a good ole college try. He's been in bed for days with the flu and just began getting on the practice floor for a little bit yesterday. Three airballs and clearly not himself out there. Aside from Dunn's flu-riden corpse there is Bentil and a bunch of guys who would struggle to get minutes for Stonehill right now.

It's mind boggling how this team has crumbled to these depths from a 6 weeks ago to become an NIT team. Cooley better figure this group out or he'll be on the hot seat. This is embarrassing.
One more excuse for Dunn, eh? He has not played close to expectations this year. This is his team and they have bombed the last half of the year. This is the most disappointing team if my lifetime.
 

Mloaf71

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I don't think Ben will be suspended. I think it's only an automatic suspension if the Flagrant 2 resulting from Fighting. That's the only silver lining out of last night.
 

HomeRunBaker

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One more excuse for Dunn, eh? He has not played close to expectations this year. This is his team and they have bombed the last half of the year. This is the most disappointing team if my lifetime.
Oh please, not up to what expectations? He's getting his teammates open look after open look, they keep missing.....and he still leads the conference in assists, steals, is second in scoring, and will be an All-American.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I don't think Ben will be suspended. I think it's only an automatic suspension if the Flagrant 2 resulting from Fighting. That's the only silver lining out of last night.
Correct. The flagrant being an automatic suspension rule was changed in 2011. It is only an automatic suspension now if the flagrant is for fighting. The league "could" add a suspension but that doesn't seem likely based on the play.
 

CouchsideSteve

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I was at the Seton Hall game, and simply have to believe Dunn was really ill. Say what you will about his efficiency this year, but he *always* plays his ass off. Not Thursday: He was tentative, no burst driving to the hoop, and was subbed out multiple times in the first half. He just didn't have it, and when this team doesn't have peak Dunn, they don't win. I'm writing that game off, more so than I am writing this team's obituary because they lost to a good team on the road without their best(?) player. (Although persistently awful shooting is still a red flag -- past may be prologue here as the calendar turns to March.)

Favored by a dozen over DePaul today. Need an emphatic win to flip the narrative that's beginning to form around this being a collapse. I'll be at the Dunk today, watching a few players closely:

1) Fazekas - Can he get open looks from 3 and take those shots with confidence? If not, he needs to be taken out of the starting lineup. Can't spot opponents 6-8pt leads every game before waking up.

2) Cartwright - His performance has regressed in the last six weeks (particularly his shooting), which is certainly contributing to the team's broader struggles. Running the point in place of Dunn, Cartwright's play is often erratic and out of control. But when paired with Dunn, the offense seems more fluid. I'd rather sacrifice some perimeter D and give Cartwright more run over Lomomba & Edwards.

3) Q. Smith - His minutes have been sparse, but he looked good in 8min Thu, with Bullock in foul trouble. Surprisingly mobile for a guy his size. When he plays alongside Bentil, that can be a really stout interior in short stretches. Probably more instructive for next year's rotations, but I like Q more than I thought I would.

Otherwise, we largely know what we need out of Dunn & Bullock -- and know what we're getting out of Bentil -- to make this work. Time for one of the other kids to step up.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I was at the Seton Hall game, and simply have to believe Dunn was really ill. Say what you will about his efficiency this year, but he *always* plays his ass off. Not Thursday: He was tentative, no burst driving to the hoop, and was subbed out multiple times in the first half. He just didn't have it, and when this team doesn't have peak Dunn, they don't win. I'm writing that game off, more so than I am writing this team's obituary because they lost to a good team on the road without their best(?) player. (Although persistently awful shooting is still a red flag -- past may be prologue here as the calendar turns to March.)

Favored by a dozen over DePaul today. Need an emphatic win to flip the narrative that's beginning to form around this being a collapse. I'll be at the Dunk today, watching a few players closely:
Dunn, Bullock, and Lomomba were vomiting at halftime and all three are questionable for today as of late last night per my contact.

Hard to believe this couldn't even spread to everyone on the team. This is like the 3rd time this season multiple players have had illnesses and Dunn has been in on every one. Wtf.
 

shawnrbu

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Has Ed ever heard of the flu shot?

Is it irrational to blame a lot of this mess on Fazekas? Ever since he came back into the rotation full time, the team has absolutely stunk. He is a big stiff shooter who can't shoot. He's worse than Josh Fortune.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Fazekas has been running cold since the flashes he showed @DePaul and vs. Nova earlier this month (6-12 on 3s in those games combined). Cooley must like what he sees in practice, which is something we obviously don't have visibility into.

This team can't realize its true upside without Fazekas scoring and stretching the floor. He's the only true shooter, not counting Dunn & Bentil who probably take more 3s than they should. I'm fine letting him shoot it a bit more over these next three games, but if he's going to be so gun-shy early, he should take a seat.

Bummer that they're facing another wave of sickness. It always seems to be a stomach bug, so I wonder how much is food-born? (Fuck it, I'm not a doctor but it's bizarre that Dunn has been sick more this year than I have the last 3yrs combined.)

No matter, this DePaul team stinks. Bentil will be the best player on the floor. They need to figure it out, or I'm afraid Dunn could check out.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The problem with Fazekas is that he's a D-2/low-level D-1 player at this point being asked to start on a (what used to be a) Top-20 team. Theoretically he's a great fit with spacing but he's clearly in over his head. When a player like this is forced out of his comfort zone physically to keep up with the pace/physicality of the game it affects his shooting. We see it all the time when players take a step up in level and it takes time to adjust to the speed/length/athleticism of the game. Look at Doug McDermott shooting 30% last year in Chicago, following an offseason and acclimation he's back above 40%.......some guys are capable of adjusting to the next level while others never do. It was never realistic to count on Fazekas or Edwards to be consistent shooters right out of the gate......one would have liked to see Lindsey to be that guy but he's a soft headcase.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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It's been a brutal February for Kris with his illness that has all but eliminated him from winning Player of the Year however it's nice to see him recognized as one of the 11 Finalists.

Tonight is a big home game vs Creighton and I haven't seen his Dad to give me the scoop on the teams health so I'm as blind here as anyone else. Right now we are likely in the dreaded 8/9 seed range however this is one year with Dunn/Bentil that I'm not afraid of knocking off a 1. We've shown we can beat the best and compete with the best. We still have time to get our health back and our mojo back.

http://m.friars.com/m/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/030116aab.html
 
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WayBackVazquez

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Lunardi has this team as a #10 seed, and one of the last four byes. A loss tonight would likely drop them out of the top 50 in RPI, and very much a team on the bubble. This is all but a must-win.
 

CouchsideSteve

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Dunn back in the starting lineup on Senior Night; Lindsey also gets the starting nod over Fazekas/Cartwright, which I think is deserved after a strong effort Saturday. (When Lindsey plays intelligently, he really lengthens them on D.)
 

Mloaf71

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Love the flex offense to start tonight. Force the team to move the ball and not rely on Dunn dribbling the entire possession.
 

Mloaf71

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Need to keep going to Bentil or going to the rim. Got away from flexing to the rim after the 7 point lead. All of Creightons bigs are in foul trouble
 

HomeRunBaker

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Interesting that Lomomba participated in Senior Night after answering the question that he will return to Providence for his 5th year and final year of eligibility (he sat out a year as a Cleveland St transfer). That doesn't pass the smell test if everyone knew he was returning.....I wouldn't expect Junior back next year which really would hurt our defense and toughness.