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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Friars of Providence

Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown are back in ball against Big East rival Providence and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Here with us again is our buddy The Warrior Friar, who you need to be following on twitter for all of your Friar needs and can find on Cox Hub.  Let's do this!  Oh, you can find CASUAL ANSWERS TO FRIAR QUESTIONS RIGHT HERE.

Friars! Things going as you expected so far this season?

I expected us to be undefeated at this point so I think we can probably call it a season right? It's just downhill from here.
In all seriousness things have exceeded expectations. I consider myself an optimist and then some so when I was reading all these season previews about Providence being "Dunn and None" I thought it was bull. That said I also didn't anticipate players like Drew Edwards or especially Ben Bentil to step up the way they did. I leaned more towards Jalen Lindsey and Ryan Fazekas. But hey, who am I to split hairs in that regard? Providence has been having - and I mean this quite literally - a top five season in the program's history. While we all expected something historic, I don't think even the most eternal optimists expected this. (Except maybe those Cooley World Order guys. I talk to the leader quite regularly and I think he really meant it when he said this team was going to go all the way.)

Let's start out by discussing Mr. Dunn.  Please acknowledge that he was totally insane to turn down the NBA and come back for one more season at Providence. Don't worry, no one is reading this.

It was insane...insane-ly awesome! 
Yeah I'll see myself out.

For real though? Thank God he did. I know it's beating a dead horse but losing a 7'1" center in Pascal Chukwu to f*cking Syracuse of all teams was awful enough. Throw Dunn on top of that and we may as well just take the Friars program out for one last sunset before loading up the shotgun...(Please acknowledge that we can both have that mutual dislike for Syracuse here.)

(Casual Note: As if you had to fucking ask.)

What's your best NBA comp for Dunn? Do you think he makes an immediate impact at the next level? What are his biggest weaknesses?

Ah man, I really need to think more about this because it comes up a lot. Truthfully probably Rajon Rondo. Great passers, great creators, really not that great of an outside shot but can hit it sometimes. Dunn has an infinitely better attitude than Rondo though; I was very vocal about my dislike for him while he wore the Celtics green. John Wall is another good comparison. I tried to argue that he was Derrick Rose once without the scoring, but that was with a Bulls fan at 3 am at the bar so who knows if I made the case there or not. 

Ben Bentil seems to be making a case for All-Big East First Team with a breakout performance this season. What's gotten into him?

Ben Bentil is a prime example of how you can pay attention to a team - I mean, really pay attention to them - feel like you know that team like the back of your hand and just be sooooo far off with your knowledge. Bentil came in this season and had a dud of a first game. I figured he would - he's talented but I wasn't thinking he was going to make a huge leap, and I think I even wrote that in a recap (or if I didn't I wrote it in a text to my editor). And then ever since Bentil has just routinely shut me up. Not that I'm complaining though. If I had to put my finger on it I'd say it's a mix of hard work, discipline, and mutant gene experiments. The world got Deadpool in theaters. we got Bentil on the Friars. Everyone's happy.

Honestly now I'm just sitting here mulling every little detail over in my head wondering what the hell happened. He leads the Big East in scoring for God's sake! I mean, he's GOOD on offense, and not just in the post. He can hit the three! He can play defense! HE SHOOTS BETTER FROM THE FREE THROW LINE THAN KRIS DUNN. (81.4% compared to 67.7% in case you're wondering.) People have called him Kadeem Batts 2.0 at times and I tend to agree, but Batts took 4 years to become the player that Bentil did in two. Cooley seems to have a knack for developing the forwards (Henton, Batts, Bentil), so maybe Cooley saw something in him we didn't. But still though, that much of a jump in one year?
Sorry, I'm kind've rambling now. 

Where's your go-to spot for a good meal in Providence? Please detail your usual order if you have one.

Here's the thing: I love food. I love it. I love it to the point where a friend once jokingly asked me how many times late night Wiener Circle or Dimo's Pizza caused me to miss out on going home with a girl. It was funny until we did the was a lot. Like more than five. FYI: Wiener Circle and Dimo's are both Chicago spots and have nothing to do with this story other than to prove how much I love food. And if you're so compelled to look up Wiener Circle also look up the Chocolate shakes there.

Anyways, I take my eating in Providence very seriously, especially on gameday. So when you're there you have three key spots:
- Trinity Brewhouse is THE go-to spot for pregame meals. The food there is pretty decent, nothing special, but you've got an above average burger selection and some solid wing sauces. I usually go with a Brewer's Burger when I'm there because it keeps you balanced drinking wise while not feeling full (unless you just absolutely crush french fries.) Pairs great with a Rhody IPA as well. We did the math - a 22 oz Rhody IPA is the most value when it comes to ABV per dollar. There's also a sweet potato and black bean burger that looks pretty bomb but I've never had it.- If you're a sucker for pizza you want to head up to Bob and Timmy's in Federal Hill, right off Atwells Ave. It's the best pizza in the city (and you can tell all the nonbelievers I said it on the record), and the move here is to go with Pizza 1 ("Parmesan, Romano and Gorgonzola Cheese with our Pomodoro Sauce and Parsley") and add onions, or get yourself an Eggplant pizza and add onions and green peppers. I know if you look up the menu and see Pizza 1 with onions added you might be compelled to ask "why don't you just get Pizza 2 you dingus? it has onions!" The answer is because of the gorgonzola and because I said so.- Now, if this is post game and you're celebrating a little too much you're gonna want something greasy and regretful. That's when you head down Broadway into Onleyville to New York System for some New York System Wieners. Get them all the way. Don't ask what's on it, just say "six all the way." Eat all six of them. Wake up to a lot of shame and horrible smelling farts. THAT, my Hoya friends, is the true American way.

Ed Cooley has done a great job turning Providence around in his tenure. What do you think has been the biggest advantage he has brought to the program? Recruiting? Player development? Something else?  Are you a little concerned that Cooley's success might lead him to a gig at a bigger school at some point in the near future?

None of the above, because I'll tell you why. Providence has been able to recruit in the past, and they've been able to develop in the past. Sure, Cooley has elevated both those things, but really the fact is that he believes in Providence to the point where he's able to sell it to an otherwise nonbeliever. And really that's not something we've seen in a long time. You can have good recruiters and bad recruiters, good developers and bad developers, but if you don't have someone who truly believes in the program they're going to struggle regardless. We saw it happen halfway through the Welsh era. I liked the guy but it felt like he kind of "gave up" on the Providence identity. Cooley doesn't make excuses about what Providence isn't, he sells Providence on what it is. And he's able to do that so well because he really believes in that.
I am and I'm not. Cooley seems genuinely happy to be at Providence. He seems to truly love the program. You can tell based on his conduct and the way his players seem to genuinely love PC. It's all a reflection of his love for the program. Does this mean he'll stay forever? I hope so, but realistically there may come a time where he does decide to move on. I hope that time never happens, but I hope that if it does that he will have 1. accomplished what he set out to accomplish, and 2. he leaves the school in a good position. I do think part of what's always been special about our conference (and I mean the Big East in any iteration) is that the coaches have always been so loyal to their programs. I mean, I don't have to tell you that, you have the JT legacy going on at Georgetown. But you think about the guys like Calhoun and Jimmy B, and what that meant for those programs, and it really adds a special identity to the conference. Now you look at it in a future tense where we have guys like Chris Mack, Greg McDermott, and Chris Holtmann, and you think "wow, this could be the next era of those loyal coaches." You hope for that anyway, but you can see it truly happening, and as a Providence fan you hope that Cooley becomes that next guy because he's got all the elements to be that guy. 

What chance do you give Providence at winning the Big East this year? How far do you expect them to go in the NCAA Tournament and how many other Big East teams do you think join them?

It's all going to be dependent on shooting. We've had a horrible offensive effort four of the past five games, especially from that three ball. To break the three point shot down: Marquette 22%, Creighton 16.7% (and 29.6% from the floor in general), Seton Hall 20% (and 30% from the floor), Xavier 20%. I mean, come on, on  the one hand it's so bad you have to think "they'll figure it out, they'll get better" and on the other hand you have to think "this will kill them in every game they play if they don't fix it." That said, if we can actually figure out our shooting (from three and really from the field in general) there's a very good chance we'll win the BET. We seem to be able to keep it close even when we are scoring bad, which gives me a lot of optimism that if we can figure this out we'll be a team to be reckoned with. As for the NCAA Tournament I guess it really depends on matchups. We could be a Final Four team. We could also be a one and done team. I did a survey with fans asking what their expectations were and most seem to believe that the Elite Eight isn't just feasible, it's a reasonable expectation. And hey, if we get some momentum going, why not? Seems reasonable enough to me.

As for other teams I think Xavier is a Final Four team. I think Nova is going to ruin my bracket again. If Butler can figure their situation out they'll be good (I think they're experiencing that OoC success, Big East struggle we've all had familiarity with in the past). But then there's the idea that Seton Hall can sneak in, and Creighton is coming together, and Marquette seems to be surprising people (note that I'm not forgetting you guys, I'm just answering it in the next question). Reasonably I think we send four or five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Xavier and Nova are locks. Providence is a lock in my mind but I'm bias. That's two slots for four other teams (including the Hoyas), but I think Xavier has the chance to really go far. And Providence, but again. bias.

And if Nova ruins my bracket again this year I may just snap. 

Enough about you. What's your impression of this Hoyas squad?

Man, you guys confuse the living hell out of me. Preseason I was like "man, Georgetown is going to be good. Hopefully they get over the hump this year!" I remember thinking you and Providence were a little undervalued. (To clarify, this opinion came before the coaches poll when I was reading Athlon. I know, not the best, but that's why I went to defend the Hoyas!) Y'all lost Joshua Smith and Trawick but you had D'Vauntes and Isaac Copeland coming back, and I had a feeling that your big guy, Hayes, would make some impressive strides (and looking at his statline compared to last year, he did). I, admittedly, didn't know much about your newcomers, but Jessie Govan was supposed to be a pretty big deal I recall? Anyways, I was hyped!

And then you lost to Radford.


Which was cool, I figured "eh, they probably just don't want to play this year." But then you went on to keep a close one with Maryland, beat Wisconsin, lose a close one to Duke, beat Syracuse, lose to Monmouth and UNC-A, lose a close one to Villanova, and then go on the road and beat Xavier. 

Again, in the preseason I said you guys were undervalued. (Again, this wasn't based on the coaches poll, this was on you guys being picked 4th in Athlon at the time.) When the Big East started I said you guys may have been the most overrated team in the preseason. This was based even on being picked 4th at that point. Now I just don't know what to think of you, but I really wish you would make up your minds so I could stop feeling so stupid. Hell it happened on Tuesday. "Oh, they're down double digits with under 4 to go, Creighton's got this." NOPE. Once again I'm wrong. 
That said I do like your program. You guys really have come a long way since Radford (which I'm sure you're sick of hearing about) and you've become the team I expected you might be in the preseason. Finish strong and get a bid, and make some noise this year. I believe in you Hoyas! (Please, for my own sanity, do this. I can't be wrong about this again.)

Who do you like in the Super Bowl? If you could turn back the clock and draft Peyton Manning or Tom Brady as your QB knowing the careers they would have, which would you pick and why?

Super Bowl? They cancelled that this year. Do you mean the Puppy Bowl? I think you mean the Puppy Bowl.

I'd take Touchdown Tommy 100 times out of 100. I grew up watching Drew Bledsoe and have very fond memories of watching him. I remember when he got injured and it was like "oh good, we got Tim Brandy as our quarterback or whoever the hell. What's it matter?" (I was 13 I think at the time?) But then Tom Brady kicked off an era not only of Patriots glory but of Boston glory as well. It brought a lot of pride to our city, and a lot of pride to fans who otherwise thought it would be a rough year or so before we got a good quarterback. I know some people reading this might think that's fair weathered, but at the time what were we supposed to think? Boston sports were struggling, and had been for as long as I can remember. TB12 will always be my quarterback, and I'm grateful for it. I don't think I'd be the fan I am today if it wasn't for him, and that extends to Providence too. Sure, it sounds corny and I know a lot of people might hate the fact I said that, but to have a 199th pick come in, win you a Super Bowl, and then win you three more, it does change you a little. Suddenly some things that would otherwise feel impossible do suddenly feel realistic. It's why I had faith that Providence would beat Creighton two years ago in the Big East Championship. "If Brady can win those Championships, why can't we?" I don't think I would have gotten that with Manning, which isn't to discredit his career, but if you're looking at it from a fan's perspective his (Tom's) career and what he did for Boston becomes (in the most cliched sports phrase ever) inspirational as hell.

Political opinions aside, who are you picking to win the Iowa Caucuses on Monday? Political opinions not aside, Trump is absurdly entertaining but ultimately has no chance, right?

The Iowa what-now? Haha man you're asking the wrong guy about politics. I have no clue what's going on at this point other than Trump is doing the most amazing "Andy Kaufmann - Presidential Edition" homage I've ever seen. I mean he's trolling everybody! Right?

Final score prediction?

Friars are a better team on the road, for some reason, so I say we win this 75-66.

That was a lot of writing. Sorry about that.

(Casual Note: Apology rejected, jive turkey!)