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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!

1) Friars! What the hell has happened to you guys in the past few weeks? Weren't you like a top 10 team? What gives? Any less shine on that Ed Cooley statue that you want to build?

I think this gif sums up everyone's reaction pretty nicely:

Seriously, there are few things I can rationally compare this downward spiral to. The level of confidence and swagger this team had even just five games ago feels like it happened five seasons ago. Things have gotten bad.
Let's start with the losses: at DePaul, Villanova, and at Marquette. You can even push it back to include Xavier, which was just as rough as these other three, but since it was sandwiched between two wins (you guys and Nova on the road) let's skip it. Either way, you're looking at a disturbing trend in those three losses: Providence just isn't playing with a ton of confidence.

A lot of what made us successful in the out of conference schedule was the fact that teams knew to guard Kris Dunn, which left Ben Bentil open to go to town on other teams. By the time the Big East season came around our fellow conference-mates said "hey, guard this tall guy wearing the 0 jersey too" and we had to adjust. What made the difference was we did adjust and had guys coming out to produce for us. Point in case: we don't win the Big East opener at Butler on NYE without Drew Edwards coming off the bench and drilling a couple three pointers to get Providence's momentum going again on offense. There's always been a third option - someone who's stepped up beyond Bentil and Dunn - andI was fine with it being whoever felt it the most that game, even if it did lead to inconsistency. However, the fatal issue in that is you never have a reliant third option, so when you're down late in the second half you're still looking for someone to do something. And I imagine Cooley might feel similar, since if you watch some of these games he's really trying to create openings for other guys beyond the 1-2 punch in Dunn-Bentil.

Some people will point to injuries. Quadree Smith was out for awhile with a broken hand. Ben Bentil tweaked his ankle against DePaul and that could have cost us DePaul and Villanova. Ryan Fazekas is starting to come around after being sick for so long but he'll still have nights where he's inconsistent (like when he went 1-6 at Marquette this past Wednesday). And sure, if you want to hang your hat on those excuses I'm sure you could and it would be rational, but I think the problem runs deeper. 

Like I said above, right now Providence has lost it's swagger. They're not playing confidently, and you can see it. It was most evident against DePaul where, at the time, I thought they were just playing down to their competition and they'd pick it back up during the game. They didn't and we lost. That was devastating. But what bothered me as a fan (and this we can all relate to) is they didn't seem to get refocused after! They had a very winnable opportunity against Nova and just seemed distracted. Then they went on the road to Marquette and had several chances to steal the game in regulation but made poor decisions on defense (I wish there was a stat to see how many times Ellenson tipped the ball into the basket over a defending Providence player, because it felt like it happened a billion times) and didn't hit their free throws. By the second overtime the entire team looked so spent on offense that the writing was basically on the wall. Keep in mind this is all extra shocking because, since Cooley has been hired, his teams tend to start playing great basketball in February.
When I used to fight competitively my coach would tell me that 80% of the match was decided before I stepped into the ring with my opponent, and it was decided by who was more mentally prepared and confident. It's a pretty common phrase but I bring it up now because the same applies here. Basketball is a mental toughness game as much as it is a physical toughness, and right now Providence is just not showing the mental toughness they did at the beginning of the season and it's costing them valuable wins in February. 

I would give my right eye to have two Player of the Year candidates on the Hoyas.  In your view, is Ben Bentil or Kris Dunn the best player on the Friars right now?
I'd still say Kris Dunn, though I know it's a pretty heavily debated subject. The common argument (in a short, short version) is that Bentil scores more and is a bit more disciplined from the free throw line, so he's the better player. I think that's important and he's certainly the better scorer than Dunn, but I don't think that makes him the better player. I think Dunn's ability to create so many opportunities on offense, improvise during the possession, adjust his game accordingly, and open up shots for his teammates makes him the more essential player on offense. And I think on defense he's one of the best in college basketball right now - he's a lock down guy. Bentil is a great defender as well, but post up players can still take advantage of height differences with Bentil. I think a lot of people are also down on Dunn right now because he's not doing anything and everything on every possession in every game, but realistically you have to remember that Dunn will always have two defenders (sometimes even three) watching him to make sure he doesn't carve up defensive sets like a turkey, so it's a lot tougher for Dunn most of the time. That said, I think both need the other to be successful. 

Last go-around you gave me Rajon Rondo as an NBA comp for Dunn, now give me one for Bentil.

Hm, that's tough. I think Draymond Green is the easiest comparison. Both score at a decent clip and play a lot of minutes with a decent shot at midrange. Bentil is better at free throw shooting though. Part of me wants to make the comparison that he's a little like Kevin Garnett in his offense because his midrange jumper is so essential to why he's a threat on offense, and KG always had a good stroke from the charity stripe, but then the other part of me is thinking "you can't compare him to the likes of a great like Kevin Garnett! The hell's wrong with you?" It's a tough say at this point but it'd probably be a blend of those two. However, I think it will be more telling next year when Bentil has to get a bit more creative since the pressure will be entirely on him. 

I assume you agree that this is a complete load of shit.  Please feel free to provide your thoughts:

Wow, what a load of shit. Like, just a logical breakdown at a level so astounding it makes my head dizzy. Just to understand this right: Jimbo got suspended for violating NCAA rules, during that suspension his team went 4-5, now that Jimbo is back the NCAA wants to evaluate the Cuse for their performance since Jimbo has returned to decide if they're NCAA worthy, essentially negating the entire point of the suspension in the first place. Right? I mean, that's my understanding of it, but my understanding is wrong. It has to be wrong. There's no way - I mean no f*cking way - the people at the NCAA are that far removed from things like "logic" and "common sense" and "a basic understanding of the entire point of a punishment."

I mean, if I get caught cheating on an assignment in a class and I fail the assignment, does the teach go "well the end of the semester is coming up, and even though you failed that assignment for cheating, we're going to consider weighing your final grade without that failure based on how you've done since then." Well hey, great news for me but what about, oh I don't know, hold me accountable for integrity and honesty? Doesn't the entire point of the punishment get negated? Right? RIGHT? HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY? AM I THE ONLY ONE AROUND WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THE RULES?! MARK IT N.I.T.!

Nice work here by a Marquette kid, huh?

Oh good, another jesuit catholic college basketball team with Eagles as their mascot is involved in a point shaving scandal. I was wondering when there'd be a sequel to that ESPN 30 for 30.
Seriously though, hilarious.

If you were in charge of next year's Super Bowl halftime show, tell me who would be performing.
Can I choose artists who are dead? If I can then probably Nirvana or Grateful Dead (two very contrasting artists I know). If they have to be living then I'm choosing Rolling Stones. Yeah, probably the Stones to be honest. We need to get back to live music at the Super Bowl and move away from this silly ass dance off shit that's strictly there to announce tours and create memes. Plus the Rolling Stones have the added bonus of helping bridge that gap to putting a National Football League team in the UK. 

Please provide your go-to order at a steakhouse, and walk us through your beverage(s) of choice through your appetizers, entrees and desserts.  Also, which steakhouse?
Easy: 16 oz T-bone with a 24 oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey (Lagavulin 16) and a cigar. I consume it all at the same time, because I am a free American. It's called a Turf and Turf.

(Also I just realized half my answers are in video format. Next year we gotta do a Google Hangouts videocast or something.)

Final score prediction?
Friar redemption starts on Saturday with a sweep of the Hoyas, 72-66.