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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Friars of Providence

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Dilly dilly

Your Georgetown Hoyas trudge onward to Providence Tuesday night to play the Friars for the first time this season. Here to lend some insight into the Friars is our old friend Daniel James. You can find his work on YurView.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TheWarriorFriar.

So, Providence, it’s been a little while. What’s the feeling about the Friars this season?

Pretty frustrated if I’m being honest. Usually, in years past, I would have had this team figured out by now, but this year they’re all over the place. They’ll show up and play with confidence to beat teams like Xavier, and then completely no-show against the likes of Seton Hall. Typically Cooley teams follow certain trends, and one key trend is around February they’re playing some of their best basketball, but that hasn’t happened yet. I know that because I’ve seen this team at their best, and they’re just not consistent at that level. Scoring droughts make for major headaches, and rebounding (or lack thereof) has me slapping the palm of my hand to my head. Buuuut at the same time they’re winning games I’d expect them to win (with one or two exceptions) so I guess it’s not how you win, but the fact that you’ve won?

As much as Rodney Bullock seems to be the main scorer, this Friars team looks pretty balanced. Who else do you think might be key to keeping the Hoyas in check?

Alpha Diallo has become one of my favorite Friars, and has been playing above and beyond lately. He started the season somewhat slow but has really come into his own, and when Cartwright and Bullock are both in their dry spells, Diallo is a good third option. Jalen Lindsey, a senior, can be great from beyond the arc...sometimes. He’s a shooter through and through, but he doesn’t have much else to his game beyond his long-range shot. Put it this way: he’s kind of like the sniper class in Star Wars Battlefront 2 or one of the Battlefield games: mostly useful from long range, but can’t do much else besides being lucky with the occasional close-up shot. Then there’s Nate Watson, a freshman who has really been playing exceptional for a freshman. He could give the Hoyas trouble if he’s underestimated for being a freshman at the 4/5.

It seems like Ed Cooley consistently coaches his teams to be greater than the sum of their parts. How much does that seem to be true again this season and how have you seen him do it?

I do agree that’s true, and this year is a weird observation of that rule. I think looking at years back he’s had a pretty typical formula: one or two “star” players on the team that everyone is prepared for, and then one or two “breakout” players that become stars in their own right. A great example of this is Kris Dunn’s senior year: everyone thought Dunn was going to take the Friars as far as he could, but then it turns out there was another threat nobody had prepared for in Ben Bentil. I think this year we’re seeing similar trends with the likes of Diallo and Watson, but I also think “great” will be tough for fans to define because of their expectations.

Coming into the season the sentiment was “hey, we’ve made the NCAA Tournament four years in a row, but now we need to see improvement from that - we need to get to the second weekend at least” and that would have been considered a successful season. Nobody realized this team may very well just be mediocre, and I think it’s been sobering for fans to realize this team may not be the Big East elite they thought they were. So, “greater than the sum of all parts” this year may mean just making the NCAA Tournament and winning a game, but the expectations may skew that reality.

Personally, I think that two and out would be a great result for this team, especially given the struggles they’re prone to having. I think if they do that it will take the team coming together and playing better as a unit, because as much as I love Kyron’s quickness he’s not going to carry a team for a full 40 minutes. Same with Rodney Bullock’s ability to score, yada yada yada.

How many Big East teams do you think make the NCAA Tournament & who will they be? Do you see Providence being among them?

I could see the Big East getting 7 in, but we’ll likely end up with 6. Villanova, Seton Hall, Xavier, Creighton, Butler - all pretty much locks. I think Providence will end up locking it in, but they have some business to take care of first. I think Marquette has the ability to get in there, but their opportunities are fleeting, so they’d be my seventh if possible pick.

Any thoughts on the Hoyas & Patrick Ewing’s first season as coach?

I really want him to succeed! He was my favorite player growing up - part of my father trying to (and failing) to indoctrinate me into New York sports fandom. My first ever jersey was a 33 Ewing jersey. I’m sure my mom still has it somewhere.

Ewing as a coach I think is doing about what I expected so far. He’s performing above what the Big East preseason experts gave him credit for doing, and some of the recent performances he’s gotten out of his teams has shown that, in time, he’ll probably get Georgetown competitive again. I think he’s doing exactly what a first-year coach could be expected to do - get his teams competitive, win a couple games, but mostly see the “good effort, bad outcome” type of deals like you guys had against Xavier.

Long-term he’s gotta get a better OOC though. That was just pathetic. I know you all know that and I’m not faulting him for doing that in his first year (I actually think it was pretty smart) but that can’t be something I would think should keep up.

What did you end up doing for the Super Bowl this year?

Got very drunk on beer and scotch, and said “oh for fucks- YOU GOTTA STOP HIM ON THE THIRD FUCKING DOWN AT LEAST ONCE THIS GAME!” a lot. Also ate a shitload of homemade fried chicken and drank Spotted Cow beers. Did I mention how much I drank? Or that I’m a Patriots fan?

I was supposed to go to Minneapolis to check out the festivities, but the cold, long road trip, and expensive as shit hotel rooms had me deciding just to hang with friends. And I’m glad I did.

Is Bud Light’s ”Dilly Dilly” catchphrase funny, dumb, or both?

Both. Dumb because “dilly dilly” is a silly catchphrase, but funny at how effective it is. Think about this: right now everyone is raging about Bud Light’s catchphrase and how they think it’s dumb, or they’re so much better than that, or back in the day this would have never been, or whatever superiority signaling they need to do to feel like they’re somehow above this ad campaign...and at the same time they’re not shutting up about Bud Light. The ad literally knocked it out of the park in its effectiveness, and it’s partly because people can’t stop talking about how much they feel one way or the other about it. Point in case: I just got asked how I felt about it in an interview about Providence-Georgetown, so how effective is THAT for marketing efforts?

Rank your top three fast food burgers.

1. Five Guys: Literally the most superior of fast food burgers, and I almost didn’t put it in this category because it’s so much better than what we think of when we think of fast food. And that’s why it deserves to be here.

2. Fatburger: Regional fast food that leaves you so full you hate yourself. After eating one of these bad boys I like to call my girlfriend and verify that knows what she’s gotten herself into and she’s cool with it.

3. Portillo’s: Another regional one, but not one that should be slept on. Portillo’s is known for polish sausages, Italian beefs, and Chicago dogs, but if none of those are jiving with you (and I don’t know why they would be) you gotta get the burger. It’s juicy and the ingredients are fresh. Local pro tip: get it with giardiniera. Thank me later.

In-N-Out is overrated and doesn’t taste good. The place is novelty and hype, and okay fries. Don’t @ me.

Final score prediction?

Sorry guys - Friars need five to stay alive, and their first of that five comes tomorrow. Georgetown keeps it interesting and gets the scoring going during a Providence drought, but the Friars take back a lead halfway through the second half and escape the Hoyas at the Dunk, 79-73.