Providence head coach Ed Cooley ready to build — Dime Magazine link

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UConn upset, Cuse wins NIT, Abromaitis out for year – Weekend Review

UConn loses to Central Florida – Huskies blow a 17-point lead and struggles against a 2-3 zone. Need lots of work if they want to top Syracuse. Ryan Boatright played his first game Saturday in a 78-76 overtime win over No. 20 Florida State. The freshman had 14 points and three assists. He adds another ball handler and will help this team in the long run.

Photo Courtesy of Brandon Weight

Syracuse wins NIT – The Orange, in the wake of the Bernie Fine scandal, won the NIT Season Tip-Off in a convincing win against a solid Stanford club. This Cuse team is deeper than usual. Also Fab Melo looks great since dropping over 30 lbs. in the offseason. Right now tops in the Big East.

Louisville sneaks out win over Ohio – Rick Pitino won his 250th game with Louisville in a close one, but I like Louisville right now. They beat Butler without Peyton Siva, who is their key player and would I picked to have a breakout season.

Villanova downed by Saint Louis – This loss isn’t terrible because I believe that Saint Louis is an overlooked team, they’ll compete against Xavier and Temple this year. The Wildcats are young, but Maalik Wayns had a career-high 29 points.

Cincinnati upset by Marshall in OT – I really think the Bearcats could take that next step and be a legitimate Big East contender this year, but after this loss I don’t know. The Thundering Herd could be the second-best team in C-USA, but this is a win Cincy should have had at home.

Pitt takes care of Penn/Robert Morris– Panthers had a little hiccup in that loss to Long Beach State, but I think they’ll make up for it if they can get good wins over Tennessee and Oklahoma State. Also Khem Birch recording 10 boards in his first start against Penn is a positive. The freshman added 11 in a 10-point win against Robert Morris.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Wickham

DePaul moves to 4-1 – The Blue Demons picked up a pair of wins against Texas Tech and Arizona State this weekend. I like this team. Oliver Purnell shows he can rebuild. He’s got two good young pieces in Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin and from this point on a pretty easy non-conference schedule.

South Florida takes care of FAU – A couple of nice wins against Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic without Augustus Gilchrist. They need the big man back soon with road games against VCU and No. 14 Kansas coming up.

Notre Dame loses Abromaitis – Senior forward Tim Abromaitis is out for the season with a torn ACL. Abromaitis was averaging 14 points and seven rebounds on the year. Mike Brey is a great coach and will see how good he is in the coming months.

St. John’s loses to Northeastern – It’s a young team and a short rotation. Also not favored by a tough schedule. The Red Storm have losses against No. 16 Arizona and No. 18 Texas A&M. Coming up is a game against soon to be No. 1 Kentucky.

Friars lose first two – It’s going to be a process by I feel Ed Cooley has this team on the right track. This year is just going to be a tough one for Providence. However Vincent Council has a had a good year averaging 18 points and 5 dimes.

Providence Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

G Vincent Council, junior
G Bryce Cotton, sophomore
G Brice Kofane, sophomore
F LaDontae Henton, freshman
F Bilal Dixon, junior

Key reserves: Gerard Coleman, sophomore; Kadeem Batts, sophomore; Lee Goldsbrough, sophomore; Kiwi Gardner, freshman

Good news/bad news.

Photo courtesy of mrdrebzee/Flickr

Bad news first. Marshon Brooks is gone. He averaged 24.6 PPG his senior year for the Friars and the Friars must make up for his offensive production.

More bad news. Even with Brooks scoring, the Friars only went 4-14 in conference, on the way to a 15-17 overall record.

Good news.

Ed Cooley is the new head coach, after turning Fairfield into a solid program. Cooley has already begun the turnaround signing guards Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo for next season. Cooley has also put Providence in the run for 6-foot-10 shot blocker, Nerlens Noel. Noel is one of the top prospects in the class of 2013.

More good news. Providence returns four starters from last year, but no one is safe with

Photo courtesy of SUBasketball/Flickr

that spot with Cooley putting in a new system. Either way many players returning with experience is a plus.

Look for point guard Vincent Council to lead the charge. The junior averaged almost six assists a game in 2011-2012.

Overall Providence is going to be bad, real bad, this season. But on the bright side the Friars are in a better position than most people with the personnel they have and will have coming in.

Look for Providence to be at the bottom of the rankings this season. But in 2012-2014 could be the years Providence returns to Big East royalty.