Marshon Brooks does this a lot. We should stop him. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Good morning V5ers! I hope you guys are recovering nicely from last night, and are getting ready for today's home game against the Friars of Providence. Game is at noon, and unfortunately this is one of the only non-televised games we will have the rest of the way. It is available on ESPN3.com, and if you are a Bright House subscriber, you can finally watch. If you're stuck at church or at work, Jim Lighthall will be there for you on 1250 WHNZ.
Coach Keno Davis has used the same starting lineup for all 18 games this season, so unless something crazy happens, here is the starting five for the Friars:
PG: 6'2" Soph. Vincent Council (15.0 PTS/6.4 AST/4.3 REB/1.7 STL)
SG: 6'4" Fr. Gerard Coleman (10.4 PTS/2.8 REB/1.6 AST)
G/F: 6'5" Sr. Marshon Brooks (23.2 PTS/8.0 REB/2.2 AST/1.7 STL/1.3 BLK)
PF: 6'9" Fr. Kadeem Batts (6.9 PTS/5.1 REB)
C: 6'9" Soph. Bilal Dixon (6.7 PTS/8.1 REB/2.2 BLK)
Coach Davis has a pretty thin bench, and will repeatedly go to a four-guard set throughout the game. 6'3" sophomore Duke Mondy (7.1 PTS/2.9 REB/1.0 AST/1.9 STL) is the first guy off the bench, and he actually plays more than both Dixon and Batts. 6'1" freshman Bryce Cotton (3.7 PTS/1.6 REB) and 5'9" freshman Dre Evans (1.6 PTS/0.9 REB) are the two players Coach Davis has called on each game this season, although both have only played about 7 minutes each since Big East play began. If both Batts and Dixon get into foul trouble like they did against West Virginia, 7' senior Ray Hall (1.4 PTS/2.1 REB) will get the call to man the post.
(Interjection from Voodoo: I love me some Ray Hall. He looks like a longshoreman, and after watching him rumble and stumble around the Sun Dome last year, he's the only player in the Big East I think I could score on.)
Obviously the main goal for today's game is stopping the duo of Brooks and Council. With the amount of time the Friars spend in four-guard sets, Brooks is routinely matched up against the opposing team's power forward. Brooks uses his speed to create space between him and his opponent, and he usually finds an open shot. With the team's lack of depth down low, Marshon has to commit to the glass, and even though he's giving up 4 or 5 inches to his opponent, he will still find a way to get 2-3 offensive rebounds a game.
Council has improved his game tremendously since his freshman year, and his connection with Brooks has elevated both of their games. He is a poor 3-point shooter, so he will drive the lane with abandon to find his own shot, or kicks it out to Brooks. He has been turnover prone in Big East play, with only a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio, and that could mean some easy baskets for the Bulls.
We know that PC will press and run to force turnovers and create easy baskets for the Friars. Even though they create a decent amount of turnovers, they commit just as many over the course of the season. USF will slow down the tempo and try to control the pace of the game. On offense, we need to do a quality job breaking our press, and passing it to our big men, who will have a huge size advantage in the post. Batts and Dixon are extremely prone to foul trouble, with both averaging over three fouls a game in conference play. Augustus Gilchrist, Jarrid Famous, and Ron Anderson Jr. have all done a fantastic job creating fouls and getting to the line, and I expect the same to happen today.
On defense, I wouldn't be surprised if Heath runs a lot of zone. Providence is a very poor shooting team from deep, only making 30% of their shots, which is insane with all the guards they throw out there. Our main goal will be keeping Marshon Brooks off the score sheet as much as possible, and if they run a box-and-one with Hugh Robertson on Brooks, I'd be OK with that.
After what happened in the Cincinnati game, I will not be giving a prediction for today's contest. If all else fails though, we can always hand the ball of to Toarlyn Fitzpatrick for three.
USF makes historic comeback with Fitzpatrick 3 (via LETHALWEAPONMV)
That video will never get old.