BC – Providence Preview
By Will Templeton
On Saturday November 25 at 8 PM, Boston College (5-1) is set to face Providence College (4-1) at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Although they are not conference foes, PC and BC meet nearly every season. Last year, Boston College beat Providence 79-67 in Conte Forum. However, this game was not indicative of the rest of their seasons, as Boston College finished a poor 9-23 while Providence made the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year and finished with a 20-13 record.
Both teams have reason for hope for a good season this year; the Friars brings back all starters from their tournament team last year and is considered a fringe top 25 team, while the Eagles are off to their best start since the 2007-2008 season.
Projected BC Starters: Projected PC Starters:
PG: Ky Bowman PG: Kyron Cartwright
SG: Jerome Robinson SG: Isaiah Jackson
SF: Jordan Chatman SF: Alpha Diallo
PF: Teddy Hawkins PF: Rodney Bullock
C: Nik Popovic C: Kalif Young
Who has the edge?
Bowman (14.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.8 APG) vs Cartwright (11.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 6.6 APG)
Ky Bowman is off to a great start this year. The sophomore is averaging 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. His speed in transition is perhaps his best quality, providing quick scoring and runs for BC. Bowman can also score from essentially anywhere on the floor. He’s a solid three point shooter, and has no qualms with taking the ball to the hoop to score.
However, Kyron Cartwright is a more experienced player. A senior from Compton, Cartwright is an excellent ball handler who excels at creating opportunities for his teammates. He’s averaging 6.6 assists with only 2.2 turnovers so far. Furthermore, Cartwright has been lights out from deep, shooting 46.7%. Cartwright may also be the most clutch player on either team. In the Friar’s last game, he hit a buzzer-beating three on the run to top Belmont 66-65. He had a similar play last season against Creighton, #23 at the time, knocking down a 3 with 2.4 seconds left to give PC a 68-66 lead.
While Bowman may score more points, Cartwright is more efficient and clutch. Bowman will likely be the better player when he is a senior, but at this moment the edge goes to Cartwright.
Robinson (15.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.8 APG) vs Jackson (5.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.2 APG)
This matchup is a no brainer. Robinson can seemingly score at will. If he wants, he’ll take and make a stepback jumper. Or if, he’s not feeling like shooting the ball, he’ll make a quick crossover and drive to the hoop. Isaiah Jackson isn’t a bad player (he’s actually the better rebounder of the two), but he’s not the type of dominating player that Robinson is.
Chatman (11.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.7 APG) vs Diallo (9.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.8 APG)
Chatman is a good scorer and defender, and definitely not the man to leave open for a three. Diallo provides a bit more of all around play. He’s a better rebounder at 6’7’’ and is more skilled facilitating. Diallo’s versatility gives him the edge over Chatman.
Hawkins (12.7 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.3 APG) vs Bullock (12.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.6 APG)
This is a good matchup to watch. Both players are extremely experienced. Their veteran leadership is invaluable to their respective teams. Bullock is skilled in every facet of the game; there’s simply nothing he’s bad at. But at the same time, he doesn’t posses a standout skill that separates him. That does not mean Bullock isn’t a force. His ability to adapt and play well in any situation can pose major problems for opposing teams.
Hawkins has brought something fresh for the Eagles. He provides a spark and a strong leadership presence. He’s got a good mid range game, especially from the post, and can bully weaker players down low. He has a good three point shot if left open. Hawkins is also the better rebounder, and seems to deliver whenever he is needed. Against Colgate, he played through foul trouble to give BC the push they needed to mount a comeback.
Hawkins has a slight edge due to his rebounding. Whichever player has a better game is likely to lift their team to victory.
Popovic (8.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.7 APG) vs Young (8.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
Popovic may have better numbers, but Kalif Young possesses very unique skills for a player his size. The 255 pound sophomore has ludicris speed for his size and simply bullies smaller defenders in the low post. It seems whenever he gets the ball in the paint he’s looking to do one thing: score. And most of the time, he succeeds.
Popovic has come on as of late. He had a career high 18 points against La Salle in a 82-61 Boston College win. He’s a skilled rebounder and a good defender, but he doesn’t possess the takeover gene that Young has.
Key to the Game
If the Eagles are going to win, they’re going to need to do it with the starters. PC’s bench is simply too good, and Jim Christian doesn’t seem too willing to play more than 7 guys. In particular, Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson need to score in bunches while Hawkins needs to rake in boards and get the tough buckets, as he’s been doing all season. If the effectiveness of the Eagle’s starters is limited, the overall depth of Providence will be too much to overcome. Head coach Ed Cooley has too many weapons off the bench for the Eagle’s second unit to handle. If top recruits Nate Watson or Makai Ashton-Langford have breakout games, that will likely spell disaster for the Boston College.
The Friars typically struggle beating the Eagles, but this game is at the Dunk, where Providence has gone 21-1 in non-conference play since December of 2014.
I’ll take PC 77-72