The NCAA Tournament is here and the North Carolina Tar Heels are a 6 seed in the East Region, and they’re set to do battle with the 11th seeded Providence Friars Friday night in San Antonio. Providence is 23-11 overall and they’re fresh off winning the Big East Conference Tournament. For the Tar Heel fans who don’t know much about the Friars, here’s some of their strength’s and weaknesses.
Although Providence only shoots 42.5 percent from the field as a team, their star senior point guard Bryce Cotton can put up points by the bunches. He shoots an OK 41.3 percent from the floor. However, Cotton scores 21.4 points per game, he has knack for getting to the free throw line and hits 85 percent of them when he gets there. He also is a 36.8 percent 3-point shooter.
Cotton isn’t the only threat on the Friars. Junior forward LaDontae Henton is what I like to call ” a Jack of all trades”. He leads the team in rebounding (7.8 per game), he has an inside outside game and provides the toughness for his team. His 13.9 points and 1.4 steals per game are second on the team, so basically Henton is the energy guy and the tone setter similar to James Michael McAdoo.
Like I said earlier, Providence is not a great shooting team but they still average 73.2 points per game. The Friars can really shoot free throws, making them at a 78 percent clip and their descent from 3 point land shooting 35.0 percent as a team. No one player makes a lot three’s but several players can make them.
The Big East Tournament Champs can also get after it on the backboards. LaDontae Henton leads the squad in rebounding but forward Kadeem Butts is right behind him at 7.6 boards per game. As a team, they grab 36.8 rebounds per game which isn’t as good as Carolina but they do have a couple of guys who can create some havoc on the boards.
This is not a deep Providence team. Head Coach Ed Cooley only plays 6 or 7 guys and all of the starters log more than 30 minutes per game. They basically have no depth in the backcourt and that has caused them to have issues with fatigue and foul trouble at times during the season. The Friars are not a great defensive team but their size and length allows them to play multiple defenses including a 2-3 zone that the Tar Heels likely see Friday night. They’ll use that zone to control the tempo of the game. Providence will try to slow the game down and that starts with their D.