Game recaps are boring. If you want to read them, search your local newspaper or the Associated Press. Four Thoughts is our brand new, not-so creatively titled feature where, in lieu of a game recap, we give you four thoughts about key Big East action. Enjoy!
It is rare that conference opponents would face each other twice by mid-January, but that was the case on Saturday when Providence and Syracuse met in the Carrier dome. Syracuse won the first meeting by an 87-73 score that was not indicative of the overall play. In one of the few challenges Syracuse has faced this year, Providence hung tough at home in a game where both teams played well. Syracuse led by only two points at the half, and six with just over five minutes to go in the game before making a late run to log the double-digit victory. Despite that good home showing by the Friars, coupled with any momentum generated by their 31-point romp over #14 Louisville on Tuesday, Providence (justifiably) remained heavy underdogs on the road versus the #1 Orange. Long odds became virtually impossible when it was learned publicly just an hour or so before Saturday night’s game that Providence’s best player and leading scorer, point guard Vincent Council (16.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.1 APG) would be held out of the game due unspecified coach’s decision. Council was coming off a 15-point, 14-assist performance in the Louisville win and had 17 points and five assists in the first meeting with the Orange. Not only is Council Providence’s leader, he is their only legitimate point guard averaging 37.7 minutes per game as a result. In the court system that is Providence basketball, the judge, jury and probably even court stenographer is head coach Ed Cooley. After the game, as reported in the Providence Journal, Cooley termed the reason for sitting Council an “accountability issue,” adding “it could be multiple games but it definitely is my decision.” Council’s suspension represented a bold move by first-year head coach Cooley, who is trying to change the culture of what was an undisciplined program under former coach Keno Davis.