Providence Preview: A Look Ahead at the Maine Black Bears
The Friars (2-1) are playing their third game in five days when they face off against Maine (3-0) on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the DUNK.
Conference: America East
Coach: Ted Woodward (5th season)
Record Last Season: 7-23 (3-13, T8th)
Away Record: 4-10
It may seem troubling that a team that went 7-23 is returning most of its players from last year. However, while they had the youngest average team in the America East Conference, Maine was decimated with injuries all year long. Toward the end of the season, they practically had no point guard, causing the team to finish with the worst turnover margin in the conference.
The Black Bears only lost one starter from last year, Brian Andre (10.8 points per game, good for third on the team last year), and appear healthy for the 2008-09 season.
However, Maine was picked to finish eighth of out nine teams in the America East preseason coaches’ poll. Boston University was picked to finish first.
Maine has gotten off to a surprising 3-0 start this season after beating Northern Illinois, Kennesaw State, and most recently Princeton in OT. They have been shooting pretty well from the field (49%, 54.5% eFG%), but have had trouble in the turnover department (except for the Princeton game). They have also had some trouble on the glass, losing the battle of ORB% in each game.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Mark Scooby, Junior Guard
Scooby was the top scorer and rebounder on last year’s team. More importantly, he was one of the few players who did not get injured and played all 30 games.
Last year 211 of his 314 field goal attempts were from behind the arc, and he converted on 38.9 percent of them. He has gotten off to a slow start so far this season, hitting only 27.8 percent from downtown. The Friars always seem to have trouble defending the three, so Scooby will probably look to bust out
Due to all the injuries last year, Scooby played a lot of minutes, which kept increasing as the season wore on. We’ll see if that has any impact on his season this year.
Despite Maine’s 3-0 start on the road this season, the Friars should still give them a really tough matchup. Maine hasn’t played in a game that is going to be even close to the pace the Friars are going to throw them into.
If they continue to falter on the offensive glass and turn over the ball at a 25 percent to 30 percent rate, they may just follow in Sacred Heart’s footsteps and get run out of the DUNK.
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