What To Expect Against Harvard

What can Friar fans expect from the closed door scrimmage on November 1st against Harvard? Not a lot of details from Ed Cooley.

At least not officially. While the rule that restricts schools from releasing statistics or having media attend these "secret" scrimmages is widely considered to be archaic and silly, the rule is what the rule is. Every year ESPN's Jeff Goodman manages to get a pretty comprehensive list of these scrimmages including details like opponents and dates. The "unofficial" statistics that aren't even supposed to be kept manage to leak out and "sources" tell media members how players and teams looked.

This will be the 3rd straight year that Providence has scrimmaged Harvard. Last season Friar fans were encouraged to hear that oft-injured Kris Dunn had a good showing against the Crimson. Harvard enters the 2014-15 season as a borderline top 25 team who is receiving votes in the inaugural release of the USA Today Coaches' Poll (they would technically be 26th based on votes) and they have been picked as the favorite in the Ivy league. While it remains to be seen exactly how much information gets leaked from this scrimmage, Friar fans would likely be happy to hear that the result is close and no one gets hurt. With redshirt freshman Rodney Bullock out for the season with a torn ACL the front court depth took a hit. Freshman Ben Bentil was recently cleared for competition by the NCAA Clearinghouse which will help as he has looked very impressive in practice.

It's hard to say what the format will be but many of these scrimmages end up being very similar to actual games. There are real referees and real clocks and real competition. Sometimes coaches will agree ahead of time to set up certain scenarios that they want to go over with their teams to prepare for the upcoming season. Based on what I've seen and heard of practices so far I think Friar fans can expect to hear more positive reviews of Kris Dunn.

Dunn has shown his innate athletic ability and much less rust than I expected to see from someone who only played in 4 games during November last season. Reports out of Friartown indicate that freshman Jalen Lindsey will not play due to a finger ailment. He's on pace to be ready for the season opener on November 15th against Albany though. This will be a good opportunity to see freshman Ben Bentil and Paschal Chukwu get some action against someone besides teammates as they weren't able to make the team's trip to Italy in August.

With the season opener being exactly two weeks from the Harvard scrimmage I would think this would be helpful for Ed Cooley and his staff as they look to finalize their starting lineup and rotation which figures to go about 9 deep this season. Having options off the bench will be somewhat new territory for Ed Cooley in his tenure at Providence after dealing with all kinds of NCAA eligibility and injury issues in his first 3 season in Friartown.

You can find more of Mike Hopkins work at his site pcbb1917.com or on Twitter @pcbb1917.

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