With Win Over Butler, The Friars are Officially in the Game of Big East Thrones

At this point, I’m not even sure many fans panic anymore when the Friars are down in the first half and look lost anymore.

The Friars looked terrible in the first half of the game. For a while it looked like they may not even break 20 points, which they thankfully did. They only shot 33% and couldn’t match Butler’s intensity on either end of the court. The long weekend seemed to have drained the Friars.

And if it did, the time between the first and second half must have been an adrenaline injection into the heart and soul of the Providence Friars that helped them overcome another hump in performance (and scoring) that they needed.

To put it in perspective: the Friars who only hit roughly a third of their shots in the first half hit their first eight shots in the second half. The squad on the floor after the half was doing so well that Ed Cooley didn’t sub them out for over seven minutes. To be cheeky, the difference for the Providence Friars between halves was black and white.

So what does this mean about the Providence Friars? Does their drole first half make them an exposition episode of Game of Thrones before the second half, aka big battle episode of the season? The kind of episode where you’re on the edge of your seat, hopeful in the outcome but nervous all the same? It certainly would describe the sentiment of fans, who seemed to infinitely enjoy the Friars on the attack and hitting back like they did in the second half, as opposed to a passive, hope-and-maintain-the-status-quo play they seemed to show in the first 20 minutes.

If this was like a Game of Thrones episode then it definitely was as memorable as one as ever. The Bulldogs came in ready to knock the Friars down a peg, and throughout the game continued to try and control their own destiny. In the first half it looked likely they would usurp their way to easy victory, and in the second half when the Friars went up and started to control the game they didn’t lose their focus and continued to do whatever would work, even if they did ultimately struggle.

The Friars, meanwhile, adjusted and learned where and how to fight back. This was no Battle of the Blackwater, where Stannis followed the same attack plan regardless of being depleted and ultimately was defeated. This was a 1-2 punch of using the Unsullied and Dothraki on the Field of Fire, along with some dragons, for Dany to get a huge win in her effort to win the Seven Kingdoms.

via GIPHY

In the Game of Thrones, you have to play to your strengths and adjust your game plan as the battle goes on. That’s the difference between teams that can recover their season, teams that maintain their season, and teams that falter. Teams who can adjust their plan and do what’s needed to win the game, even after a rough start, will ultimately win in the Big East. It’s too competitive of a conference to play the status quo, and thankfully the Friars and their battle commander Ed Cooley don’t follow a status quo.

That doesn’t mean fans were comfortable or confident in the outcome. But like a good Game of Thrones episode, everything should feel earned and rewarded. The Friars earned their win against Butler to move up another chain in the Big East, and make a better case for earning an NCAA Bid and place at the top of the Big East food chain. Even after a rough start to the season.

Oh, also – I could have easily made this an “Art of War in Friartown Basketball” type of post, but I didn’t because Game of Thrones isn’t coming back until 2019 and it’s eating me alive that I have to wait this long. So yeah, it’s been on my mind a lot.