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Could Friars Be A Bubble Team?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

 

With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, many college basketball teams are attempting to make their final push towards getting a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

For the top teams in the country it’s about trying to secure a top seed. With no clear-cut #1 team this year, the top seeds in all four regions are up for grabs. At the moment, every team in the top 10 of both the AP and USA Today top 25 polls have a legitimate chance to secure a #1-seed depending upon the way they finish the regular season and perform in their conference’s postseason tournament.

And then there are teams like the Providence Friars.

Left for dead about a month and a half ago, PC has picked itself up off the mat and is now at least on the periphery of the discussion about possibly being a “bubble team.”

Don’t believe me? Following the team’s win over 21st-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday, the bleacher report had an article asking fans if Providence College or Villanova had a better chance of making it to the NCAA Tournament.

It seems crazy to be thinking that this is a possibility for the Friars given what happened in late December and early January.

From December 22nd through January 9th, PC suffered through a 5-game losing skid that featured “bad” losses to Boston College, Brown and DePaul.

It is this writers opinion that, unless they run the table to finish the regular season which would include a win over 8th-ranked Syracuse at the Carrier Dome Wednesday night, that those “bad” losses would be enough to hurt their resume’ from getting a spot in the field of 68.

So why, then, are some people even bringing up the possibility of PC having a shot at the Tournament? Let’s take a closer look.

At the time this article was written, the Friars sported an overall record of (14-11) and were (6-7) in the Big East. PC is also riding a 4-game winning streak and has what many believe to be four winnable games in their remaining five.

After their trip to Syracuse, Providence has road games at Rutgers and UConn and home games against St. John’s and Seton Hall.

What if they were to win 4 of their remaining 5 games? That would leave them with a record of (18-12) and (10-8) in the Big East.

The 18-wins would not be impressive, but the 10 victories in the Big East would be. Add to that the fact that the team would be “finishing the season strongly” by winning 8 of their last 9 games, and you could see where the selection committee might take notice.

Currently, PC’s RPI is 86th and on the rise. If they were to win 4 of their last 5, that RPI ranking would surely be right in that bubble area of 50-65.

But those “bad” losses to BC, Brown and DePaul may ultimately prevent them from participating in the Big Dance.

At the moment, their two victories over ranked teams came at home against Cincinnati and Notre Dame.

NCAA Tournament committee selection chairman Mike Bobinski said in a recent interview that he was looking for teams who could pick up quality wins on the road because there are no home games in the Tournament. PC’s only decent road win is at Villanova.

If, however, they were to pull off a monumental upset of Syracuse tomorrow night, that would be the marquee win they would need to solidify their resume.

But let’s also consider the following, while the team is clearly playing a much better brand of basketball as of late, to think that they will win all or even 4 of their remaining 5 games in the Big East may not be realistic.

For while we may look at Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall and UConn all as “winnable games” for the Friars, so too do the Scarlet Knights, Red Storm, Pirates and Huskies view their match-up with Providence.

However, obsessing over whether or not PC has a chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament is missing the point.

Ed Cooley

What Friar fans should be happy about is that this team has finally bought in to what Ed Cooley is teaching and preaching and it is showing in the form of wins on the floor.

In fact, you can certainly argue that this team has already overachieved this season given the expectations coming in.

Let’s not forget that Providence was picked to finish last in the 15-team Big East Conference. We can confidently now say that this is not going to happen.

So while the NCAA Tournament may not be within reach this season, they may very well have what it takes to make the NIT. And that experience could help them with an eye toward next season where they may very well have a legitimate shot to participate in the Big Dance.

 

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Comments:

Thanks Scott, all the team needs to do is win baby!! We still don't know PC's potential!!! Dunn and Fortune keep getting better, Henton plays tough D who knows. Love to see them knock off your "Orange" OH YEAH!!! Hey seriously, I have a new golf swing and I guarantee that whoever in the A Division gets me we will win and make a lot of $$$$. So maybe you will be the lucky one.

thanks

wally

Comment #1 by Wally M on 2013 02 19

The loss to Penn State (RPI 197) hurts too. The list of bubble teams right now is very large and will dwindle in the next few weeks. Hopefully, the Friars will continue to make their push.

Comment #2 by Bobby Townsend on 2013 02 19

It may be wishful thinking to consider PC as a bubble team but it helps this dreary winter pass. I'm happy to see the Friars beginning to gel as a team. The remaining 5 games should prove interesting but, absent a major road victory at Syracuse, I think NCAA dreams for this year are purely that, dreams. However, there is real talent on this team and if the players continue to play for 40 minutes and listen to Coach Cooley, who knows???

Comment #3 by Harold Stassen on 2013 02 19

Wally:
I don't care how good that new swing of yours is, you still have to make putts! lol!

Comment #4 by Scott Cordischi on 2013 02 19

Bobby:

I agree that Penn State is a bad team but the committee would likely take into account how shorthanded the Friars were in Puerto Rico as they had only 6 guys available for that game if I'm not mistaken. That's why I did not add Penn State to the "bad loss" category.

Comment #5 by Scott Cordischi on 2013 02 19

Harold:

You are 1000% correct! I'm as optimistic as the next guy and would LOVE to see PC make it to the Big Dance. But I also am a realist and believe that it will not happen this year because I do not see them running the table. However, the future appears to be bright.

Comment #6 by Scott Cordischi on 2013 02 19

I do not know how realistic a NCAA berth is. I do think Coach Cooley should be the Big East Coach of the Year, though. Show me another coach who started out in a worse situation, and did better with the limited number of players that he had.

Comment #7 by Michael Trenn on 2013 02 20

Michael:

Given that PC was picked to finish last, he certainly should receive consideration for Coach of the Year honors.

Comment #8 by Scott Cordischi on 2013 02 20

Bobby..the one man "I hate the Friars" "I hate Batts/Henton" team.....an expert in his own little globe

Comment #9 by frank bentley on 2013 02 20

Thank you Frank but you have no idea what you are talking about when talking about me. Yes, I have a personal dislike for Batts and Batts knows that and knows the reason for it.
As for the team, even though I am not a big fan of them, have continued to support the team until recently when I stopped showing up at the DUNK.
As for Henton, I don't know him personally and to say I "hate him" is way off base. I have called him out for pouting or it if I didn't think he was always playing hard but I am always there to give him his due when deserved.

My loyalty is with St. John's University, not Providence College but to say I am a hater of PC is just flat out rediculous.

Comment #10 by Bobby Townsend on 2013 02 20




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