As absurd as it may have seemed a month ago, there is a real chance the Providence College Friars could be dancing in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. If you’re sitting there shaking your head and not believing a word I just said, give me a minute to lay out my case.
The Friars currently sit at 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the Big East Conference standings. Right now it doesn’t seem like much but when you factor in whom the Friars have been, their case becomes much stronger. The have beaten Villanova twice, a ranked Notre Dame, a ranked Cincinnati and if the Friars can win out, they will also have beaten St. John’s and UCONN, two more good teams. PC would then be 18-12, with six quality wins and finish in the top half of the Big East with a 10-8 record. That starts to look a team who has a chance at making the tournament.
Of course, their journey to March Madness wouldn’t stop there, they would also need to win their first Big East tournament game, which would be over another possible bubble team from the conference. Then comes the toughest part, their bid could come down to beating another ranked team, likely to be one of the top three in the Big East standings, in order to put their dancing shoes on. In all, the Friars need a five game winning streak to get in and it is possible.
If this Friars team has taught us anything this season it’s that anything is possible and that they never quit. They didn’t quit when they lost their top two recruits to injury and academics, they didn’t quit when they lost leader, Vincent Council, to injury, they didn’t quit when they were playing with six and seven players early in the year; at no point during this season has this Friars team given up. They could have and recent Friars teams have quit but times are different with head man Ed Cooley and maybe we can thank the focus machine?
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or a sure thing, especially with a current RPI in the mid 80’s but win the next five in a row and that number will change. Another thing to think about is the selection committee’s criteria for making the tournament; if they take injuries and the final 10 games into account, the Friars would have a strong case.
Right now though, it’s all about five. They need to win five games in a row, win five in a row and they will have a strong case for playing in the NCAA Tournament. The drive for five begins tomorrow in the Dunk against St. John’s.
Are you a believer?
you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi