There aren’t many bad things you can say about the Providence Friars this year. Not much was expected from them, but that didn’t stop Providence from making an honest run at making the NCAA Tournament. While most believed that Ed Cooley and the Friars were still a year away from doing some real damage, that didn’t prevent them from pushing the limits on this team’s potential.
Coming into yesterday’s game against the Connecticut Huskies, the Friars had rattled off three victories in a row. While they weren’t nearly close to being a “20 win team”, they had a solid balance of good wins and a strong finish, which presumably put them on the bubble. However, Providence needed to do more than just beat a couple of ho-hum Big East teams — they essentially needed to run the regular season table.
That is why their overtime loss to the Huskies on Saturday stings so bad. While UConn is solid, they aren’t world-beaters, and was a team that the Friars needed to win against. Had they have won the game, all Providence would have to do is win against two more quality teams in the Big East Tournament.
Now, they have to win the whole kit-and-caboodle, and winning the Big East Tournament is as tough a task to ask of any team, nevertheless one that has been playing above their potential.
Providence, nor their fans, should consider this season as a disappointment though. Regardless of what they end up doing in the conference tournament, Providence had a great season considering their expectations.
What is really scary about this Providence program is Cooley’s ability to recruit. Even scarier is that no one knew Cooley was this good of an on-the-court coach, showing that the Friars are going to be major players in the new Big East Conference for years to come.
Did the bubble burst? Sure. However, this will be the last time the Friars need to worry about bubbles for a longtime.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone