NCAA Basketball Providence Friars

Bubble Watch: Providence’s NCAA Tournament Hopes Take Huge Toll With Blowout Loss to Creighton

Providence Friars, Creighton Bluejays

Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

The Providence Friars had a great opportunity to improve their NCAA tournament chances on Saturday night in Omaha. A win and season sweep over 13th ranked Creighton would have gone a long way.

Unfortunately, the Friars were unable to get the job done as Doug McDermott and the Bluejays jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back. The leading Wooden Award candidate poured in a career-high 45 points and further cemented himself as one of the greatest players in college basketball history. McDermott went 17-of-25 from the field, shooting a robust 68 percent in the 88-73 Creighton victory.

Bryce Cotton led the way in Providence’s losing effort as he scored 23 points and dished out four assists. Those numbers are rather misleading, though, as the Bluejays actually held the Friars top player and scorer to zero points and only three shot attempts in the first half.

While the loss — and the way it was conducted — is certainly discouraging to Ed Cooley and company, the Friars still have plenty of time to right this ship and earn a spot in the upcoming Big Dance.

As mentioned, they do have a really nice win over Creighton earlier in the season and have several other solid — yet not spectacular — wins as well. If they can win two games at the Big East tournament in New York City next weekend, they’ll have a very strong case to make to the tournament’s selection committee.

That’s easier said than done, though, as the Big East — outside of Villanova and Creighton — is essentially a crap-shoot this season and anything next weekend is possible.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27.