The Big East is one of the more underrated conferences in college basketball, and because of this there are multiple teams considered on the 2014 NCAA Tournament bubble. Two of these teams, the St. John’s Red Storm and the Providence Friars faced off in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Big East Tournament.
The game was close from opening tip-off, but the biggest factor was Providence star Bryce Cotton’s inability to score from the field. He went 1 – 10, but made 10 free throws, which is a prime example of what the game came down to. In a chippy game that saw a total of 46 personal fouls, St. John’s went just 50 percent from the free throw line compared to the Friars’ 73 percent. Red Storm guard D’Angelo Harrison had a 21 point, 10 rebound double-double, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Providence, who won 79 – 74.
As if the win over St. John’s wasn’t good enough for the Friars, the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament, the Villanova Wildcats, fell to the Seton Hall Pirates on a buzzer beater. Now, instead of their 2014 NCAA Tournament berth being up to the Selection Committee after a loss to Villanova, they’ll have an opportunity to crush the upset-minded Pirates and secure their spot in the Big Dance.
Providence may only receive a berth for a play-in game, but it’s a lot better than the NIT appearance that the Friars must have been sure that they were headed for during that three game losing streak in February. With all of this confidence from Providence’s good luck, watch out for the Friars in the Big East Championship game as well.