Originally, the Providence Friars were slated to take on the likes of Gonzaga, Louisville and Oklahoma State in the Empire Classic. When it was announced the tournament would be held in Newark as opposed to MSG, all of the teams backed out. Looking for a new out of conference tournament, the Friars will join Northwestern, Georgia and Virginia in the Roman Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper.
Going into the year, the tournament presented a good opportunity to face Virginia in the title game, which would be an opportunity to knock off a top 25 team. Unfortunately, the season hasn’t unfolded that way. While Northwestern is off to a 4-0 start like the Friars, the other side of the bracket hasn’t fared that well. Georgia is 2-2 after falling to Georgia Tech by 10. UVA is also shockingly 2-2, with losses to Navy and Houston. We are stating the obvious, but UVA will not be ranked.
Regardless of the struggles of Georgia and UVA, the Legends Classic is a huge opportunity for the Friars. It’s quite possible that the champion will be playing the second game of Monday’s session. While we will break down the Northwestern game in more detail, it gives PC another opportunity to secure a potential quad 1 victory. This Northwestern team is pretty much the same team that beat PC by 9 two years ago with a few new faces. PC will look to avenge the loss, and this time Nate Watson will be suited up for the Friars. If PC is fortunate enough to advance you’d want to hope PC draws the Cavaliers. While UVA doesn’t look great now, they are well coached by Tony Bennett and could recover from the early season struggles to be a bubble team come ACC play.
Providence of recent has performed pretty horrifically in non-conference holiday tournaments. We are cautiously optimistic about this team, but fear the rug being pulled out from the fanbase at any given moment. This will be another litmus test for the squad. Providence has already passed the first test of the season by knocking off Wisconsin on the road. If we are to believe this Friar squad is truly legitimate, I think at a minimum they should go 1-1 in Newark with 2-0 being the obvious goal.
The Friars are in the midst of a massive stretch of their schedule. After the Legends Classic, PC will face St Peter’s before home games against Texas Tech and URI. If PC a can take the Legends Classic and then beat St Peter’s Saturday, we believe Providence will be ranked in the Top 25.
Make sure you follow along with the Crier this week as we will have full coverage of the Legends Classic, as BOC and I will have boots on the ground in Newark.