Revisiting The Providence Crier’s 2022-2023 Season Preview and Bold Predictions

Mike and I tend to think we know the Big East and Providence Friars fairly well. Reviewing our predictions for the Friars and Conference as a whole certainly was a humbling endeavor. Below, we break down what things we were right about (very little) and what things we missed the boat on (a lot).

Big East Conference Standings

BOC: I had the Friars finishing 6th, and I was close to nailing that one as they finished 5th. As mentioned all year, I thought this Friar team was a tournament squad, but a few tiers below some of the elite teams in our conference. That proved to ring true especially towards the end of conference play. A few notable misses on conference standings was my faith in Villanova, St. John’s, and Georgetown, and my lack of faith in Marquette. To be fair, nobody besides the Marquette faithful saw this historical season coming for them.

Crier: Before the late season swoon, Providence was accurately tracking as a 3 seed, so I won’t ding Mike too much here. As has transpired all year, the actual results of the Friars fall somewhere in between where Mike and I predict. Besides the Friars and Marquette, Mike had the Big East pegged. His analysis of how the Big East would play out was closer to what actually transpired than mine.

BOC Friar Predictions – Revisiting

  1. Hopkins leads the team in scoring, with Bynum right behind him – I nailed this first part of this one, as Hopkins led the team in scoring clearly with 16.1 points/game. It is easy to say that this was somewhat of a low-hanging fruit prediction, but you have to remember how it was not obvious that Hopkins could shoulder the scoring load. Everybody was bullish on Bryce, but still needed to see it on the court. Suffice to say, he showed it on the court and vastly exceeded expectations. The next closest scorer was almost 3 points behind him in Ed Croswell at 13.2. The Bynum prediction was a bad miss, as you’ll come to see with all of our predictions around Bynum this year.
  2. Croswell leads team in rebounding – Croswell came in second here at 7.6 rebounds to Bryce at 8.5. Again, this speaks more to what Hopkins did this year and how special his season was. Croswell had a remarkable a year as the starting five man.
  3. Bynum and Hopkins make All-Conference – Yes on Hopkins. No on Bynum, obviously. Devin Carter was the other honorable mention All-Conference player. There is comfort in knowing we should have our two All-Conference players back next year.
  4. Devin Carter leads team in steals and competes with Croswell for most on-court scuffles – Undeniably a hit here. In my opinion, Carter was snubbed for Defensive Player of the Year. Carter was the best defensive player on our team by a mile. Regarding the latter part of this prediction, I think I hit the nail on the head too. Both of these players are the emotional leaders of the Friars. I’m hopeful they further seize that role heading into March Madness because there is still a void in leadership on this squad, which is concerning.
  5. Pierre surprisingly gets 15 minutes/game, and is the clear heir apparent to Bynum – I’m going to chalk this up to a miss despite Pierre averaging over 11 minutes/game. I’m saying this is a miss because it isn’t clear to me if Breed is going to be the starting PG next year or potentially incoming blue chip freshman Garwey Dual. Pierre showed a ton of promise this year, and I am supremely confident in his abilities, but there isn’t a clear cut successor to Jared. Bynum also has another year of eligibility should he decide to come back (*ducks*).

Crier Friar Predictions

  1. Friars play with more pace on offense – This was a hit. This was the first Cooley team in awhile where the offense outplayed the defense, which may explain why Providence fans don’t know how to analyze this team. We’re not used to seeing it play out this way! The Friars got out in transition a lot and seemed to thrive in that setting. That should carry over into next year even more, as I expect next year’s team to be even more explosive and athletic.
  2. Jared Bynum will remain First Team All-Big East – Yikes. Everybody missed on Bynum, apparently. Here’s to hoping he can rewrite the narrative in the tournament.
  3. Bryce Hopkins earns an All-Conference spot – Hit.
  4. Noah Locke finishes Top 5 all-time in three pointers made in a season by a Friar – Fifth place is currently at 77 makes. Noah Locke has 70 made on the season. If PC can make a run in the NCAA tournament, he has a chance to get into the Top 5. Locke’s season was incredibly impressive regardless of three pointers made. He showed he can be a complete two guard, which wasn’t something I was expecting. Providence had to rely on him countless times this season to save them offensively, and he often did.
  5. Ed Croswell will record 10 double doubles this season – Ed currently has 8 double doubles. Similar to the prediction above, Providence will need to go on a March run to accomplish this goal. Croswell’s year should be categorized as an unequivocal success. There were questions if he could handle the load as the starting five man, and all he did was ring the bell. Despite his lack of height, he more than held his own in the Big East. The development of Croswell during his time at PC was nothing short of remarkable. He’ll always be a fan favorite in Providence.

BOC Season Record Prediction

20-11, 8/9 seed in NCAA Tournament, Lose in Second Round (PC finished season 21-10 before losing in quarters to UConn).

To be honest, I’m pretty proud of this one. I had an excellent pulse on the team last year, stating before the season started they’d be a Sweet 16 team, and I had a similar read on this year’s team. We’ll publish this before Selection Sunday, but I anticipate Providence to end up as a 10 seed.

The means in which they got to this seeding was not what I expected, however. I thought they would start slow in conference play and hit a groove in February and March. The opposite happened where they surprisingly peaked early in conference play before falling apart down the stretch. I do think this team is still a year early and next year is the year that they will be a consensus Top 15 squad.

Crier Season Prediction

23-8, 5/6 seed, Sweet 16

This is a miss, but Crier was accurately predicting where they’d end up 90% of the season. The late season collapse made this a “miss”, but for most of the season Crier read this team perfectly. The end of season freefall was something none of us really saw happening.

Revisiting Friar Outlook on Season

I thought from Day 1 of this season that this year was going to be the rebuild where everybody saw the foundation for an elite squad in future years to come. I still feel that way, despite the regression of the team at year’s end. Providence’s two all-conference players will almost assuredly be returning, which is a heck of a start for next year. Several core pieces will also be returning in Pierre, Floyd Jr., and Breed to round out the backcourt. Entering into next year knowing you already have 4 of our starters for next year is a really healthy place to be.

All Providence needs to do is land a starting five man in the portal, and they will have a starting line-up that should be a preseason Top 15 type team. Hopkins will get some love as a Preseason All American candidate, as he should. I think Carter has dark-horse Big East Player of the Year potential as well.

I expected this team to have growing pains, and they did in the non-conference and end of conference play. The early part of conference play showed what this team’s ceiling can be, and that ceiling is a Top 10 squad. I had no expectations for this year’s team, and an NCAA tournament bid is qualifies this season as a success in my opinion. Providence replaced all five starters from last year and still should make the NCAA tournament. That’s a massive accomplishment. The future is bright in Friartown.

All we need to see is some noise in the NCAA tournament, and that will be the cherry on top of a successful, albeit volatile, season.

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