BOC’s Way Too Early Non-Conference Prediction

The Providence Friars have released their non-conference schedule ahead of the 2023-2024 season. I must say that I believe it sets them up quite nicely to be a nationally ranked team ahead of conference play. I may be tipping my hand there on how I foresee the non-conference playing out, but so be it.

There were too many times in the Cooley era where the Friars would stumble out of the gates in non-conference play and have to rely on a Herculean effort in conference play to make the NCAA tournament. Do you know how many Thanksgiving weekends were ruined in the BOC household due to Providence seemingly forgetting how to play basketball in a holiday tournament?

The rub is that Coach Cooley would miraculously find a way to dig them out of their grave and get them into the NCAA tournament with superb conference results. The “cold water in the face” reality, however, is that those late season runs masked the fact that the blemishes of the non-conference put a cap on how high they would be ranked in the NCAA tournament. Too often, Providence would rely on being one of the “hottest” teams heading into March only to realize that a first round win as a 8-11 seed often meant they were facing off against a 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed in the Round of 32. That’s not a recipe for sustained success in the NCAA tournament, exemplified by Cooley’s below average March record at Providence.

I make mention of all of this because I’ll go on record stating that anything less than a Sweet 16 with this year’s roster is falling short of what this team should achieve. Coach Cooley, for all the negative things said about him, had this team and roster primed to make a serious run in 2023-2024. While English is in his first year coaching in arguably the toughest version of the Big East since its realignment, I do think Providence has a chance to be a second weekend type tournament team. Thus, it is imperative that PC comes out of the gates hot in non-conference play and doesn’t have to rely on playing catch-up in conference play.

Without further ado, my predictions below:

BOC’s Game by Game Preview

Columbia University – At home, this should be a 15-20 point win. The talk will be the physical transformation of Bryce Hopkins, the stark contract in offense to Ed Cooley’s offensive strategy with PC shooting a plethora of three’s, and how the newcomers from George Mason fit into the roster. Win.

Milwaukee – Win. Garwey Dual gets serious minutes and showcases his talents on both ends of the court. 2-0.

Wisconsin – This one would scare me if it were on the road, but I think Providence out-athletes the Badgers and secures the W. 3-0. With this win, Providence is teetering on Top 25 ranking.

2023 Baha Mar Hoops Championship – If I had to rank likelihood of outcomes here by most likely to least likely, it would be: 1-1, 2-0, 0-2. I can’t get a feel on this tournament, but think we end up splitting. I’ll also be in attendance with a few Friar alums, so I’m hopeful that rights any holiday tournament wrongs from past seasons. For what it is worth, I believe Providence is by far the most talented team of the quartet and should win this whole thing. Kansas State and Miami lost a lot from last season, and Georgia is Georgia. For now, I’ll rely upon my PTSD from holiday tournaments and say they go 1-1. 4-1 on season.

Lehigh University – Win. 5-1.

Wagner College – Win. 6-1.

University of Rhode Island – This is a rivalry game in name only. URI’s roster and team is seemingly in shambles. Providence should win this one by 30+. 7-1.

University of Oklahoma – On the road in Norman, Providence unexpectedly drops this one. I think PC will be favored, but will have their first “ugly” game of the season. 7-2.

Brown University – Brown has a history of ruining the resume of the Friars of recent. This will be a close one throughout, with many grumbling throughout the game about why the heck we scheduled this game in the first place (myself leading that charge). PC squeaks out a win. 8-2.

Sacred Heart University – Providence closes out non-conference with a strong performance. 9-2 and receiving votes for AP Top 25 heading into the gauntlet of Big East play.


This non-conference isn’t too daunting, especially for a veteran squad like Providence. Providence will likely be starting a Sophomore, Redshirt Sophomore, Junior, Junior, and Grad Transfer. There should be no excuses about a new coach, continuity, etc. This is a team that is built to win now and has played a ton of college basketball games. Anything less than 8-3 and question will begin to arise about Kim English, for better or worse. While I predicted 9-2 above, I think the odds of them being above 9 wins are far greater than being below 9 wins.

The Crier’s Take– I’m with BOC on predicting 9-2, however I won’t be surprised if they miss the mark. We have to remember that the roster needs to have cohesion and the premier teams on the schedule aren’t givens. Wisconsin should be good given they were a team that lost so many close games last year and returns a bunch. Kansas St may not have an encore season but Arthur Kaluma and North Texas guard Tylor Perry will do their best Nowell/Johnson impression. Jordan Miller is a tough guy to replace but Miami still return serious talent. The point is the premier games will be tough and while the Friars have plenty of talent themselves it may time for them to gel. The fans shouldn’t get frustrated if they don’t go 9-2 yet it wouldn’t surprise me either if they exceed that mark.

One thought on “BOC’s Way Too Early Non-Conference Prediction”

  1. As I X’ed I do believe this schedule will hurt our all important NET because of the low number for SOS. I think that Mike and BOC are too optimistic of the schedule outcome but sincerely hope they are right!

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