For the last several years, the Villanova Wildcats have been the class of the Big East (and of college basketball, if we are being honest). Jay Wright ran a Top 5 program, and Providence often succumbed to the juggernaut that was the Wildcats. Whether it be in conference games or at the Big East Tournament, Villanova has always been the team that found a way to defeat the Friars and stunt their progress. Even last year, with Providence winning the Big East, Villanova went 2-0 against PC. It’s a hurdle that PC has continually struggled to get over.
With Wright no longer at the helm and Providence surging once again this year, Sunday’s game is absolutely a statement game. Not because Villanova is at the top of the Big East, however. It is a game where Providence needs to exorcise the demons and show that this is a new era of PC basketball with a dominant win against the Wildcats. PC needs to show that wilting to a Villanova team is a thing of the past and that they are now the class of the Big East.
We break down the Wildcat team and what Providence needs to do to emerge victorious on Sunday.
There are few “gimmes” in the Big East. This may constitute as one, as Providence hosts the 11-10 Butler Bulldogs. Butler is 3-7 in conference and coming off a shellacking from both Creighton and Connecticut. In their first match-up, Providence beat Butler by 20 and held them to 52 points. Below, we’ll discuss what Providence needs to do to capture another Big East conference victory, as they look to stay on pace with Marquette and Xavier at the top of the Big East.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Big East games rarely are. With the offense struggling to find a rhythm, Noah Locke carried the Friars with a career high 29 points on 11-17 from the floor and 7-12 from deep. Providence needed every ounce of it, as DePaul came in hungry for their second upset bid of the week. The Friars did just enough to hold off DePaul to get to 15-5 overall and 7-2 in the Big East.
Below we break down how the Friars came about getting the home victory.
Providence, coming off a brutal 2 game road trip, is looking to get back in the winning column after two straight losses. In comes DePaul, a suddenly hot team after knocking off the Big East leader Xavier at home. Providence had its way with DePaul on 1/1 when they beat them 74-59 in Chicago. While the Friars should be heavily favored in this (early lines showing -13…wow), one cannot overlook any Big East teams, especially when the Friars are a bit dinged up.
Below, we preview the game and what Providence needs to do to continue to be within arm’s reach of the top of the Big East leaderboard.
Providence has already struck gold in the 2024 Class with the early commitment of 4 Star Top 100 Guard/Wing Kayvauhn Mulready. This sent a message to the recruiting world and specifically in New England that Providence is big game hunting in the 2024 class. With Mulready in the fold, Providence is looking to build an elite backcourt recruiting class with a true three level scoring guard to pair with Mulready.
Enter Kur Teng.
Teng has been a name recruitniks should be familiar with. He’s been the apple of the Providence staff’s eye for several years now. Teng is a high level scoring guard that is extremely familiar with the Providence Friars. Kur Teng plays with the Mass Rivals AAU program, which has been a pipeline for Providence in the form of A.J Reeves and David Duke Jr., to name a few.
Below, we break down the recruitment of Kur Teng, who the main competition is, what his game is all about, and how he would fit within the Providence Friar program.
Providence, coming off a tough road loss to Creighton, is back on the road Wednesday as they play 14-5 and #20 Marquette. Tough sledding for the Friars, eh? Marquette is coming off a loss as well to Xavier, so both programs are looking to avoid starting a losing streak. The game tips at 9PM EST .
If Providence can somehow get a win here and split the road trip at 1-1, they will have gotten through arguably the toughest part of their schedule at 3-1 (home UConn, home St. Johns, road Creighton, road Marquette). With both Providence and Marquette standing at 2 and 3, respectively, in the Big East, this is a massive match-up for both programs. Marquette is looking to even the record with Providence after the classic 103-98 double overtime game at the AMP. Providence, with a win, stays on pace with #8 Xavier to try and repeat as Big East Champions.
We’ll discuss below what the Friars will look to do heading into this game to secure a road victory over the Golden Eagles.
Despite the loss, am I crazy to say that I think more highly about this squad postgame than I did before? Providence was without All-Conference guard Jared Bynum and Pierre and Floyd Jr. were apparently game-time decisions. Add to that a desperate Creighton team who is now completely healthy and a packed CHI Health Center Arena, and this game had the makings of a potential blow-out. Regardless of all of that, Providence was in this game until the final minutes before Creighton was able to pull away.
Let’s get this out of the way now: the horrendous three point shooting, inefficient offense, and careless turnovers had more to do with this game than any complaining about the refs. Did the refs change the way they called the game in the second half? Absolutely. Did both teams get some iffy calls? Yes. But blaming the refs for a loss is an exercise in futility.
The bottom line is that Providence didn’t perform well enough to get the road win, and that is okay. It’s really tough to win on the road in the Big East. They were a possession or two away from making this one very interesting and almost pulling off the win. To me, that speaks volumes to the toughness and make-up of this team.
We discuss what went wrong and what the Friars need to improve on moving forward.
The #19 Providence Friars at 14-3 and 6-0 in the Big East are the top team in the conference. They take on the enigmatic Creighton Bluejays. Creighton, the preseason Top 10 squad and dark-horse national championship contender, is 9-8 on the year and 3-3 in the Big East. So, why are the Friars 6.5 point dogs? Good question.
Creighton has an abundance of talent, but haven’t quite yet figured out how all the pieces work together. Familiar foe Baylor Scheierman transferred over from South Dakota State and is putting up impressive numbers at 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, but that hasn’t translated to the season most Big East fans were anticipating. The Ryan Kalkbrenner injury earlier in the year was also a speed bump Creighton had trouble getting over, but he now appears to be healthy. With all the pieces now in place, Creighton is going to look to make a stretch run to solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament and push for a run at the Big East crown. More importantly, today is an opportunity for them to show why they were thought of so highly coming into this season.
Conversely, Providence has a chance to quiet any remaining critics. A win on the road against the Creighton Bluejays makes quite a statement that the Friars are undoubtedly the team to beat in the Big East.
Below, we preview the game, what to look for, and provide our game predictions.
How do superior teams lose to inferior teams? A short list includes overlooking your opponent, being careless with the ball and not doing the easy things like make free throws. Well, Providence did all of that and more. The crazy thing? They still came away with a win. Good teams find a way to win even when they aren’t playing their best basketball. PC was able to gut out another close victory at home despite playing subpar basketball and having to overcome a Bynum absence.
We recap how the Providence was able to grab a victory from the jaws of defeat. In case you forget, Providence is 14-3, atop the Big East at 6-0, and awaiting an AP national ranking on Monday.
The Friars have heard about the Connecticut Huskies endlessly all year. How many times have we heard some iteration of, “Connecticut is the dominant team in the Big East, they are back to the glory days under Calhoun, etc.”? Push came to shove Wednesday night, and Providence made a statement to the Connecticut program that talk is cheap. At least for now, the Big East still runs through Providence.
Providence was everything that Connecticut thought it was: tough, hard nosed, and the bullies of the Big East. Providence, despite the massive size disadvantage, out-scrapped the Huskies, beat them to 50/50 balls, and welcomed with open arms the physical nature of the game. The Friars hit the Huskies in the mouth, and Connecticut had no answer.
Below, we detail how Providence was able to upset the #4 team in the nation and what this win says about the trajectory of this team and season.