When you think about where this program was when Ed Cooley took over, and where they are now, on the verge of program history, it’s truly remarkable. Ed Cooley deserves this. The players who have grinded, connected, and grown together all year long deserve this. The PC community that has made the Dunk a mad house deserves this.
We all know, though, that a Big East regular season championship isn’t deserved, it’s earned. The Friars will certainly have to earn it as Creighton comes in as winners of six straight. So let’s look at the keys to bringing a Big East title home to Friartown!
I want to start this preview with Ed Cooley’s introductory press conference 11 years ago. You can watch the entire thing but wanted to focus on the 4:13 mark. Cooley exclaiming that it is our program with the big line “once we realize that we will absolutely light this place on fire. If you’re late, don’t come in”.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before: the Providence Friars built a solid lead and executed down the stretch to hold onto said lead. That seems to be the secret recipe this season as the Friars once again won a game decided within 5 points. The Providence Friars are 8-0 in such games. The Crier was worried about this one. St John’s, now 11-9 (3-6), came in desperately needing a win and Providence was coming off an emotional rollercoaster last week. The betting line stunk to high heaven, and a let down seemed inevitable. Welp what the Crier didn’t realize was this team is built different. They stay calm, cool and collected in crunch time and just know how to win. With the win the Friars are now 19-2 (9-1), their best start since the 72-73 Final Four team. Let’s take a look how they got it done.
When Providence first met the Shaka Smart led Golden Eagles, Marquette was 8-6 and amidst a 3-game losing streak. Since then, they’ve been arguably the hottest team in college basketball with 7-straight wins including a 32 point beat down of PC in Milwaukee. The blizzard may have pushed it off a day, but they make their return trip to the Dunk, with the Friars are looking for vengeance. The streak started with the Friars, let’s end it with the Friars!
The Friars have returned from COVID pause and had themselves a 2-0 week. PC fended off a pesky Bulldog team 69-62 at the Dunkin Donuts Center. PC is now 12-0 at the friendly confines of the Dunk. With the win the Friars are now 16-2 and 6-1 in Big East play. Let’s look at how it went down.
The biggest question with the Providence Friars was how they’d respond after a 32-point blowout loss. It may have taken a little bit of time but the Friars certainly answered the bell defeating St. John’s 83-73 at The Dunk on Saturday. With the win it gave coach Cooley his 300th win as a head coach.
It was a night to forget for Friar fans, as Providence (13-2, 3-1) dropped their first Big East contest in a 56-88 loss to Marquette. Going into the game the Crier expected to see a desperate Marquette team but certainly didn’t expect the Friars to get run out of the gym. So let’s take a look at how it went down.
Going into the game there were a lot of uncertainties. Both teams coming off a lengthy COVID pause, Hall being down to 8 players, and the Friars playing basically a 7 man rotation. In the end it was the Friars cruising to a 70-65 victory despite a resilient Pirate team not going away. For the Friars, (12-1, 2-0) it was their fifth Quad 1 victory and their 7th straight victory overall. Some called it a street fight, let’s see how it went down.
On Monday the Providence Friars jumped one spot in the Top 25 without playing a single game to #21. It is a position many teams across the country have faced as the Omicron variant makes it’s way through the US. PC will get their first shot as playing as a ranked team this season when they host #15 Seton Hall at the Dunk Wednesday at 7pm EST on FS1. Providence hasn’t played in 11 days and apparently has players in COVID protocol. Seton Hall, on the other hand, haven’t played since dispatching instate rival Rutgers on December 12th. Given the lay-off, the boys at the Providence Crier have no clue what to expect going into a normally massive conference game.
As the Crier stated on the latest episode of the Providence Crier Podcast, there is plenty to be merry about in Friartown. The Friars are off to their first 11-1 start since the 2015-2016 season. The team has stuffed their stockings with good wins over Wisconsin and Uconn on the road, Texas Tech at home and Northwestern on a neutral court. Providence is the only team with 4 Quad1 wins. The road win at then #20 UConn tipped the scales to finally get some recognition from the AP poll voters with PC checking in at #22 this week. There really isnt much more that we could ask for from the Friars, but we live in a capitalistic society. There can always be more. So BOC and I decided to make a Christmas wish list for the team. Enjoy.