For the casual viewer, college basketball doesn't resonate with them until March Madness begins, but for that casual fan, they are missing out on some electric performances.
One of those performances happened last night. The Providence College Friars, who were picked 7th in Big East preseason polls, is now closing in at the top spot. They came into the last nights game, ranked in the Top-16 and bouncing back from a loss to Villanova and a close one verse Butler. Their opponent was potential tournament bid team in Xavier and man... it was a good old fashion tooth-and-nail battle in the Big East. Neither team has a lead of more than five points until the very end of triple OT.
Every Providence starter finished the game with scoring in the double digits. The Friars are loaded with talent, including one of the best big men in the league in Nate Watson, top tier defender in Justin Minaya, a great closer in Al Durham, and sharp shooters in AJ Reeves and Noah Horchler. But the guy who seems to be making clutch plays and is always in the mix is junior guard Jared Bynum. Last night, he scored 27 points, including a key 3-pointer to help Providence hold off Xavier. He has proved his worth to this team, and has helped Providence succeed this season.
Providence has been doubted by the analytics and have been touted as a "lucky team". At this point, it can't be luck, but pure talent. The "Be Them Dudes" mentality is in full force, as the Friars are 23-3 this season, and 13-2 in the Big East. Ed Cooley is a coach of the year candidate. The Friars are ranked 11th, and will be one of the top-four seeds in the tournament in a few weeks. If they win against Creighton on Saturday, they will win the Big East regular season title for the first time in their history.
In 1973 and 1987, the Friars made the final four. In 1994 and 2014, Providence won the Big East tournament. This year? Well, "It feels like 2022". Don't sleep on the Friars, and don't miss out on College Hoops games.