The time is near. Providence vs. Kentucky. The Bryce Hopkins revenge game. Initially, I thought Kentucky was a lock. Oscar Tshiebwe is a monster and Coach Calipari is a legend. A true dynamic duo, despite any season struggle or tournament seeding.
But then I remembered, it's March, and the Friars are notoriously "lucky". Ironically enough, it's St. Patty's Day, so you Best believe the luck has to fall in the Friar side.
Prior to today, I rewatched the Selection Sunday video multiple times. I may just be overreacting, but to be honest, Coach Cal looked nervous.
So, befofe I released my bracket, I sold myself back on the Friars. Not because of this video (soley), but because of the bigger picture. Ed Cooley is a dynamic and inspiring coach. Providence was effective in the Big East all season long. They may be lucky, but you can't deny their talent.
PC comes in as four and half point underdogs, and here's three reasons why the upset is possible.
Luck and History
Like I mentioned, St. Patty's Day, the luck of the Friars, I mean Irish, is this destiny? The tagline speaks for itself and should in the 6 vs. 11 matchup. Since 1985, the 11-seed has won this matchup 37.5 percent of the time. However, an 11 seed has beaten a 6 seed at least twice in six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. Also, if we're talking upsets, just look at this bracket thus far. No. 15 Princeton over No. 2 Arizona,No. 13 Furman over No. 4 Arizona, so why not us?
The Kentucky transfer leads leads the team with 16.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The storyline is obviously the reunion between Providence's star player and his former squad, and that shouldn't be lost in the shuffle. If Hopkins is on his A game, then the success will follow for Providence.
Providence is in the top 20 of the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, and the Friars secure more than 35% of missed shots on the offensive glass. They are a top 30 team in free throw attempts (22.1 per game), and have a high percentage in shooting across the board. They don't turn the ball over a lot, just 16.7%, which is crucial in this matchup. Providence has five players averaging double figures, while Kentucky's defense is barely top-100 in the league.