NCAA Tournament: Providence College Friars could be darkhorse in the East

Providence College Friars may look simple and ranked number nine in the East, but looks can be deceiving as they are considered as one of the dark horse in the NCAA men’s basketball season dubbed as “March Madness.”

This year is their third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament which is a rare feat in the school’s history and they don’t want to waste that opportunity as they are considered as one of the possible “giant slayers” of the competition. As reported by AOL, the Friars can be a scary team if they play as a unit and with their “dynamic duo” of Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn delivering the goods all the time – coming to compete with a 23-10 win-loss record.

Bentil averages 21.2 points per game with eight rebounds to go with that while Dunn provides the chemistry inside the court as he contributes 16 points per game together with 5.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Not to mention their solid contributor in the person of Rodney Bullock, who plays 32.5 minutes per game and tallies 11.6 points and seven rebounds.

The Friars aim to make a strong run in this year’s campaign and hope to duplicate their 1987 run wherein they landed in the Final Four. They might have some road blocks along the way as they have to play with stronger and top-seeded teams such as North Carolina and USC, but the Friars are unfazed by all of that as they have been battle tested prior to their NCAA Tournament choice.

Who knows, they might be one of the Cinderella stories this year if they score huge upsets along the way. Head coach Ed Cooley, who is in his fifth year as the Friars coach, has made wonders with the squad in history. In his second season with the Friars, Cooley led the Friars to a 19-15 record overall and a 9-9 mark in league play. Included in the 9-9 Big East record in 2012-13 was a 7-2 mark in the last nine games of the conference season, marking the second-best turnaround in the second half of the season in Big East history.

In his third season at Providence, Cooley led the Friars to a 10-8 mark in the Big East Conference and finished tied for 3rd with Xavier and St. John’s. The Friars played as the 4th seed due to losing the tie-breaker with Xavier. They defeated St. John’s in the Quarterfinals, Seton Hall in the Semifinals, and Creighton in the thrilling last at Madison Square Garden, claiming PC’s second tournament title in Big East history.

Photo Courtesy: Brilles Takes Pictures/Flickr 

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