In today’s NBE Basketball Report’s BIG EAST News and Notes article, there is a small blurb about the upcoming Providence Friars game against UCONN.
In one of the most inexplicable streaks in the Big East, and maybe the country, Providence has won their last four games at UConn. So, when the two teams meet in Storrs, the Friars Figure to be Confident When they Visit UConn on Saturday (Greenwich Time) in a Big East contest.
OK, maybe I’ll give you in the BIG EAST, but the country? Really? I think it’s pretty surprising, given how mediocre the Friars have been over the last several years (including on the road), but you have to realize something. I know UCONN fans would say otherwise, but this is a big rivalry game for Providence. Much like whenever we play URI, sometimes it just matter how good either team is — it’s always going to be competitive game.
Let’s take a brief look at those four games Providence has won in a row at Connecticut.
Last season (1/17/08) – Providence 77, UCONN 65
UCONN was ranked 18th in RPI, but not ranked in any of the polls — they were favored by 8.5 points in the game
The Friars just had one of those games, drilling 14 three-pointers. They were certainly fired up to play, and could you blame them after what A.J Price had to say before the game?
“They don’t know how to win, in my opinion, and it showed,” he said, later adding, “We want to blow them out. That’s what we’re going in there to play for. I expect everybody to be ready to play from the beginning, playing hard. We want to blow them out.”
1/27/07 – Providence 84, UCONN 72
UCONN was ranked 111 in RPI at the time of the game. They were favored by 7.5 points
UCONN did not have a strong team two years ago. They finished 12th in the BIG EAST that season and did not make the NCAA tournament with a 17-14 record.
The Friars, however, were pretty decent, compiling an 18-13 record overall, and 8-8 in the BIG EAST. They made the NIT tournament, but lost in the first round to Bradley.
Herb Hill led the game in scoring with 19 points, and also had 11 rebounds.
1/24/04 – Providence 66, UCONN 56
UCONN was ranked #4 in the country in the AP Poll. They were favored by 11.5 points.
OK, this may seem like the most surprising win, given UCONN was at home and so highly ranked — they even won the NCAA tourney that year. Their final record was 33-6. PC’s win was UCONN’s ONLY loss at home that year.
It’s not like the Friars were crap that year though, they were ranked as high as #12 and even made the NCAA tournament themselves. Sure, UCONN had Omeka Okafar, Ben Gordon, and Josh Boone, but we had some guy named Ryan Gomes. Gomes dominated the game with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Which lead to this classic post game conference by Jim Calhoun.
WARNING: THERE ARE TONS OF F-BOMBS IN THIS!
1/23/03 – Providence 76, UCONN 70
UCONN was ranked #23 in RPI, but not ranked in any of the polls. They were favored by 9 points.
UCONN made it to the sweet 16 that year, while Providence was NIT bound after a decent 18-14 (8-8 in BIG EAST) season.
Once again Ryan Gomes was able to dominate UCONN and Omeka Okafor. Gomes clearly played with a chip on his shoulder when playing UCONN, since he was from Connecticut and not recruited by Calhoun. The man was on a mission, even as an upcoming sophomore. Gomes had a game high 26 points. Future NBAers Ben Gordon (21 points) and Okafor (24 points) had their usual great games, but no one else on the team scored in double digits.
So, there you have it. One really surprising win in ‘04 (the only time UCONN was ranked among the four games), but clearly attributed to Ryan Gomes and his will to dominate UCONN.
Can the Friars make it 5 in a row?