(photo by Joey P via Facebook)
(photo by Joey P via Facebook)
The Providence Friars just upset the #1 team in the nation, beating Pittsburgh 81-73.
Just an unbelieveable night for the Friars and for the seniors. PC led for the whole entire game, and as much as 20 early on the second half. They got DeJuan Blair into some foul trouble, and really didn’t let Pitt get in any offensive flow. Even though they had a double digit lead for most of the 2nd half, it was still nerve wrecking.
It was truly a team effort on offense for Providence, with Weyinmi Efejuku leading team with 16 points, and 4 others reaching double digits.
Now, onto the seniors.
Thank you. You truly deserved to win this game in your last ever at THE DUNK. I couldn’t be happier for you guys. Enjoy the win!
In all my 10 years as a PC fan, this definitely ranks as the best ever.
(AP Photo/Stew Milne)
MUCH MUCH more to come later tonight and tomorrow!
RTC will be liveblogging the game from courtside and will be taking questions and comments from fans to ask players and coaches in the locker room afterwards. You want to know how a Hollywood guy like Jamie Dixon gets such toughness out of his players? Ask away.
But join us Tuesday night, as RTC Live will give you the analysis and answers that no other media source will get. 7pm eastern time. See you then…
Say what you want about the Providence Friars senior class. Tonight, they have a chance to avenge the GREAT LOSS OF 2004 (or whatever you want to call it). A chance to pull off an amazing win over the #1 ranked team in the country. While it would not erase the failures of that 2004 season, or even gaurantee that this team would make the NCAA tournament, it would provide an excellent moment in PC Basketball History.
I usually put a lot of engery and caring about Providence winning each game. Tonight, I don’t think I’ll ever pull for these Seniors harder. For Geoff McDermott, Weyinimi Efejuku, Jeff Xavier, Jonathan Kale, and Randall Hanke, it will be their last game ever played at THE DUNK in front of their fans. They have always represented Providence College with nothing but class, and I truly think they deserve to win this game. So let’s go out there and beat the #1 team in the nation!!!
TV: Cox in RI, SNY in NY Area, ESPN360.com
GAMBLING AND PREDICTIONS
Spread: Pittsburgh -8.0 [ProvidenceStats Twitter]
Ken Pomeroy: Pitt W, 86-74 (84% confidence)
CBS Sportsline: Pitt W, 83-72
ESPN.com: Stats LLC Preview
The Panthers lost their first road game after ascending to No. 1 last month, a fate they’ll try to avoid Tuesday night as they go for their ninth straight victory over Providence.
The Sports Network: Top-ranked Panthers head north to battle Friars
The Pittsburgh Panthers have taken over the top spot in the AP poll, and they figure to carry a wealth of confidence into tonight’s Big East Conference road clash with the Providence Friars.
Courier Journal: Could Pitt lose to Providence?
But … this is Providence’s ninth and final Big East home game. That means it’s Senior Night for the Friars. Perhaps an extra serving of emotion for a veteran team that understands it needs to defeat a team like Pitt to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.
Friars.com: Men’s Basketball
On Tuesday, February 24 the Friars will play top-ranked Pittsburgh at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars have posted a 16-27 mark all-time versus the Panthers. The Friars are 12-8 at home, 3-18 on the road and 1-1 on neutral courts all-time against Pittsburgh. The two teams first met on March 18, 1975 with the Friars earning a 101-80 win at Madison Square Garden in the NIT. Pittsburgh has won the last eight contests between the two teams, including an 82-63
win at Pittsburgh last season. PC’s last win over Pittsburgh was a 77-61 victory on January 23, 2001 in Providence. Pittsburgh will be making its first appearance in Providence since February 15, 2006.
Projo.com: PC vs. Pitt: Friars set to face new No. 1
If Pitt can stay anywhere near the top spot, it will earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. If the Panthers keep playing like they are right now, they could advance to the school’s first Final Four since 1941.
Barring an upset, the Friars five seniors will end their home careers in a game where they figure to be overmatched, a game against a team whose goal is to get to the Final Four while the Friars’ is to get to the NCAA Tournament.
NBE Providence: Providence Set to Host No. 1 Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has reclaimed the No. 1 ranking atop both the AP and Coaches Polls and will but that ranking on the line with a couple of road games this week, beginning with a trip to Providence to take on the Friars.
PittsburghPanthers.com: Men’s Basketball Travels to Providence for Tuesday Matchup at 7 p.m.
Riding a seven-game win streak and six-game league win streak, No. 4 ranked Pitt (25-2, 12-2 Big East) travels to Rhode Island to take on Providence (16-11, 8-7 Big East) Tuesday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET. Pitt has four more Big East regular season games remaining.
PittNews.com: Davis, Providence look to knock down No. 1 Panthers
Last season, Keno Davis took the Drake Bulldogs — a program expected to finish near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference — and helped them to a 28-5 record and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Now, one year later, the reigning AP Coach of the Year hopes to surprise the college basketball world once again by upsetting the top-ranked team in the NCAA.
Pitt Blather: The Game is Almost Sidebar
For Providence, it is about facing the #1 team. A team that sure seems scary when someone else writes about them.
No one seems to be giving Providence much of a chance despite being above .500 in the conference. Perhaps that is because they just have won and lost the games that were expected.
BleacherReport: This Week at the Pete: Pitt Makes a Statement
It has been almost five years since Aaron Gray threw down the dunk heard round New England in a 27 point defeat of a highly ranked Providence squad. The Providence basketball program has not been the same since that game and Tuesday night is their chance to exorcise some demons.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: No. 1 ranking in April is Pitt’s goal
Pitt will be No. 1 again when the national polls are released today, but don’t expect a Super Bowl-like celebration on the Oakland campus. It was a big deal when it happened in early January for the first time in school history. The first time in anything is always terrific. But it doesn’t seem quite so important now even if it still is a tremendous accomplishment.
Pitt has bigger plans.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pitt Basketball: Biggs’ improved play no small thing
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon wasn’t about to place Tyrell Biggs’ picture on a milk carton, but his starting power forward had seemed to have gone missing from the Pitt offense for more than a month.
Biggs had gone 10 games between posting double digits before he scored 13 points in Pitt’s 80-61 victory against DePaul Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center.
UPDATE: Listen to KMac’s Audio Preview
I exchanged some questions for our big matchup on Tuesday.
Friarblog.com: Before this season, Pittsburgh has never been number 1…yet here we are in February, and you guys have already taken the top spot on two different occasions. Is anyone going to hold on to this thing before the tourney starts? Does it even matter to you, as long as you eventually get a #1 seed?
Chas: I won’t be surprised to see it change at least once or twice more. I won’t lie, it was great to get to the #1 ranking since it had never happened for Pitt. Several times, at #2, but never breaking through. The hope is that it is merely foreshadowing for what Pitt can do in the NCAA Tournament — having never won more than two games in the Dance — breakthrough.
Really, being #1 ranked isn’t a big concern in late February. All that matters is seeing a #1 next to Pitt in the NCAA Tournament bracket — and ideally having that as the final ranking in April.
Friarblog.com: I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but most Friar fans still hold Pittsburgh responsible for PC’s mediocreness over the past five years. In 2004, you guys came to Providence in March for a big game that meant first place in the BIG EAST and you just pasted us. Our team hasn’t been the same since. What do you remember about that game? You’d be surprised how often that game is referenced around Friartown.
Chas: You blame Pitt for the consistent slightly below average performance? I thought that was part of Welsh’s legacy. Have a team with promise, not beat anyone of note, win most of the other games that you should and then leave after a cup of coffee at the BET. Oh, and complain of how close that things could have been but for injuries and bad luck.
Okay, you know what, we’ll take it. That’s a bit flattering.
Actually I do remember that game somewhat. It was a big bounce back win for Pitt after losing to Syracuse at the Pete. I had to listen to the game on the computer and continually update for scores (I don’t live in a Big East market). Shut down Ryan Gomes. Welsh whined like crazy after that game about Pitt being too physical.
Friarblog.com: In both losses this year, DeJuan Blair got into some foul trouble. What do you think is another area of the game that could lead to a Providence upset? Don’t worry, I won’t blame you if you say “None”.
Chas: Well, there is Efejuku, Brooks and Curry having career nights from the perimeter. The three point shot is the great equalizer and that is part of the Friar legacy.
I never take a game for granted (DePaul excepted this year) out of sheer fear. It’s a road game, and a Friar team that absolutely needs a big win to make a case for the NCAA over the NIT.
The good news for Pitt is that the team has shown that it can handle teams that try to make the tempo go up, and can score a lot more than they have in Dixon’s tenure.
Friarblog.com: If you had to pick one of the following, what would it be?: DeJuan Blair missing the game due to food poisoning or Jim Burr and Ed Hightower strolling out onto the court to ref the game.
Chas: Food poisoning. At least in a regular season game.
Friarblog.com: If someone questioned Jamie Dixon’s salary, how would he react?
Chas: He’d probably give a sheepish grin. Definitely stammer a bit before referring to his “Pocket guide to coachspeak and cliches: How to speak without saying anything” to find the right way to say nothing.
Friarblog.com: Final Prediction or thoughts
Chas: I’m just hoping to be able to watch the game and not spend the night sick. I’ve got two kids with some nasty bug that is coursing through them — and being expelled at the top and bottom with volcanic fury. Today’s word of the day, kids: vasectomy.
Oh, you were looking for something pertaining to the actual game.
I expect Providence to keep it close if not lead for a bit in the first half. Definitely make Pitt a little nervous. In the second half, though, I think Pitt will pull away and come away with a 87-75 win.
Thanks Chas! Best of luck to Pitt for the rest of the year (after tonight), and in the NCAA tournament!
According to The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was “dumbfounded” by this week’s coaches poll. WVU got 96 votes in the AP Poll, which would place them unranked, but essentially 27th place. However in the coaches’ poll, WVU got just SEVEN votes — good for 34th place.
“I’m dumbfounded,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins on Monday. “A week ago, we didn’t even get a vote from the coaches.
“It pains me to say this, but it’s one of the few times the writers know more than the coaches.”
Hey Bob, that’s why you should only pay attention to the CBS BlogPoll! For anyone interested, the article that combines all the bloggers’ votes went up today. WVU is 23rd by the way (which is EXACTLY where I ranked them).
For the second week in a row, I placed third in the calculation for “Mr. Numb Existence”, which means my voting was 3rd closest to the actual voting. That sounds cool, but the name of the award makes me feel sad. Hey, at least my name shows up in the article a few times.