The upset over #1 Pittsburgh did a lot of things for the program. It got them back into the NCAA Tournament conversation, huge amounts of national exposure, and of course, payback for the spiral Pittsburgh sent the Friars into when they pounded them 88-61 in 2004.
Heading into Sunday at Rutgers, the only thing we should be concerned with is a Providence win — no matter how it’s done. A win keeps the Friars square on the bubble. A loss would mean having to beat Villanova on the road, and potentially two games in the BET. However, I would like to see an ‘ol fashioned a** beating in a game the Friars desperately need to make a surprising trip to the NCAA tournament. I just no longer want to think of Herve Lamizana (pictured right) every time I set foot in the RAC. I was in attendance that night when his buzzer beating three-pointer gave Rutgers a one point victory in 2004 — just days after “The Texas Game”. Just a devastating night to add to the devastating week. Sure, I’ve been to the RAC since and have seen the Friars win (2006), but that game just still haunts me. I want to think “Here is where the Friars followed up an amazing upset of a #1 team with an equally great performance in a BIG EAST road game with NO LET DOWN!”
Despite the fact that Rutgers only has 1 BIG EAST win (which was against winless DePaul), the game might not be easy. PC beat them just a few weeks ago at THE DUNK, but found themselves with only a 1 point lead with a few minutes to go. Rutgers’ best player, Mike Rosario, was a non-factor due to an ankle injury and had only had 5 points on a season low 6 shots. In the three games since, Rosario scored 19 versus Villanova, 15 vs. West Virginia, and 20 vs. Notre Dame.
It will be interesting to see what kind of factor the crowd is going to be. Not sure how many Rutgers fans will come out on a Sunday afternoon to see a 1-14 team. It’s also supposed to snow, so that too could keep away some peole — Not this Friar Fanatic.
TV: ESPNU (Boo!)
GAMBLING AND PREDICTIONS
Spread: Providence -3.5 [ProvidenceStats Twitter]
Ken Pomeroy: Providence W, 74-73 (57% confidence)
AROUND THE WEB
On Sunday, March 1, the Friars will play at Rutgers. The Friars have posted an 11-7 mark all-time versus the Scarlet Knights. The Friars are 7-2 at home, 3-5 on the road and 1-0 on neutral courts all-time against Rutgers. The two teams fi rst met on February 3, 1996 with the Friars earning a 79-68 win at Providence. The Friars have won the last five contests between the two teams, including a 78-68 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this season on February 14. The last time PC played at Rutgers, the Friars earned a 79-69 win on January 25, 2006.
Scarlet Knights.com: Scarlet Knights Host Friars in BIG EAST Action Sunday Afternoon
Rutgers (10-18, 1-14) will be working to snap a six game skid when it welcomes Providence (17-11, 9-7) to the RAC for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off on Sunday. PC is one of three league foes (Seton Hall, Syracuse) that RU meets in home-and-home match-ups this season. Rutgers is one of the conference’s most youthful teams, starting just one senior and a pair of freshmen. The Friars are one of the BIG EAST’s and the nation’s most veteran squads. PC starts four seniors and one redshirt junior and is the country’s only team to have five 1,000-point scorers on its roster.
Projo.com: KMac Audio Preview
The “no letdowns” question is the more important point of emphasis for the Friars. The Pitt victory moved PC to 9-7 in the Big East with two games remaining. The problem lies in the schedule, where two road games — at Rutgers and at Villanova — wrap up the regular season. Win one, and PC’s NCAA Tournament dreams stay alive. Win both, and their ticket to the Big Dance may just be stamped.
Asbury Park Press: Rutgers – Providence Scouting Report