You can do it!
The country’s largest college basketball conference seems assured of getting at least seven teams into the NCAA tournament. But the Big East’s hopes of getting an eighth team in the Big Dance took several hits this week, with Georgetown losing at St. John’s, Cincinnati losing at South Florida and Notre Dame losing by 17 at home to Villanova. Providence, which plays at Nova on Thursday night, seems to be the league’s last hope for another at-large bid.
Providence [18-11 (10-7), RPI: 69, SOS: 56] The Friars haven’t played since winning 73-66 at Rutgers on Sunday, but they’ve still won big this week. With Georgetown, Cincinnati and Notre Dame losing, Providence has the best chance of becoming the Big East’s eighth participant in the NCAA tournament. It has won four of its past six games, including a stunning 81-73 upset of then No. 1-ranked Pittsburgh on Feb. 24. The Friars are 3-7 against RPI top-50 opponents, 5-11 against the top 100 and 4-5 in road games. Providence closes the regular season at Villanova on Thursday night, but it already is guaranteed of finishing at least 10-8 in Big East play. An upset of Villanova would go a long way in locking up an NCAA at-large bid. Even if Providence loses in Philadelphia, it could probably earn an at-large bid by winning one or two games in the upcoming Big East tournament in New York. The Friars swept two games against Cincinnati and also beat Syracuse and Rhode Island at home.