I’ve heard rumblings already of Bilas/Gottlieb or whoever saying DePaul’s “stunning” win over Cincinnati is a huge blow to Providence. A win over DePaul isn’t as good as a win over Cincinnati. While that’s probably true, the Friars still have to go out and win before they can worry about playing in the 3rd round. I’m still banking on the whole 10 wins in the conference thing…RPI is going to hurt us anyway, so I don’t think if it goes down a few more points it will matter as much. Playing Louisville will probably kick it up a little ayway.
Here are some other early thoughts:
It foils the Bearcats slim N.C.A.A. tournament chances and could prove a critical blow to Providence’s chances. If the Friars (18-12 and the only true bubble team here) had beaten Cincinnati (18-15) on Wednesday, it would have registered as a much better victory than the one they’ll be heavily favored to get against DePaul.
“We have to win the game anyway,” said Pat Skerry, the Providence assistant who scouted the game. “We just have to win. We’ll have a hard enough time with these guys.”
That’s the right thing to say, but there’s a gaping Ratings Percentage Index disparity between the two opponents. Cincinnati entered the day at No. 72 and DePaul at No. 208. The kicker for Providence is that its R.P.I. is a big thing working against it. At the start of the day, the Friars were No. 72, which will go down because two of their wins came against Cincinnati. It will go down again even with a victory over DePaul. Realistically, the Friars had to win two games here to get a long look from the committee, but this development certainly didn’t help their case.
This result certainly does not help PC’s quest for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Friars would’ve received a bit of an RPI bump if they had played and beaten Cincinnati. DePaul, however, is in the low-200’s on the RPI. That means a Providence win over DePaul would actually lower the Friars’ numbers.
Bottom line? PC needs to beat DePaul and then give it their best shot against Louisville on Thursday. An upset of the Cardinals would cinch an NCAA berth for PC.
Just win baby.