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Friars headed to Texas to face North Carolina

Monday, March 17, 2014

 

It's an odd route, but that's the way things go these days in the NCAA Tournament.

Friars watch the NCAA Selection Show at Alumni Hall

The Big East Champion Providence Friars received the league automatic bid as a conference champ into the tournament, and find themselves in the East Regional...with a second-round game next Friday in San Antonio, TX (AT&T Center) against 6th seeded North Carolina.  Tip-off has been set for 7:20 pm, and the Tar Heels are an early 5-point favorite.  The radio broadcast will be heard locally on 103.7 WEEI-FM, beginning at 7:00.

"We're excited to play a tough opponent that plays in a power conference," Friar head coach Ed Cooley said, just after his team received the news.  "We've got a week to prepare for 'em, we'll dissect some film, they've got a Hall of Fame coach (Roy Williams) and its a historical program. 

"For our players to accomplish what they did over the past few days - we play in a tough conference and we're getting a tough opponent.  But we'll be ready, I can assure you on that."

The Friars will be making their 16th appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2004, when Providence lost to Pacific at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, MO. The Friars have posted a 14-16 mark all-time in NCAA Tournament play, and has some good history behind that record.  The team has made two trips to the Final Four (1973 and 1987), four appearances in the Elite Eight (1965, 1973, 1987 and 1997) and five trips to the Sweet Sixteen (1965, 1973, 1974, 1987 and 1997).

Providence and North Carolina have never met in NCAA Tournament play, but have met three times previously, and the Tar Heels lead the all-time series, 2-1. The teams first met in the 1971 National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 22, 1971, with the Tar Heels posting an 86-79 win.  Then on Feb. 12, 1978, the Friars posted a 61-51 win over UNC in Providence. The teams last met on Feb. 10, 1979 in Chapel Hill, NC with the Tar Heels posting an 89-58 win.

The recent history, of course, has Providence coming off of their 2nd Big East title win, beating Creighton 65-58 Saturday night in New York.  Creighton, Villanova and Xavier round out the Big East representation in the tournament, while UMass is among five Atlantic-10 teams receiving bids, Harvard represents the Ivy and Mt. St. Mary's took the NEC automatic bid as champion. 

 

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