NCAA Committee Chair: PC Needed To Win Big East
Monday, March 17, 2014
At this time of year, most diehard college basketball fans like to believe that they are Joe Lunardi. We watch all of the postseason conference tournaments with what we believe is a firm grasp on what it will take certain "bubble" teams to get into the Big Dance. In the case of the Providence Friars, most of us may have been wrong.
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, NCAA Tournament Committee Selection Chairman Ron Wellman said that the Providence Friars needed to win the Big East Tournament to get into the field of 68.
Here's what Katz wrote today on ESPN.com:
If there was one bubble team that definitely played its way into the field over the weekend with a win, it was Providence. The Friars beat Creighton for the Big East tournament title Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Wellman said the Friars weren't in the field Saturday afternoon before tipoff, meaning Providence had to win to get in.
Most prognosticators, including Lunardi, had PC as one of the "last four in" following their Big East Tournament semifinal win over Seton Hall. Some even believed that their victory over St. John's in the quarterfinals may have been enough serving almost as a "play-in" game between the two rivals.
Knowing that the Friars were on the outside looking in heading in to Saturday night's championship game only makes their exciting win over Creighton that much more special.
"It's been a great ride, but it's not over," said PC senior forward Kadeem Batts. "We're just blessed to be where we are and thanks to God for putting us in this position."
PC head coach Ed Cooley vowed at his introductory press conference three years ago that Providence College basketball wasn't just going to win, it was going to "win big" on his watch. Winning the Big East Tournament title with a 6-man rotation in just his third year would certainly qualify as "winning big."
When asked about that, Cooley responded by saying, "give all of the credit to these kids. They worked hard, they believed in themselves and in us as a coaching staff and what we were trying to do and I couldn't be more proud of them."
One thing that Wellman also discussed with Katz when referring to NC State as the last team "in" was the fact that winning on the road against high quality opponents was a big factor for the committee. Here's what Katz wrote on that subject:
Wellman said the last team in the field was NC State, which beat Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament but lost to Duke on a late-possession game. He said the last four teams that the Wolfpack beat out for that spot were SMU, Florida State, Georgetown and Green Bay.
Wellman said NC State getting three road wins against top 50 teams was a deciding factor.
"That attracts the attention of the committee," said Wellman. "NC State took their game on the road and beat three top 50 teams."
None of that matters now because the Friars took their fate out of the hands of Wellman and the Tournament Selection Committee and secured the automatic bid to the NCAA's given to the Big East Tournament Champion.
The 11th-seeded Friars battle the 6th-seeded North Carolina Tarheels Friday night at 7:20pm in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised on TNT.