Friars Begin Big East Slate at St. John’s

Kyron Cartwright

After the ups and downs of nonconference play, the most important part of the Providence Friars season begins now. The next 19 games (or more) will be in Big East play, beginning on December 28th at St. John’s on Yurview New England.

The Friars miss out on playing the Johnnies at Madison Square Garden this season, where they won the 2K Classic in early November. A lot has changed in the six weeks since. They won a few nail-biters at the Dunk. They lost to Rhode Island and UMass on the road, and to Houston at Mohegan Sun. Seemingly the entire roster has battled injuries, including two big ones recently – Kyron Cartwright and Alpha Diallo.

None of it matters now though, as the 9-4 Friars need to win Big East games, regardless of who plays or where the game is. In a conference as strong as the Big East is, this season and perennially, a team with postseason aspirations just needs to find a way to get to the top half of the league. With the home-and-home layout of the league, there will be plenty of opportunities for big wins, including on New Year’s Eve against #25 Creighton in Omaha. Starting with two road games isn’t ideal, but any win is important, and every game is a chance to enhance your credentials.

Ed Cooley and his veteran leadership know how difficult the Big East can be, night in and night out, playing almost exclusively close games. Thursday night should be no different, but getting out of New York with a 1-0 record, the Friars would be tied for first in the league. With the tip of Big East play, a new season truly begins.