I think it’s that time to say that Friar fans need to accept that this year’s Providence team may not be Big East elite.
That is not something any fan should take lightly: it wasn’t too long ago that the Friars were looking like they might contend for a top spot in the Big East against the likes of Villanova and Xavier. But after tonight’s showing against Seton Hall, I think this Friars team may be destined for more middle-of-the-pack.
Right now, there are just too many glaring flaws to be a top-tier Big East team. Are they excusable? No, they are not. At one point in tonight’s matchup against Seton Hall the Friars shot 1-12 from the free throw line, good for a cool 8.3%. If you even want to pretend to be a D1 program, you have to shoot far better than less than 10% from the free throw line.
— PC Men’s Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) February 1, 2018
That’s not to say that would have saved the Friars. I don’t think anything would have. The fact is this: Seton Hall is just that good of a team. They truly are top-tier Big East when looking at the programs in the Big East.
Where does that leave this Friars program, looking for a way to validate their postseason-existence? In many ways, they’re right where they left themselves just a game before: on the right side of the NCAA bubble, looking to solidify and advance.
At this point, fans know who the Providence Friars are. There’s no pretending or double-bluffing on this team. The Friars are a capable NCAA Tournament team, no matter how far they go in the postseason. Arguments could be made for this team: Kyron Cartwright and Jalen Lindsey logged in zero points for the game. When two of your most effective offensive weapons can’t score even a bucket, you’re going to struggle.
Still, is that an excuse for a team destined to be a one-and-done, or a rationalization of a bad night? I don’t think this team is going to be a one-and-done team in the NCAA Tournament, but I do think they had an off night. Forget the numbers: this team just looked bad against Seton Hall.
And you know what? I’m okay with that. Not the losing part – I hate losing. I hate it more than anything. I think it’s the worst thing in the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Providence can and will recover. It’s just a matter of what they’ll do with the time they have.
I am optimistic about this Friars team. Maybe that’s silly, but I think they’ve proven that optimism is worthwhile. Now it’s just a question of what that excitement and trust will result in, and if will be enough for Friar fans.