NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16: Midwest Regional, Providence goes up against Kansas tonight at 7:29 PM


Friars (4 seed) will play Kansas (1 seed) in Chicago on Friday at 7:29 pm on TBS.

Friar Tid Bits:

*The Friars are making their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2018.

*The Friars have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997 (25 years).

*The Friars are playing in their SIXTH Sweet 16 all-time.

*The Friars are 17-21 all time in the NCAA Tournament with two trips to the Final Four (1973 and 1987).

*Ed Cooley has led the Friars to SIX NCAA Tourneys in 11 years, which is more than any other coach at PC.

*The Friars are making their FIRST appearance as a No. 4 seed, which is the highest seed they have achieved.

*The Friars won the BIG EAST regular season title for the FIRST time ever in 2022.

*The Friars won 14 games in BIG EAST play for the FIRST time ever in 2022.

*Ed Cooley was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 2022 and became the FIRST Friar coach to earn the honor.

*The Friars are 11-2 in games decided by five points or less.

*Since the 2013-14 season (nine years), the Friars are 68-27 (.716) in games decided by 5 points or less.

*Friars are 4-2 vs. ranked teams – (Wins at No. 20 UConn, vs. No. 15 Seton Hall, at No. 21 Xavier, vs. No. 22 Marquette).

*The Friars are 3-0 in overtime games this season.

*As of March 15, the Friars had a Net Ranking of 32, which includes a 5-3 record versus Quad 1 teams.

*The Friars have earned 27 wins in a season for the first time since 1973-74.

*The Friars are attempting to reach 28 wins in a season for the first time since 1973-74 (28-4).

*The Friars have earned 20 wins in a season for the first time since 2017-18 and the sixth time under Ed Cooley.

*The Friars have won 20 or more games in a season for the 28th time.

*The Friars finished the season with a 16-1 mark at home, which is the best mark since 1973-74 (16-0).

*Jared Bynum is the first BIG EAST player in 25 years with 3 games of 25+ points off the bench in the same season.

*Friars’ top 7 players (Watson, Durham, Reeves, Horchler, Minaya, Bynum, Croswell) have played 835 college games.

*On March 21, Ed Cooley was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year.

*The Friars are ranked #13/#13.  The Friars entered the polls at #22/#23 on Dec. 20.

*The highest the Friars have been ranked this season was #8/#9 on Feb. 14 and #9/#8 on Feb. 28

*Prior to entering the poll on Dec. 20, 2021, the last time the Friars had been ranked was Feb. 22, 2016.

*AJ Reeves returned vs. Marquette on Jan. 30.  He missed five games with a finger injury.

*Jared Bynum returned vs. UConn (Dec. 18) after missing four games with an ankle injury.

Al Durham has missed two games due to an abdominal injury.

*Al Durham leads the BIG EAST in free throws made (162) and attempted (192).

*Record in unis this season: white (12-1); black (5-1); grey (4-0); retro white (3-1); retro black (3-1); pinkout (0-1).

*The Friars missed three games with a Covid pause (12 days) before defeating Georgetown on Jan. 20.

*Nate Watson and Jared Bynum were named All-BIG EAST Second Team.

*Jared Bynum earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award.

*Ed Cooley was named NABC District 5 Coach of the Year and USBWA District 1 Coach of the Year.

*On March. 1 at Villanova, Nate Watson (1,748 points) became the 11th player at PC to score 1,700 or more points.

*On Jan. 23 in PC’s win over Butler, Ed Cooley surpassed Dave Gavitt as he posted his 210th win.

*Ed Cooley (221-140) trails Joe Mullaney (319-164) for all-time wins as a head coach at Providence.

*The Friars posted a 6-1 mark in Nov., a 6-0 mark in Dec., a 6-1 record in Jan. and a 6-1 mark in Feb.

*On Jan. 8 versus St. John’s, Ed Cooley earned his 300th victory (313-209) as a head coach.

*The Friars are 1-0 vs. the Big 12 this season.  The Friars are 2-0 vs. the Big Ten this season.

*It marks the first time ever that the Friars have posted two wins over Big Ten teams in the same season.

*The Friars win over No. 20/22 UConn on Dec. 18 was the team’s 700th win over a New England team (700-307).

*With the win over Marquette on Jan. 30, Ed Cooley posted the 100th BIG EAST win (106-92) of his career.

*The Friars have a team record of five graduate students on the roster this season.

*The average age of the Friars’ top seven players is 23.0 years.

*Andrew and Luke Fonts are the first brothers to suit up at the same time for the Friars in 70 years.

How The Friars Got To The NCAA Tournament: The Friars earned an at-large bid as a four seed to their 21st NCAA Tournament overall and sixth in 11 years under Head Coach Ed Cooley.  Providence has posted a 27-5 mark and a 14-3 record in BIG EAST play.  The Friars  won the BIG EAST Regular-Season Title for the first time in the 43-year history of the league.  Providence entered the NCAA Tournament with a NET Ranking of 32.  The Friars defeated South Dakota State (66-57) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17 and Richmond (79-51) in the Second Round to advance to the Sweet 16.  The Friars held the Richmond to 51 points.  It marked the fewest points allowed by the Friars in the NCAA Tournament all-time.  The Friars are making their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1997 and their sixth appearance overall.

Friars All-Time In The NCAA Tourney: The Friars are making their 21st appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.  It is the Friars’ sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Ed Cooley (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022).  The Friars have posted a 17-21 mark all-time in NCAA Tournament play.  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 six trips to the Sweet Sixteen (1965, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1997 and 2022).

Friars Versus The Tournament Field: The Friars have faced 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament field this season and have posted an 9-4 mark against those teams. The Friars faced Richmond (1-0), South Dakota State (1-0), Wisconsin (1-0), Saint Peter’s (1-0), Texas Tech (1-0), Vermont (1-0), Connecticut (1-0), Seton Hall (1-0), Marquette (1-1), Creighton (1-1) and Villanova (0-2). All time, the Friars have faced 52 of the 68 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament Field. Providence has registered a 291-306 record all-time against those 51 teams, including a 7-9 mark in NCAA play.

Friars Earn Highest Seed All-Time In The NCAA Tournament: Providence’s No. 4 seed is the highest in program history since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Friars’ highest seed prior to this year’s tournament was a No. 5 seed in 2004.

Head Coach Ed Cooley Breaks Dave Gavitt’s Mark Of Five Friar NCAA Tournament Apperances:  The Friars are making their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Ed Cooley in 2022.  With this season’s appearance, Cooley eclipsed former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt’s mark of five tournament appearances – which was the most for any Friar head coach all-time.   Other former Friar head coaches who reached the NCAA Tournament are Joe Mullaney (three NCAA appearance), Rick Pitino (one NCAA appearance), Rick Barnes (three NCAA appearance), Pete Gillen (one NCAA appearance),  and Tim Welsh (two NCAA appearances).

Friars To Play Kansas For The First Time Ever:  On Friday, March 25, Providence will play Kansas in the Sweet 16 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.  It will mark the first meeting all-time between the two teams.

Watson And Bynum Named All-BIG EAST Second Team: It was announced on March 6 that graduate student center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) and junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) each earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.  It marks the second consecutive year that the Friars have had two players earn all-league honors as Watson and David Duke received Second Team accolades last season.

Bynum Earns BIG EAST Sixth Man Award:  It was announced on March 7 that Providence junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award.  Bynum becomes the first Friar to earn the honor.

Cooley Named BIG EAST Coach Of The Year: It was announced on March 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York that Providence’s Ed Cooley was named BIG EAST Coach Of The Year.  Cooley, who is the first Friar coach in the 43-year history of the league to earn the honor, has guided the Friars to a 27-5 mark.  In BIG EAST league play, the Friars set a team record for wins after registering a 14-3 mark and capturing the program’s first BIG EAST Regular Season title.  The Friars, who finished in first place, were picked to finish seventh in the annual BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll which was released in October.

Friars In Overtime: The Friars recorded a 3-0 record in overtime games this season.  On February 23, the Friars defeated Xavier, 99-92, in triple overtime.  They have registered a 71-67 mark all-time in overtime games.

Ed Cooley Named A Finalist for Naismith Coach Of The Year:  It was announced March 21 that Providence’s Ed Cooley was named one of four Finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach Of The Year Award.   Cooley joins Mark Adams (Texas Tech), Greg Gard (Wisconsin) and Tommy Lloyd (Arizona) as Finalists. The winner will be announced on April 3.  Cooley also was named USBWA District 1 Coach of the Year and NABC District 5 Coach of the Year.

Friars Ranked No. 13/13 In The Nation: The Providence College men’s basketball team was ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Poll (March 14) and No. 13 in the Coaches Poll (March 13). The Friars, who entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, were ranked for 13-consecutive weeks heading into the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.

After Nine Years, Friars Have Fourth Best Record In BIG EAST Action:  Since the formation of the new BIG EAST, the Friars have posted the fourth best mark in league play over the last nine years.  The Friars’ 93-69 mark (.574) trails only Villanova’s 130-31 record (.808), UConn’s 24-12 record (.667) and Creighton’s 95-70 record (.576).

Providence College Basketball: The 2021-22 campaign marks the 95th  season of basketball at Providence College. Since the program started in 1926-27, Providence has posted a 1,522-1,013  mark, good for a .600 winning percentage. The Friars have made the NCAA Tournament 21 times and the National Invitation Tournament on 20 occasions.

PC Hoops With Coach Cooley Show: The Providence College men’s basketball program has partnered with FOX Providence for PC Hoops with Coach Cooley.  The 30-minute show will air the following Sundays this season (Feb. 27, March 6, March 13, March 20 and March 27) on FOX Providence at 10:30 p.m.  WPRI 12 Sports Director Morey Hershgordon will host the show that will feature an exclusive interview each week with Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley, as well as features on the Friars.

Friars Earn 20 Wins For The First Time Since 2018:  With the Friars’ 71-52 win at Georgetown on February 6, the team posted its 20th victory of the season.  It marks the first time the team earned 20 wins in a season since 2017-18 and the sixth time under Ed Cooley (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022).  It also marked, the 28th time the Friars have won 20 or more games in a season.  In 2016 and 2022, the Friars registered 24 victories, which is the most wins by the Friars under Ed Cooley.

Athletic Director Bob Driscoll Announces Retirement: Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll announced on January 21 that he will retire in June after serving the College for 21 years.  Driscoll has worked in collegiate athletics for 47 years.

Steve Napolillo Named Next Athletic Director:  It was announced on January 26 that Steve Napolillo would be the 11th athletic director in the history of Providence College.  On July 1, Napolillo will replace Bob Driscoll, who announced his retirement on January 21.  Napolillo, who is the senior associate athletic director/assistant vice president for external relations, has worked at the College since 2004.

Ed Cooley Ranks Second On The PC All-Time Win List: With the Friars’ win versus Butler on January 23, 2022, Ed Cooley recorded his 210th victory as the Friar Head Coach and moved into second place on the all-time win list for PC Head Coaches.  The the top three all-time winningest Friar head coaches are: Joe Mullaney (319-164), Ed Cooley (221-140, 11 seasons) and Dave Gavitt (209-84).

Friars All-Time Versus Top-25 Teams:  The Friars have posted a 127-273 (.318) mark all-time versus top-25 teams, including a 4-2 mark this season.

Friars Play Their First Game In 12 Days After Covid Pause: On January 8, the Friars defeated St. John’s, 83-73.  The team then went on a 12-day pause due to Covid within the program.  It marked the first time in the last two seasons the Friars have had to pause due to Covid within the team.  The Friars returned from the Covid pause to defeat Georgetown, 83-75, on January 20.

Friars Ranked For First Time Since 2016:  When the Friars entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, it marked the first time the Friars had been ranked since they were No. 24 in the Coaches Poll on February 22, 2016.  It also marked the first time the team has been ranked in both polls since February 15, 2016 when the Friars were 23rd in the Associated Press Poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll. Providence entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 13/13 (most recent polls were released on March 13 and March 14).

Friars At The Dunkin’ Donuts Center: All-time, the Friars have recorded a 603-236 (.718) mark in 49 seasons of games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, formerly the Providence Civic Center, opened on November 3, 1972. The Friars had played their home games there for 48 consecutive seasons, prior to the 2020-21 season when the team played on campus at Alumni Hall with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic.  PC posted a 16-1 mark at the Dunk’ this season, the team’s best record at home since 1973-74.

Veteran Lineup:  The Friars’ roster features five graduate students.  It marks the first time ever the Friars have had five graduate students on the roster.  The Friars’ top seven players – Nate Watson (154 games), Noah Horchler (119 games), Al Durham (153 games), AJ Reeves (106 games), Jared Bynum (78 games), Justin Minaya (110 games) and Ed Croswell (115 games) have combined to play 835 collegiate games.

Brothers In The Lineup: For the first time since 1941 when Eddie and John Lee of Attleboro, Mass. suited up for the Friars, the Providence men’s basketball team will have brothers playing together.  Graduate student Andrew Fonts (Portsmouth, R.I.) and his brother, freshman Luke Fonts, are the first sibling combo for the Friars in 81 years.

Essandoko, Berry and Pierre Sign NLIs To Attend PC:  Ed Cooley announced on Nov. 16 that student-athletes Christ Essandoko (Paris, France), Quante Berry (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Jayden Pierre (Elizabeth, N.J.) each have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Providence College beginning in September 2022.  Essandoko, a 6-foot-11-inch, 260-pound center is in his senior year at Winston-Salem Prep (N.C.).  He is coached by Antonio Lowe at Winston-Salem Prep.  Essandoko played for Boo Williams on the EYBL Nike Circuit. He averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 62.5 percent from the field. He is ranked as the 20th best center in the country (134 overall) and the sixth best player in France, according to ranked Essandoko as the 150th best player in the country and the No. 23 center.  Berry, a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound guard, also attends Winston-Salem Prep.  Berry played AAU basketball for B. Maze Elite on the UAA circuit.  As a sophomore, Berry averaged 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and earned All-State honors at Bradley Central High School in Tennessee, before transferring to Winston-Salem Prep. Berry is the 33rd ranked guard in the nation, according to Pierre, a 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound point guard, is in his senior year at Long Island Lutheran. He is coached by John Buck at Long Island Lutheran. Pierre played AAU basketball for Team Rio.  He is ranked as the 15th-best point guard in the country and the top-ranked point guard in New Jersey, according to has Pierre ranked as the 39th point guard in the nation and sixth best player in New Jersey.

Nate Watson Registers His 1,000th Career Point:  Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) scored his 1,000th career point on December 20, 2020 in the Friars’ win at Seton Hall.  He became the 51st Friar all-time to register 1,000 career points.  In 154 career games, Watson has registered 1,748 points (11.4 ppg).  He ranks 11th all-time in scoring at Providence College.

Horchler Registers His 1,000th Career Point:  Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) scored his 1,000th career point on March 10, 2021 in the Friars’ BIG EAST Tournament game versus DePaul.  In 119 career games (61 at North Florida and 58 at Providence), Horchler has registered 1,325 points (11.1 ppg).

Friars Are 79-5 In Non-Conference Home Games Under Ed Cooley: The Friars have posted a 79-5 mark in 11 seasons under Ed Cooley in non-conference home games.

“DG” Patch On Friar Uniforms: In memory of former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt the Friars have worn a “DG” patch on their uniforms since the 2011-12 season.  Gavitt led PC and Eastern basketball into the modern age.  In 10 seasons as the head coach of the Friars, Gavitt led PC to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA appearances, three NIT appearances and five New England Coach of the Year honors.  He led the Friars to 23 wins over Top-20 teams.  His 1973 team made it to Final Four.  In 1971, Gavitt was named Director of Athletics at PC, a position he held until 1982 when he resigned to be the director of the BIG EAST Conference.  He also was named Head Coach of the 1980 USA Olympic basketball team.  He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.


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