Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Cotton is the best player on the floor as Providence beats Creighton

January 20, 2014 Columns No Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One of the country’s best players came to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday night. The best player on the court, however, was a different player, and on some nights that will happen. Bryce Cotton took home the honors in leading Providence to an 81-68 win over Creighton, and it’s a win that says as much about the winners and their leader as it does who they beat.

Providence plays plenty of games on national television, but it’s not every night one of those games involves a player like Doug McDermott. This game may have gotten a few more viewers than some of Providence’s other games for just that reason, and Cotton embraced that stage like he has every other game in his career.

Cotton’s numbers on the night – 23 points on 7-18 shooting, six assists – weren’t other-worldly compared to a lot of his nights. But this wasn’t your ordinary night, and with McDermott not being himself and being somewhat neutralized by the Providence defense, Cotton took center stage.

“Everyone keeps asking me,” said head coach Ed Cooley, “when is Bryce coming out of the game? The reply is, ‘never.’ When he graduates, he’ll come out of the game.”

Cotton has played 708 minutes out of 750 that the Friars have played on the season. He is averaging nearly 44 minutes in Big East play – in fact, by playing all 40 minutes on Saturday night, his average actually went down.

Besides that, he’s played out of position basically all season, as he did last season. The overall offense does suffer some, because he’s better playing off the ball and the team is better if they have him at his natural position. He’s become a better ball-handler and passer, evidenced in part by the fact that he’s already surpassed his assist total for all of last season while turning the ball over eight fewer times. He has a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio.

While he won’t win Big East Player of the Year, as that will surely be McDermott’s barring an injury, Cotton will be on the first team. Remember, he led the Big East in scoring last season, and did that while playing through a few injuries as well.

Providence continues to battle and win despite not having depth. Walk-on Ted Bancroft is having to play minutes again for this team as there simply isn’t a backup guard. They have plenty of depth up front, although they could ill-afford an injury there given how low their overall numbers are.

“They’re not a deep team, but those guys they put on the floor can play,” said Creighton head coach Greg McDermott.

Besides the stellar play of Cotton, it’s worth noting that Providence has to be seen as a team with a good shot at the NCAA Tournament if it were held right now. There’s obviously a lot of basketball left to be played, but the Friars’ worst loss came to Seton Hall in double overtime. The Pirates won at Georgetown earlier in the day. The Friars have wins over Georgetown and Creighton, and wins against good-not-great teams like Vanderbilt and La Salle.

Big East play has plenty of land mines left, but also some opportunities for quality wins. Considering the bubble is likely to have a lot of relatively even teams this season, if the Friars avoid bad losses and protect their home court, this team will at least be in the discussion when Selection Sunday rolls around. Another quality win or two will be needed, but for this point in the season they have put themselves in a good position to earn their way in. They have battled all season through a lot of adversity, and all they know is continuing to do that.

And on Saturday night, their star player took center stage when the opportunity presented itself, mainly by doing what he’s continued to do all along.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.