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!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 1

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 1 of the podcast as Championship Week rolls on, we look at some important games in New York, as well as surprises in the Big 12. Also, more coaching changes are happening, and we talk about some of the news there.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.