Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Providence ends all bubble talk in New York

March 16, 2014 Columns No Comments

NEW YORK – There will be plenty of good stories with teams that are in the NCAA Tournament, as usual. Few will be as good as that of Providence, who won the Big East Tournament on Saturday night by knocking off Creighton 65-58 in the championship game.

There’s the well-documented story of how Providence has had to make do with very little. Injuries and suspensions have gutted this team’s roster to the point where the Friars basically play six players, with the only thing resembling a backup guard being walk-on Ted Bancroft. They won Saturday’s game with six players getting on the court. It’s something they have had to do seemingly since Ed Cooley took over the program, as they have been snakebit with injuries often.

And at the end of it all, the person who might have needed a breather the most wasn’t one of those six players.

“I’m gassed,” said Cooley.

Cooley is normally not a man of few words, but he didn’t seem his usual self in the post-game on Saturday night. Normally energetic, he looked and sounded exhausted. A Providence person through and through, he famously “sprinted home” to Providence when he took over. He grew up there, where the Big East lived in its formative years, where Dave Gavitt changed basketball in a big way with the Big East. He appreciates what the Big East is all about. This is something he has dreamed of. He seemed overwhelmed by winning the championship, and perhaps in part he was amazed once more by how his team put forth a winning effort with everything that was working against them.

He also drew from a guy he learned from in that same building. Al Skinner talked to him earlier in the day, and Cooley thought about the simple words his former boss had for him.

“He told me, ‘Don’t over-coach,'” Cooley recalled. “Let your kids do it. Give them a game plan, and I promise you, they’ll follow it.”

The epitome of this team’s success against adversity and opponents is as good a story as any, and now more people across the country will find about him. Bryce Cotton is the best player in the Big East not named Doug McDermott, who was ironically on the other side on Saturday night. He’s been overshadowed seemingly his whole life, from growing up in Tucson to playing for a Providence team that hasn’t sniffed the NCAA Tournament until now. How many people know he led the Big East in scoring last season? How many people know he led the Big East in assists this season? And how many people know he leads the nation in minutes? (Cooley likes to go a little further and say he “leads the world in minutes.”)

Besides having to play 40 minutes per game, and averaging 42 per game in Big East play, Cotton has had to play out of position. The fact that he’s a natural shooting guard might explain his under-recruitment out of high school to some degree, but it also says a lot about how he developed in college. He’s played 96.3 percent of available minutes this season, almost all of them with the ball in his hands.

“To play the minutes that he’s played this season and have the responsibility on his shoulders that he has, not only needing to score, but to also run the team, it’s a real credit to him,” said Creighton head coach Greg McDermott. “He’s done a terrific job, and it’s fitting that he’s going to end his career in the NCAA Tournament.”

Providence looked like a team that should earn its way to the NCAA Tournament before the season. There has never been any doubt about this team’s effort all year; they have simply been a little short on a few occasions because of personnel issues. Providence has been right there in some games, but didn’t break through, hence their position on the bubble entering the Big East Tournament. They let a couple get away which, if they didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament, they could look back on and say, “What if?” Saturday night’s win eliminated bubble talk and blessed college basketball fans with a good story in the Friars making it.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


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.