Perhaps the term "best bad team in the Big East" is a little misleading. I don't think Providence is good. If they were good, they would be better then 14th in the Big East. Heck, if the Fryers were good, St. Johns would not be ahead of them in the conference standings. That alone is a major indictment of the team. St. Johns is one of the worst teams I have ever seen. However, even though St.Johns may be right their them in the standings, comparing Providence to St. John's is unfair.
Providence finds themselves in a lot of the games that they loose. I talk about this all the time. Margin of defeat is a huge indicator of how far away a team is from moving up the ranks. Especially if they are young. Take the last two games for the Friers as an example. They played well against the top teams in the conference. On Saturday, they were up one at the half to Louisville. Louisville right now is the best team in the Big East. No questions asked. Yesterday, the Fryers were up one at the half to Georgetown. They lost both games by ten points or less. That is relatively impressive, considering the opponents. In fact, eight of there thirteen losses were by ten points or less. That's nothing in the sport. The Friars problem is the same as any other team that looses a lot by close margins.
Early in the season, Providence had first half scoring trouble. The outscored their opponent in the second half in five of those eight close losses. In their last two losses, they have outscored good opponents in the first half.
Yes, they have struggled. But the Friars are better then a 13-13 record may indicate. Look for them to be a tough beat in the final three weeks or so. The Friars could have significant influence in the Big East conference down the stretch. They could be doing this without even making the tournament in March.
That’s what Providence is the best bad team in the conference.
Undefeated with the picks yesterday. Here's today’s slate:
DePaul at #13 Connecticut- How afraid was Jim Calhoon down one late to USF on Saturday? I don't think anyone saw that coming. That won't happen tonight. DePaul is better then USF and coming off of a 20 point loss to conference-best Louisville on February 12th. Look for this game to be close in the first half and then for UConn to pull away in the final 10 minutes. The Huskies will need every win they can get. Every team left on their schedule is one they should beat. Running the table may be good enough for a #1 seed in the Big East Tournament. Connecticut wins.
#15 Purdue at #14 Indiana- No doubt the game of the night. I'm not quite sure why Indiana is ranked higher then Purdue. Obviously, it's because of the overall records but it still doesn't make to much sense to me. Purdue is 12-1 in Big 10 play. Indiana is 10-2. That’s certainly not a huge disparity, but not one small enough to justify Indiana being ranked higher. The same is true for the overall records. Purdue is 21-5. Indiana is 21-4. When the overall record is separated by less then a game, you have to defer to the conference record. You have to.
I'm still not convinced that the Kelvin Sampson situation will not get to Indiana. One game in the face of enormous controversy is one thing. Keeping that going for a sustained period is quite another. They fell behind big early against a Michigan State team that I am beginning to doubt tremendously. The Hoosiers can not afford to do that tonight against a much better, much hotter Purdue squad. Also, the potential loss of forward D.J White is huge for Indiana. White looks like he may play, but if he doesn’t they are in trouble. D.J averages over 17 points per game....... oh, and over 12 rebounds. Ultimately, I think Purdue wins regardless. But D.J White can make it a lot closer.......Purdue wins
Bradley at #18 Drake- Drake