Friars’ season not over - gain NIT bid
Sunday, March 17, 2013
With so much attention already focused toward next season - the current season isn't over just yet for Providence.
The Friars (17-14 regular season) received an anticipated bid to take part in the National Invitation Tournament, where they will host the Charlotte 49ers in the opening round. The game is scheduled for the Dunkin Donuts Center Wednesday night at 7:15 pm.
“We are excited to keep our season going,” junior forward Kadeem Batts said. “We started the season with a goal to make the post-season and we have accomplished that. Now we need to get a win over Charlotte and just keep our season going. It is the post season and anything is possible.”
Charlotte (21-11, 8-8 Atlantic-10) finished their season in the A-10 Tournament in Brooklyn with a loss to eventual conference champ Saint Louis 72-55. The 49ers defeated Richmond in a controversial finish in the opening game 68-63, scoring eight points from the free-throw line against the Spiders in the final few seconds of the contest for the win. 6-9 senior forward Chris Braswell leads Charlotte in scoring at 11.9 points per game, and was a pre-season 2nd team all-A-10 pick.
The Friars have met the 49ers once previously, that occurred in 2008 at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, CA where PC defeated Charlotte 67-62. Should Providence win and advance to the 2nd round, a potential meeting with last season's national champion and the #1 NIT seed Kentucky Wildcats awaits. With Kentucky's home floor of Rupp Arena occupied through next weekend for the NCAA Tournament, a possibility exists for the Friars to play host for that match-up as well, perhaps at URI's Ryan Center, as there is a scheduling conflict with the Dunk for next weekend. But Kentucky now reports they may be able to host a game after all.
"We did not place a bid to host the first round of the NIT due to limited staff availability to properly host a game at Memorial Coliseum," said Kentucky Associate athletic director DeWayne Peevy, when asked about the scheduling conflict at UK. "Because the University of Kentucky is hosting the NCAA second- and third-round games at Rupp Arena on March 21 and 23, the facility was not available for a first round NIT game. We placed a bid to host both the second round and quarterfinal games at Rupp Arena if we advance."
The post-season NIT began in 1938, and is the nation's longest-running post-season event. Providence has a storied history in the tournament, when it was once considered "THE" national championship event. PC won the NIT in 1961 and again in 1963, and has had several strong showings in the event. This year will mark the 19th appearance in the NIT for Providence, and the Friars hold a 30-19 overall record in the tournament.
Regular season conference champions are guaranteed an automatic berth in the tournament. Stanford defeated Minnesota in the 2012 championship at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the Cardinal are in the field of 32 again this year, hoping to defend their title.
On the ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, the PC Hockey Friars scored on a pair of back-to-back power-play goals in the second period to lift themselves to a 3-2 victory over fifth-seeded New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon at Schneider Arena. The win marks the first time the Friars have won a Hockey East Quarterfinal game three at Schneider Arena since March 11, 2001.
With the win, Providence claimed the best-of-three series against UNH, two games to one, and clinched a spot in the Hockey East Semifinals for a second consecutive year. 17th ranked Providence, now 17-13-7 on the season, will face top-seeded and Hockey East regular season champ UMass-Lowell next Friday at TD Garden in Boston, with face-off scheduled for 5:00 pm.