Providence College (23-10) v USC (21-12)
March 17, 2016 @ 9:50 PM ET
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
The best game of the opening day of March Madness may be the second ever meeting between #9 seed Providence College and #8 University of Southern California.Both teams are trying to regain their prior form and the Friars are seeking to end a 19-year NCAA drought.
Expectations for Providence College ran high after the Friars came from 11-down on the road to beat #9 Butler. The win gave them a 13-1 record and bumped them up to #8 in the rankings. They have gone 10-9 since then, including a 2-6 slump.
The #9 Friars are slight favorites over the #8 seed Trojans who also had a late-season swoon going 3-7 in their last 10 games.
Former Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield has brought “Dunk City” to USC with a high -powered running offense that averages 80.8 points per game. USC’s 8.5 game improvement from 2015 is the best of any major program and they have notched some significant wins against Monmouth (101-90), Wichita State (72-69) and Arizona (103-101 4OT). Most importantly, they beat UCLA three-times for the first time in 74 years.
Providence has also notched major victories over Villanova (82-76 OT) and Arizona (69-65).
The Bleacher Report calls Providence “the most dangerous No. 9 seed in the dance,” due to the combo of Big East Player of the Year Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. Dunn finished second in the Big East with 6.4 assists per game, first with 2.5 steals and seventh with 16 points per game, while Bentil led the conference with 21.2 points per game and finished fourth in rebounding with 7.8 a game.
If the Friars win, they face the winner of the North Carolina-Florida Gulf Coast winner.
This is a potent combination, and it’s not a given that they can be stopped. It’ll take a concerted effort from anyone, Tar Heels included, to stifle the Providence attack.
|vs Ranked Teams||4-5||2-4|
|vs. NCAA Teams||5-7||5-8|
|Last NCAA Appearance||
Lost to Dayton in first round, 66-53
Lost to Michigan State in second round, 74-69
|Last NCAA Win||1997
Beat Chatanooga 71-65 in Regional Semifinals
Beat Boston College 72-55 in First Round
|Sweet Sixteen||1965, 1973, 1974,
|1954, 1961, 2001, 2007|
|Elite 8||1965, 1973, 1987, 1997||1940, 1954, 2001|
|Final Four||1973, 1987||1940, 1954|
|Points Per Game||74.0||80.8|
Providence 70, #7 USC 66
January 26, 1972 / Los Angeles Sports Arena
In a nationally-televised matchup, the unranked Friars went to the West coast to play seventh-ranked USC (led by Paul Westphal). The Friars led for all except three minutes or so in their 70-66 triumph. Ernie DiGregorio (27 Points) outgunned Paul Westphal and Marvin Barnes (21 Points, 17 Rebounds) dominated Trojan center Ron Riley.
Providence College Friars
|Ben Bentil||0||SO||F||6-8||230||21.2 Pts, 7.8 Reb, 1.1 Ast|
|Rodney Bullock||5||SO||F||6-7||220||11.6 Pts, 6.8 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Kyron Cartwright||24||SO||G||5-11||185||5.7 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 4.0 Ast|
|Tyree Chambers||14||SO||G||6-2||182||0.0 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 0.4 Ast|
|Ricky Council II||22||FR||G||6-5||200||1.1 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Kris Dunn||3||JR||G||6-3||205||16.0 Pts, 5.5 Reb, 6.4 Ast|
|Drew Edwards||25||FR||G||6-3||185||2.4 Pts, 1.6 Reb, 0.6 Ast|
|Ryan Fazekas||35||FR||G||6-8||205||5.3 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Jalen Lindsey||21||SO||G||6-7||195||7.3 Pts, 4.4 Reb, 0.7 Ast|
|Junior Lomomba||32||JR||G||6-5||200||5.5 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 2.0 Ast|
|Tom Planek||34||SO||F||6-6||195||0.5 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Quadree Smith||10||FR||F||6-8||285||1.8 Pts, 1.1 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Casey Woodring||12||JR||G||6-2||180||0.0 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|Jordan McLaughlin||11||SO||G||6-1||170||13.4 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 4.7 Ast|
|Nikola Jovanovic||32||JR||F||6-11||230||12.1 Pts, 7.0 Reb, 0.4 Ast|
|Julian Jacobs||12||JR||G||6-4||180||11.8 Pts, 4.9 Reb, 5.5 Ast|
|Bennie Boatwright||25||FR||F||6-10||220||11.5 Pts, 5.3 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Katin Reinhardt||5||JR||G||6-6||205||11.4 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 1.4 Ast|
|Elijah Stewart||30||SO||G||6-5||180||9.8 Pts, 3.6 Reb, 1.1 Ast|
|Chimezie Metu||4||FR||F||6-11||215||6.6 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Darion Clark||0||JR||F||6-7||220||2.6 Pts, 4.5 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Malik Marquetti||24||SO||G||6-6||190||2.0 Pts, 1.0 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Malik Martin||2||SO||F||6-11||220||1.8 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 0.2 Ast|
|Strahinja Gavrilovic||14||SR||F||6-9||230||1.2 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|Samer Dhillon||13||JR||F||6-7||200||0.3 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast|