PC-North Carolina Meet in 2014 Rematch

Saturday night in Raleigh will be the fifth meeting of Providence and #3 North Carolina (29-6) and their second tournament battle in three years.  North Carolina comes in as the top seed in the East Region having won the ACC tournament, while Providence comes off its first tournament win since 1997.

North Carolina is a 9.5 point favorite and  has won three of the four prior contests.  The Friars only win, however, remains one of the biggest wins in team history.

 Providence

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North Carolina

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Record 24-10 29-6
Opening Round Beat USC
70-69
Beat Florida Gulf Coast
83-67
RPI 40 5
vs Ranked Teams 4-5 4-3
Points Per Game 74.0 82.3
Points Allowed 69.7 69.5
NCAA Appearances

 17

46

Record

 15-18

113-44

Sweet Sixteen 1965, 1973, 1974,
1987, 1997
1957, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015
 Elite 8  1965, 1973, 1987, 1997 1941, 1946, 1957, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
Final Four  1973, 1987 1946, 1957, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009

 


1971

North Carolina 86, Providence 79
National Invitation Tournament Quarterfinals
Madison Square Garden

North Carolina Providence
Coach  Dean Smith  Dave Gavitt
Record  23-6 (#12)  20-7
Top Scorers  Dennis Wuycik (G) -18.4
Bill Chamberlain (F) -14.4
 Ernie Diegregorio (G)-18.6
Jimmy Larrañaga (F) – 13.7

Back when the NCAA tournament only included 25 teams and only conference champions were eligible, the NIT was a prestige tournament for those  not invited to the dance.  The first matchup between Providence and North Carolina was in the quarterfinals of the 1971 NIT.

North Carolina, whose starters included George Karl, had lost in the ACC Championship Game to #6 South Carolina 52-51.  They faced Providence after having crushed Julius Erving’s UMass 90-49.  Providence was led by sophomore sensation Ernie Diegregorio and future coach Jimmy Larrañaga.  The Friars had beaten Louisville 64-58, before falling to North Carolina.  North Carolina would go on to beat Duke and Georgia Tech to win the NIT Title.


1978

Providence 61, North Carolina 59
Providence Civic Center

North Carolina Providence
Coach   Dean Smith  Dave Gavitt
Record  20-4 (#7)  16-4 (#20)
Top Scorers  Phil Ford (G) -20.8
Mike O’Koren (F) – 17.3
 Bruce Campbell (F) – 17.4
Dwight Williams (G) – 16.4

On Monday February 5th, Mother Nature delivered a two-day thunder-snow storm to Rhode Island, burying the state with its worst blizzard in history.  By Sunday, most of the state was still shut down to auto traffic, yet I was among approximately 7,000 die-hard fans who found their way downtown to the Civic Center.  The game was broadcast nationally by NBC with Al McGuire, whose Marquette team had beat Dean Smith’s Tar Heels in the National Championship the year prior, serving as color man.

North Carolina went into the dreaded four-corners offense leading 58-52 with 3:30 to go. The snow angels quickly appeared as Providence magically went on a 7-1 run and then poetry tooks it course.  For nothing could warm your bones more on such a cold day than to see that the ball was in the hands of the Friar’s leading scorer – Bruce “Soup” Campbell –  at the top of the key.  As the Tar Heels swarmed upon him,  Campbell fed the ball to an open Bill Eason at the baseline, Eason not only sunk the game winning shot but PC became the first team to beat the Tar Heels after they had gone into the four-corners.

The win was a huge psychic boost to a beleagured state and is still one of the most talked about non-tournament Friar wins.

North Carolina would finish the season 23-8, losing in the NCAA First Round to Bill Cartwright’s San Francisco Dons. Providence finished 24-8 and also lost in the NCAA First Round to a Michigan State team featuring a freshman guard named Magic Johnson.


 

1979

North Carolina 89, Providence 55
Charlotte Coliseum

North Carolina Providence
Coach   Dean Smith  Dave Gavitt
Record  17-4 (#6)  7-13
Top Scores Al Wood (F) -17.8
Mike O’Koren (F) – 14.8
 Rudy Williams (F) – 17.8
Bill Fields (F) – 12.1

North Carolina easily avenged their loss in the Blizzard Thriller the next year against a much weaker Providence team in Coach Gavitt’s final season.  It was his only losing season and ended his streak of 8 consecutive 20-win seasons (one shy of his predecessor Joe Mullaney’s record of 9 consecutive 20-win seasons).

North Carolina would finish the season 23-8 and ranked third.  They entered the NCAA as the top seed in the East Regional, only to be upset by Penn in their amazing run to the Final Four.


 

2014

North Carolina 79, Providence 77
AT&T Center San Antonio
NCAA East Regional First Round

North Carolina Providence
Coach Roy Williams Ed Cooley
Record 23-9 (#19) 23-11
Top Scores Marcus Paige (G) -17.5
James McAdoo (F) – 14.2
Bryce Cotton (G)- 21.8
LaDonte Henton – 14.o

The first matchup between Providence and North Carolina without their legendary coaches, was also their first in the NCAA tournament.  North Carolina came into the tournament having lost in the first round of the ACC Tournament to Providence’s former Big East Rival Pittsburgh.  Providence came into the tournament having won the Big East tournament for only the second time.  It was the first 20-win season in ten years and only their 7th in the 35 years since Coach Gavitt retired.

Bryce Cotton (36 points) led Providence to a 77-74 lead with 1:18 to go, but the Tar Heels got the defensive stops they needed to win 79-74.  North Carolina would lose to Iowa State in the second round.

 

 

 

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