CHARLOTTE (WPRI) — The Providence College Friars are gearing up to face Texas A&M University Aggies in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Friars stepped foot on the court of Spectrum Arena for the first time Thursday morning to prepare to face the Aggies at 12:15 p.m. Friday.
This stage is no stranger to seniors Kyron Cartwright, Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey, who are all an integral part of the five-straight NCAA Tournament appearance run for the Friars.
“It’s what you dream about, just been fortunate to be here for four years,” Cartwright said during the team’s press conference before practice on Thursday. “It’s what we’ve been working hard for and our teammates have been working hard as well. It was just fun this year to make history.”
“I think it’s a testament to the program, coaching, staff and the players that have come through here,” Lindsey added. “We’ve put a lot of work in the past four years to get this and we couldn’t have done it without our teammates that have been alongside with us this entire time and the players that were here.”
Head Coach Ed Cooley said Wednesday that the team is focused on the Aggie’s physicality and size.
“You know they got bigs, two bigs, two traditional bigs,” Cartwright said. “When we woke up this morning, everybody saw what the scouting report was in their room. Big, yellow paper right in front of the TV that says ‘box out.’ That’s the scouting report, ‘box out.'”
The two Aggie bigs are Robert Williams and Tyler Davis. The two centers are worrisome to the Friars. But Cooley says the team has faced similar teams this season, including Minnesota and Georgetown.
“They would simulate the size, the strength and brawn of a front line of Texas A&M,” Cooley said. “Those two teams come to mind right away with their length in front of the rim and their athleticism and their guard play.”
The Friars know teams like these are hard to prepare for too.
“We play a lot of position-less basketball,” Cartwright said. “A number of our team is just a spot on the floor. We got guys that can play besides me, I’m the only person with a set position.”
“It’s hard to film us,” Bullock added. “We’ve got so many plays, going to take a long time to scout us. We do have a huge advantage in that standpoint.”
MARCH HOOPS: Eyewitness Sports is following URI and PC every step of the way with live team coverage. Yianni Kourakis will have live reports from Pittsburgh where the Rams are playing in the NCAA Tournament and Ruthie Polinsky will be with the Friars in Charlotte.