(WPRI) – March … is … almost … here. The best month of the year for college basketball is just two days away and the anticipation in the state is at an all-time high.

Providence will have a chance to go undefeated at home for the first time in nearly 50 years. If they do so, the Friars would win a program record 15 Big East games and earn the No. 2 seed at Madison Square Garden. In Kingston, Tammi Reiss’ group brought home a share of the program’s first A10 regular season championship in 48 years. Rhody will try to win three games in three days beginning Friday to clinch a berth to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time ever (1995-96). Bryant will look to win at Maine on Tuesday night and host an America East quarterfinal on Saturday. Brown can make program history with a win-and-in game on Saturday night at home against Yale. Get your popcorn ready.

Before we proceed, time to take a look back at the season predictions from early November. We have to be accountable for what we write. The ‘three doors’ preview was meant to provide the high-water mark, expectation, and worst-case scenario for how each program’s season would turn out. So, below are the prognostications from the piece with a snippet from the Door that closely correlates with how the year actually played out. For the full preseason article, click here. 


Right Now: 21-8 (13-5 in Big East, tied for 2nd place)

Door 1: 24-7 (10-1 out of conference, 14-6 in BEC – tied for 2nd)

From November: After a few early wins in the Big East, the Friars crack the Top 25 around the same point they did last year and remain ranked until the brackets are released on Selection Sunday. Dreams of reaching consecutive Sweet 16’s are alive.

Door 2: 20-11 (8-3 OOC, 12-8 in BEC – 4th)

Door 3: 17-14 (7-4 OOC, 10-10 in BEC – 6th)

Assessment: Providence is favored to win its last two games. It is in line to finish 23-8, 15-5. That’s one game off their ceiling that was written four months ago. They rode a nice start in the Big East (6-0) to a spot in the Top 25 and haven’t relinquished it yet. 

Rhode Island

Right Now: 8-20 (4-12 in Atlantic 10, 14th place)

Door 1: 20-11 (9-4 OOC, 11-7 in A10 – tied for 5th)

Door 2: 16-15 (7-6 OOC, 9-9 in A10 – 9th)

Door 3: 12-19 (5-8 OOC, 7-11 in A10 – 11th)

From November: Returners don’t make the necessary improvements, injuries plague growth from new faces and the Rams lose their fair share of close games late.

Assessment: I was most wrong about URI. The Rams have lost seven straight and need to win their final two just to get to the double-digit win mark. They’ve been close to breaking through, and if they do they’ll finish 6-12 in the league. One win off the Door 3 prediction. 


Right Now: 17-11 (8-7 in America East, tied for 4th place)

Door 1: 26-5 (11-4 OOC, 15-1 in AEC – 1st)

Door 2: 22-9 (9-6 OOC, 13-3 in AEC – 2nd)

Door 3: 17-14 (7-8 OOC, 10-6 in AEC – tied for 4th)

From November: The floor is high for this mid-major program. A lot would need to go wrong for this program not to finish well above .500 overall and win double-digit games in the America East.

Assessment: The floor was in fact high. Bryant wraps up with Maine on Tuesday. The Bulldogs should finish 9-7 in their inaugural season in the America East. That would put them 18-11 overall and in either 3rd or 4th place like the Door 3 prediction. 


Right Now: 14-12 (7-6 in Ivy League, 4th place)

Door 1: 14-13 (7-6 OOC, 7-7 Ivy – 5th)

From November: Given the challenging non-conference schedule Mike Martin has assembled, a 14-13 finish would be a major step in the right direction.

Door 2 11-16 (5-8 OOC, 6-8 Ivy – 6th)

Door 3 8-19 (4-9 OOC, 4-10 Ivy – tied for 7th)

Assessment: It all hinges on Saturday night vs. Yale. A loss and Door 1 is spot on. A win, and Bruno moves to the Ivy League semifinals. 

With that, let’s get to the latest edition of the WPRI12 College Hoops Column.

Thoughts and observations are below. You can always reach out via email mhershgordon@wpri.com or Twitter @MHershgordon.

No. 20 Providence 

Record: 21-8 (13-5 in Big East, tied for 2nd place)

Last: 88-68 win at Georgetown

This Week: Host No. 19 Xavier March 1 at 6:30 p.m., Host Seton Hall March 4 at Noon on FOX Providence

Plain and Simple: Jared Bynum’s confidence is paramount

Jared Bynum is out of his slump. He’s hit ten of his 15 three’s this week after shooting six-for-29 from the floor in the previous three games. Noah Locke and Devin Carter have improved off the bounce which has enabled Bynum to become more of a catch-and-shoot weapon. That’s when he’s at his best. He’s had less success when he’s had to work hard to create his own shot.

Hard Truth: Get to the 6-line in the big bracket 

PC has anywhere between three and five games remaining until Selection Sunday. Two more Quad 1 wins and no bad losses should give them a chance to sneak their way to a 6-seed. Winning out (and the Big East Tournament) might have them be able to sniff a 5, but that’s a lot of ground in a short amount of time. 

Miss the fifth episode of Season 2 of ‘PC Hoops with Coach Cooley’? Make sure to tune in this Sunday March 5 at 10:30 p.m. on FOX Providence. Click here for more PC Hoops coverage.

PC Hoops with Coach Cooley

🏀 1-on-1 with Coach Ed Cooley
🏀 “Be Them Dudes” Play of the Week

🏀 Trivia Question of the Week
🏀 Five Friar Fast Facts

Latest PC Friars Headlines »

Rhode Island

Record: 8-20 (4-12 in Atlantic 10, 14th place)

Last:  74-71 loss at Fordham

This Week: Visit Loyola-Chicago March 1 at 9 p.m., Host Davidson March 4 at 8 p.m.

Plain and Simple: Playing for pride

URI is in a position that no team wants to be in. Maybe the month of March can bring Archie Miller’s crew some better fortune. 

Hard Truth: Staring history in the face

If URI doesn’t win Wednesday at Loyola-Chicago, it will go winless away from home. There are only 11 other teams in the country that share that honor.


Record 17-11 (8-7 in America East, tied for 4th place)

Last: 70-66 loss to Vermont

This Week: Visit Maine Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., Visit New Hampshire March 4 at 1 p.m. in America East Quarterfinals

Plain and Simple: Take care of business in Maine

A win on Tuesday at UMaine locks up the No. 4 seed and a home game on Saturday. If Binghamton loses as well, Bryant would finish in third place. Not a huge difference between the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, but simply securing at least one home playoff game is important to make a run.

Hard Truth: Two wins is a must

After being picked to finish second in the preseason, getting to the league semifinal is mandatory for Bryant. Handling UMaine and then Saturday’s quarterfinal game in Smithfield would put the Bulldogs 80 minutes away from returning to the Big Dance. Assuming higher seeds prevail, Bryant would then head to UMass Lowell. Lowell is one of 12 teams unbeaten at home in the country (including Providence). The River Hawks are 15-0 in their building. Vermont is 9-1 and a perfect 7-0 at home (with one more on Tuesday against last place Albany). Jared Grasso’s program won’t be favored if they’re on the road in the semis, but roll the ball out there and see what happens two hours after tip.


Record: 14-12 (7-6 in Ivy League, 4th place)

Last: 84-73 win at Columbia

This Week: Host Yale March 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Plain and Simple: Saturday should be sold out at the Pizz

Yes, the actual Ivy League tournament begins on March 11. But treat Saturday on the East Side as the play-in round for the Bears. A chance to make history on their own floor. There shouldn’t be a seat open in that place.

Hard Truth: A chance to get the monkey off the back 

Let’s start with this: Mike Martin is doing more with less. He’s consistently had Brown in the postseason conversation on the final weekend for the better part of the last half decade despite have a bottom half of the league brand and commitment from administration. Just look at the gym the Bears play in. League-wide the narrative around the program is that the Bears are good, but not good enough. That can all be flushed down the toilet with a win at home on Saturday night. In the first meeting, Paxson Wojcik missed the front end of a one-and-one with 47 seconds left in a tie game. Bruno could have won. Now, they have to finish the job. If they do, Martin’s alma mater should offer him a lifetime contract. If they don’t, it would be the third time in the last four years they finish tied for fourth and lose out on a tiebreaker.