Devin Carter and the Friars have won 9 straight games (Photo by Louriann Mardo-Zayat)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
It’s taken one of the best winning streaks in ages but the Providence Friars are back in the Top 25.
Fresh off a ninth straight win – the best for a PC team in 34 seasons – and a perfect 6-0 Big East start, the Friars (14-3 overall) went from outside of the national polls to 19th in this week’s Associated Press Top 25.
The 6-0 start in conference play is the best in school history. PC doesn’t play again until Saturday at Creighton.
This is the fourth time in Ed Cooley’s 12 seasons as coach that the Friars have crashed the Top 25. The others came in 2015 (with a high of No. 24), 2016 (8th) and 2022 (8th).
PC’s current 9-game winning streak is the best at the school since Rick Barnes’ first team began 13-0 in the 1988-89 season. That team finished 18-11 and 7-9 in the Big East and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Virginia.
This Friar team is once again pointed towards the NCAA’s. The Friars are 34th in the NCAA’s NET rankings with four Quad 1 wins. PC is 30th in the Kenpom efficiency rankings.
The Friars ended last season 13th in the AP Poll after spending 13 weeks among the Top 25. That team peaked at No. 8 in the poll on Feb. 14.
KevinMcSports is happy to have one of the 60 media votes in the Top 25. While the vast majority of voters only inserted Providence onto their ballots after this week’s wins over Connecticut and St. John’s, we had the Friars in at No. 24 last week and elevated Cooley’s guys to No. 17 this week.
Connecticut fell from 4th to 6th, Xavier jumped to 12th and Marquette came in at 25th to give the Big East four Top 25 teams. Only the Big 12 and SEC have more with five apiece.
Atop the poll both Houston and Kansas own strong cases. Both have just one loss, with the Cougars falling at home to Alabama and the Jayhawks dropping one in the Bahamas to Tennessee. Houston sits atop most of the metrics-based rankings, while Kansas counters with the best collection of Quad 1 wins in the country including victories over Duke, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin, among others.
That’s good enough to earn my No. 1 vote. My top 5 included Kansas-Purdue-Tennessee-Alabama-Houston.