The Providence Friars are off a 2-0 week coming off a COVID pause and are now 16-2 overall. That’s enough to see them bumped up to No. 17 in this week’s Associated Press poll.
The Friars were last 16-2 back in the 1977-78 season. That team rose to No. 9 in the AP poll before finishing 24-8 and losing to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
This PC team can extend its fast start and reach the heights of a Dave Gavitt team from only a season earlier. The 1976-77 Friars ran out to a 18-2 start before finishing 24-5 and also losing in the first round of the NCAA’s, this time to Kansas State.
Ed Cooley’s Friars have a chance to knock off two ranked foes – and Big East brothers – this week. Providence will play at No. 21 Xavier on Wednesday night and then host No. 22 Marquette (a newcomer to the poll) Saturday at The Dunk. The Big East has five teams in the poll this week with No. 14 Villanova and No. 20 UConn joining the Friars, Musketeers and Golden Eagles.
By the way here is the ranking history of the Friars:
All-time best in-season ranking is No. 3. That happened in 1962, 1965 and 1966.
Top ranking in the 1970’s: 4th, after the 1973 Final Four.
Top ranking in the 1980’s: 6th, after the 1987 Final Four
Top ranking of the 1990’s: 15th, 1997
Top ranking of the 2000’s: 12th, 2004
Top ranking of the 2010’s: 8th, 2016