Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
It’s been a tough year for teams ranked No. 1 in the nation.
When Providence downed No. 1 Pittsburgh 81-73 Tuesday night, it marked the sixth time this season –and second time for the Panthers — that the No. 1 team had gone down in flames.
Pitt had just re-claimed the top spot on Monday after beating UConn last week.
While the Panthers can still be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Providence was fighting for an NCAA berth.
Right now the Friars are 9-7 in the toughest conference in the nation and they have a win over a No. 1. If they can take care of business Sunday at Rutgers before closing the regular season at Villanova, they would be 18-12 overall, 10-8 in the Big East (assuming they lose at ‘Nova).
Winning more than half your games in the brutal Big East should be good enough to get your ticket punched to the Big Dance.
“I think they made a big step to be able to continue their collegiate careers tonight,” Providence coach Keno Davis said of his seniors after their final home game. “We’re in a pretty good situation: we’re in the top half of the best conference in the country. It puts us in the conversation. I’m sure if we had lost, they wouldn’t be talking about us anymore.”
This was the sixth loss this season for a No. 1 team:**Jan. 4 – Boston College defeats No. 1 North Carolina 85-78**Jan. 17 – No. 20 Louisville defeats No. 1 Pitt 69-63**Jan. 21 – Virginia Tech defeats No. 1 Wake Forest 78-71**Jan. 28 – No. 4 Wake Forest defeats No. 1 Duke 70-68**Feb. 16 – No. 4 Pitt defeats No. 1 UConn 76-68**Feb. 24 – Providence defeats No. 1 Pitt 81-73PRESSURE AT THE TOPNorth Carolina 13-1 (W-L as No. 1) 11-2 (W-L not as No. 1)UConn 5-1 20-1Pitt 2-2 23-1Duke 1-1 21-4Wake Forest 0-1 20-4**Charts courtesy ESPN
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.