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.
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Joe Lunardi Now Has Providence, Rhody in Mix for NCAA Bids
March Madness could be coming to the state of Rhode Island.
After Saturday’s action, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi now has Providence among his “Last Four In” and says Rhode Island is “definitely in the conversation.”
After Providence beat Marquette, 73-69, the Friars improved to 18-11, 8-8 Big East. Lunardi now has both Providence and Marquette among his “Last Four In,” which would give the Big East seven total teams, or 70 percent of its league.
Coach Ed Cooley’s Friars’ last two league games are home to DePaul and at St. John’s, so they should be able to finish at least 9-9 in the Big East, a key threshold for making the Big Dance.
Meantime, Dan Hurley and Rhode Island scored a huge 69-59 win over Atlantic 10 power VCU that put them “definitely in the conversation” for an NCAA bid, Lunardi Tweeted.
Rhody (19-9, 11-5) was ranked in the Top 25 to start the season but perhaps were slightly over-ranked given their inexperience at that level. They also dealt with injuries this season to point guard Jarvis Garrett and forward Hassan Martin.
Still, when healthy there is no doubt the Rams are as talented as any team in the A-10. If they make a run in the postseason tournament in Pittsburgh, they could find themselves dancing, which would mark the first NCAA appearance in Hurley’s coaching career.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.