It was announced on Sunday, March 13 that the Providence College men's basketball team earned a No. 9 seed and will play eighth-seeded USC on Thursday, March 17 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The game will be televised on TBS at 9:45 p.m. E.S.T.
The Friars, who have posted a 23-10 mark and a 10-8 record in BIG EAST play (fourth), earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Friars are led by junior Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) and sophomore Ben Bentil (Wilmington, Del.).
Dunn was named BIG EAST Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. In addition to leading the league in steals and ranking fourth in the nation (2.6), Dunn ranks second in the BIG EAST in assists (6.4) and fourth in scoring (16.3). This season, Dunn has registered seven double-doubles and one triple-double. Dunn became the first Friar ever to register 1,000 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds and 200 steals. In 92 career games, Dunn has recorded 1,169 points (12.6 ppg), 545 assists (5.9 apg), 479 rebounds (5.2 rpg) and 205 steals (2.2 spg). Bentil, who was named BIG EAST Most Improved Player, led the league in scoring in conference play (22.9 ppg) and overall action (21.2 ppg). Bentil and Dunn were named First-Team All-BIG EAST.
This season, the team will be making its 18th overall and third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Providence has made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament three times in the history of Friar basketball (1964-66, 1972-74, and 2014-16).
The Friars will face eighth-seed, USC in the NCAA First Round. It will mark the second meeting all-time between the Friars and the Trojans. Providence and USC have never met in NCAA Tournament play. However, the Friars lead the all-time series, 1-0. Providence defeated USC, 70-66, on January 26, 1972 in Los Angeles, Calif. USC has a 21-12 overall record and concluded Pac-12 play with a 9-9 mark to place sixth. The Trojans lost in the Pac-12 Quarterfinals, dropping an 80-72 decision to Utah. USC is led by sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin with 13.4 ppg, he is also is averaging 4.7 apg. Guard Julian Jacobs, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team, leads the conference in assists (5.5 apg).
Providence and USC are playing in the East Region and the winner of their game will take on the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and the winner of the First Four game between 16-seeds FGCU and Fairleigh Dickinson. That Second Round game would be played on March 19. All game times are TBD.
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