Bracket Experts Lunardi & Palm Weigh in on PC & URI’s NCAA Tournament Scenarios

Monday, March 05, 2018
Joe Calabro, GoLocalProv Sports Team

Jared Terrell and Kyron Cartwright
GoLocalProv talked to the two leading bracketology experts in CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi about potential NCAA tournament scenarios for both Providence College and the University of Rhode Island heading into conference championship week.

The PC Friars and the URI men’s basketball teams are less than a week away from finding out their NCAA Tournament fate. 

The Rams are a lock for the NCAA Tournament heading into the A-10 Tournament, while the Friars are on the bubble heading into the Big East Tournament. 

Bracketology Update: URI

The Rams finished the regular season as the A-10 regular season champions and ranked 17th in the country. They have an overall record of 23-6 and 15-3 in the conference.

However, they have lost three of their last five games including a loss on the road to Davidson and a home loss to St. Joseph’s.

Jerry Palm, CBS Sports
“Losing to Davidson on the road isn’t a bad loss, losing to St. Joe’s, there is no excuse for, that’s like, you forgot to show up. I mean that cost them three lines in the bracket. If they take another bad loss they could be in the middle of the bracket,” Palm told GoLocalProv.

URI will open the A-10 Tournament against either eighth-seeded VCU or ninth-seeded Dayton on Friday at noon.

“If they were to lose in the quarterfinal, they could fall to an 8/9 game and then you are in a toss-up game just to play the #1 seed,” Lunardi told GoLocalProv.

Palm adds “If they win the A-10 Tournament, who are they beating? It’s not like they are beating Michigan State,” Palm continued, “they can pretty much only hurt themselves at this point. It’s not like picking up a second win over St. Bonaventure is going to move them from a 7-seed to a 4-seed.”

URI is seeded seventh by both Lunardi and Palm in their latest bracket projections.

Lunardi told GoLocalProv that he thinks Rhode Island can get back to a six-seed at best with an A-10 Tournament win.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN
Bracketology Update: PC

The Friars finished the regular season with an overall record of 19-12 and a conference record of 10-8, good enough for fifth in the Big East.

Providence will play Creighton in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The biggest question for PC is do they need to win Thursday to seal a fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid?

“I’m not sure they have to win and there is no way to know that, but I still think their odds are better than 50/50 if they don’t. I just think their good wins and the number of them are better than the other teams at the end of the line,” said Lunardi of PC's wins over Villanova and Xavier. 

Palm added, “their [PC] chances of getting in are pretty good. If they go out in the first game against Creighton they will probably be a double-digit seed or could be out entirely, but I don’t think so. I don’t think their situation it is quite that bad.”

According to Lunardi’s latest projection, PC is an 11 seed and playing Texas in a First Four game as one of the last four in. 

Palm also has the Friars as an 11-seed, but not one of the last four in.

  • Guard

    E.C. Matthews - Redshirt Senior 

    E.C. Matthews returns for his redshirt senior season, now two years removed from ACL surgery. The Rams will need him to regain his form.

    Matthews missed a couple of weeks during the preseason with knee tendinitis, but has since returned to practice and did play in URI's "secret scrimmage" against Harvard last week. 

    Prior to the start of this season, Matthews was named to the first preseason All-Atlantic 10 team during A-10 Media Day. He is also on the John Wooden Award Watch List. 

    Last season, Matthews averaged 15 points per game on 42% shooting from the field. In the A-10 Tournament, Matthews carried the Rams offense scoring 20, 19 and 19 points respectively in the three games to get the Rams the title. 

     
  • Guard

    Jared Terrell - Senior

    Jared Terrell was named to second preseason All-Atlantic 10 team during A-10 Media Day. 

    He returns to the Rams after averaging 13 points, three rebounds and one steal per game in 2016-17. 

    Terrell will look to build off last season in which he shot 42 % from the field - the highest of his career. 

     
  • Guard

    Jeff Dowtin - Sophomore

    Jeff Dowtin is coming off a freshman season in which he started the final 19 games, including both NCAA Tournament games. 

    He averaged six points and two assists in 22 minutes of action per game last season while also recording 17 steals on the year. 

    In URI's NCAA Tournament game against Creighton, Dowtin poured in a career-high 23 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field. 

     
  • Forward

    Andre Berry - Senior 

    In two seasons with the Rams, Andre Berry has played in 30 games, but hasn't started any. 

    For his career, Berry has averaged 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in an averaged of six minutes per game. 

     

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