Ed Cooley

Providence releases non-conference schedule

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The Providence Friars and head coach Ed Cooley released their non-conference schedule for the upcoming season on Friday and it’s headlined by the Virgin Island Paradise Jam.

The Friars have an interesting opening-game matchup with Vanderbilt before facing a remaining field of teams that includes Northern Iowa, Loyola Marymount, Marist, Maryland, Morgan State and LaSalle.

Providence will also open the season at home on November 8th, with a home game against Boston College in an early-season matchup of regional non-conference high-majors.

Kentucky also shows up on the schedule as a matchup at Barclays Center looms on December 1st and is followed up by a road matchup with Rhode Island on December 5th.

Ending the non-conference portion of the schedule will be a matchup at UMass as well on December 28th.

The Friars have some talent and this early season non-conference schedule should test them a bit.

With the return of Big East scoring champion and first team Big East performer — senior guard Bryce Cotton — Providence has some scoring punch.

Here is the non-conference schedule for Providence:

NOVEMBER
8 Fri. BOSTON COLLEGE 6:00 p.m.
13 Wed. BROWN 7:00 p.m.
16 Sat. MARIST  TBA
18 Mon. VERMONT 7:00 p.m.
22 Fri. vs. Vanderbilt ^ 6:30 p.m.
23 Sat. vs.   TBA ^ TBA
24 Sun. vs.  TBA ^ TBA
25 Mon. vs.  TBA ^ TBA
29 Fri. FAIRFIELD TBA
DECEMBER
1 Sun. vs. Kentucky (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.) 8:00 p.m.
5 Thur. at Rhode Island TBA
17 Tue. YALE 7:00 p.m.
21 Sat. MAINE TBA
28 Sat. at UMass TBA
ALL GAMES ARE EASTERN TIME AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE
^ – Virgin Island Paradise Jam at St. Thomas, Virgin Island

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: