Providence has look of NCAA Tournament team in 2K Classic tournament win

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Providence had a terrific showing in the 2K Classic this week, taking the title with a 90-63 win over Saint Louis on Friday night.

The Friars manhandled the Billikens, leading by 20 at halftime and shooting an absurd 62 percent from the floor and 90 percent from three (9-for-10).

Providence (3-1) beat Washington, 77-70, to advance to the 2K Final. Saint Louis (3-1) wasn’t expected to be there waiting for them, but the Billikens edged Virginia Tech, 77-71, in their semi on Thursday.

SLU finished 12-21 last year, but showed some promise in this tournament under Travis Ford, the former Kentucky guard and Oklahoma State coach who probably didn’t deserve to be exiled from Stillwater. Ford is a good coach, and he’ll probably have this team much-improved by the end of the season. The win over Buzz Williams’ Hokies should prove impressive as the year goes on, and the Billikens have a leader in 6-6 sophomore Javon Bess (16.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who had 22 and 9 in the win over Virginia Tech, and was named to the 2K All-Tournament team.

The Friars are in even better shape, with a balanced and talented squad that would be undefeated if it weren’t for a second-half comeback by No. 14 Minnesota at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Monday (Kid named Coffey went off–who woulda thunk that?).

6-8 senior Rodney Bullock is menacing inside, a tough rebounder and good finisher around the basket. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 11 points and 7 boards.

6-9 sophomore Kalif Young has been a revelation early on, putting up 11 ppg, and senior point guard Kyron Cartright is doing a great job running the show (10 ppg, 8 apg).

There’s plenty of promise for the future, as freshman point guard Makai Ashton-Langford has looked good in somewhat limited minutes (15 per) so far this season.

Ed Cooley is a great recruiter and a solid coach, and based on what we’ve seen so far, Providence could be a Top-25 team. They’ll certainly be in the mix in an open Big East race, and appear to be talented enough to lock up their fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid–something the program has never accomplished in its rich history.

More college hoops:

Scouting takeaways from Kansas-Kentucky in the Champions Classic

How did Deandre Ayton look in his Arizona debut?

Breaking down Marvin Bagley’s Duke debut


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