Providence College Investigates

by npatano


PCI


Who Will Win NBA MVP?

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Giannis Antetokounmpo

As the NBA playoffs continue to ramp up, the announcement of awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year loom. The three finalists for the MVP award have already been announced: Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Out of the three, one player stands out for his tremendous impact on both ends of the court. While all three players are offensive superstars, Antetokounmpo is on another level on defense, as he is perennially under consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Antetokounmpo has saved the Bucks countless points with his athleticism as he’s able to cover more ground than anyone else due to his almost seven-foot stature, allowing him to erase any opponent’s scoring opportunities in the blink of an eye. His rim protection is also elite; averaging over one block per game, he effortlessly rises to meet opponents at the rim and turns them away with ease. 

His defensive impact is strengthened by his consistent anticipation of where the ball is heading next, allowing him to rack up steals which often lead to highlight reel break-away dunks. Antetokounmpo’s defensive contributions cannot be overstated, and his team reaps the benefits, boasting the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. 

Antetokounmpo also uses his unique combination of strength, size, and athleticism to wreak havoc on the boards. Few players in the league can out-rebound him, and the ability to close out possessions on defense and create extra possessions on offense is invaluable to the Bucks. 

Oftentimes, opposing teams will be forced to double-team immediately when Antetokounmpo catches the ball, which helps him create easy looks for his teammates, whether it be finding cutters streaking towards the rim or shooters spotting up on the three-point line. Antetokounmpo averages almost six assists per game, which is particularly impressive considering his position. 

Although Giannis’s facilitating and rebounding are equally impressive facets of his game, his ability to put points on the board may be his most valuable trait. Whenever Milwaukee is in dire need of a bucket, they know exactly who to turn to; Antetokounmpo, and more often than not, he delivers. Antetokounmpo averaged a hair under 30 points per game this year, 29.9, which was good for second in the league. 

Overall, Antetokounmpo’s multifaceted impact on the game cannot be denied, nor can his indispensable value to the Bucks, making him deserving of the 2022 NBA MVP.

Patrick Walsh ’24

Sports Staff

Nikola Jokić

With the NBA regular season coming to an end, only a few players are in the most valuable player conversation. One of the most dominant players in today’s game is Serbian native Nikola Jokić. 

Jokić, on paper, is a center or power forward because of his enormous size and strength. However, as the leader of this team, he has learned to play every position and dominate anywhere he is asked to play. Another star player for the Nuggets, Jamal Murray, went down with a torn ACL in April 2021. This put even more pressure on The Joker to lead his team to the postseason in hopes of a championship. Jokić is respected throughout the entire NBA because he is one of the few players who can take complete control of a game and consistently score play after play. He is most effective inside the paint because of his reachability and aggressiveness to get to the free-throw line or finish a possession with a bucket, but he can also hit shots from beyond the arch, which is why he is a dual-threat two-way player. 

Jokić is going for his second straight MVP, but his resume is even more impressive than last season. Jokić averaged 27.1 points per game, 13.8 rebounds per game, and 7.9 assists this season. He has also produced a league-leading 19 triple-doubles to put him at 73 for his career and seventh most all time. Nikola Jokić has tough competition with Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, hungry for hardware. They have similar play styles to Jokić and are the best players on their respective teams. Antetokounmpo hopes to accept his third MVP award, while Embiid is looking for his first. This three-horse is as close as it gets. However, Jokić is the clear answer to get it done because he is the most consistent player out of the three and has put his franchise on the map as a postseason team that does not go quietly. He has completely transformed a franchise that struggled to win games, and he has picked up his game in the areas he is least consistent in. He now averages more steals and three-point shots per game, and he is shooting inside the three-point line at 63 percent, a career-best. 

The Nuggets were recently eliminated from the playoffs by the red-hot, sharpshooting Golden State Warriors. The series went just five games, but Jokić was on his game and was able to give his team a chance by averaging about 31 points per game. As hard as it is to win MVP once, being able to continue to dominate and win the year after is something special, and Jokić is more than deserving of this award.

Providence College Investigates

by npatano


PCI


Who Will Win the Big East Tournament?

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Providence Friars

As March Madness rapidly approaches, one of the most highly anticipated conference tournaments this year is the Big East Tournament, taking place in Madison Square Garden March 9-12. 

The Big East has been one of the premier conferences in college basketball all year and is projected to have upwards of six NCAA Tournament teams. That should make for an action-packed week in New York City. 

The Providence College Friars enter the tournament atop the conference, as regular-season champs. The Friars have been one of the best in the nation in close games down the stretch. Many analysts have attributed this to luck, but the experience of the Friars has benefitted them time and time again. 

The Friars will also be riding high on the momentum from winning the Big East regular-season title for the first time in program history. 

Graduate transfer Al Durham ’22 has run the point for the Friars with the calm demeanor necessary to win close games in the always competitive Big East. 

Big man Nate Watson ’22 has been one of the best centers in the country all year for the Friars, and his physicality wears our opponents. 

AJ Reeves ’22 is another experienced Friar, one who has the potential for an offensive explosion each game. His three-point shooting will be key in the Big East Tournament, as the offense opens for the rest of the team when he can knock down threes. 

Jared Bynum ’23 has come on incredibly strong, recently winning Big East Player of the Week twice during conference play. His presence off the bench will also be key for the Friars as he provides instant offense that few other players within the conference can match. 

Noah Horchler ’22 is another crucial player for the Friars whose experience will be invaluable during tournament play. His defense has improved significantly from last year, and his rebounding should help the Friars limit their opponents to only one shot per possession in the tournament. 

Justin Minaya ’22 is one of the best defensive stoppers in the nation. His versatility on defense has been a significant factor to the Friars’ success, and his ability to guard the opposing team’s best player is a reason the Friars are such a threat to win the tournament. 

Ed Croswell ’22 is another player  who has made great improvements since last year’s campaign, and his energy has been critical to the team’s success all year. 

Overall, the Friars’ combination of depth, experience, and defensive prowess will result in them being crowned the Big East Regular Season and Tournament champions.

 

Luke Sweeney ’24

Sports Staff

Villanova Wildcats

Tuesday, March 1 marks the official end of the historic 2022 regular season for the Providence College Men’s Basketball team. In their final game, they faced off against the Villanova Wildcats at the Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, PA. In a close contest once again, the Wildcats came up victorious, 76-74, to sweep the season series. 

For those who have followed Big East basketball this season, Providence and Villanova have consistently been on top of the pack and have proved that they have the players and team ability to go head-to-head with some of the toughest teams in the nation. Coach Ed Cooley and the Friars made history on Saturday when they beat Creighton University to win Providence’s first Big East regular season championship in program history.

Despite the unprecedented season by the Friars, Villanova is still a dangerous team which has the potential to go far in both the Big East Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament in mid-March. With a stacked lineup of extremely efficient shooters, including the NBA prospect Collin Gillespie, it is hard to find a team in the NCAA that the Wildcats cannot keep up with.

One of the biggest elements of tournament play in men’s college basketball is experience. A team with age and experience in big-time games is almost as important as a team’s record in the current year. Experience is something that Villanova seldomly lacks, year in and year out. Fifth-year point guard Gillespie was last year’s Big East Player of The Year and has a national championship under his belt. Fellow fifth-year and Massachusetts native Jalen Samuels also has a national championship ring and has had an outstanding year defensively. If they can use their age and depth in the right ways during the Big East Tournament, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Wildcats won’t win it all.

Head coach Jay Wright has had an incredible career with Villanova thus far, and hopes to add to his trophy collection when he and his team travel to Madison Square Garden this year. Since his first year as head coach, he has achieved a 490-189 record (72.2 winning percentage), including a wildly impressive 30-15 record in the NCAA tournament. He will without a doubt be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame by the end of his career.

Lastly, the Villanova Wildcats have played out the no. 4-ranked strength of schedule during the 2021-2022 regular season, including hard fought battles against top-ranked opponents such as PC and Purdue University. It will most definitely be interesting to see how the Big East Tournament pans out, but I am picking the Villanova Wildcats to hoist the trophy. 

Who Will Win Super Bowl LVI?

by npatano


PCI


Providence College Investigates

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are set to square off with the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals to decide a Super Bowl Champion, and the champion will be the Rams. 

Both teams have put together impressive playoff runs, each winning three consecutive games to reach the Super Bowl. The Rams managed to build their team up into one of the top Super Bowl contenders prior to the season. They were able to re-up at the trade deadline, acquiring star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has been one of the Rams’ most dangerous weapons down the stretch. In addition to Odell, the Rams also have Cooper Kupp, who has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league this year. 

Despite his recent struggles with turnovers, Matt Stafford is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, with the ability to push the ball down the field in a hurry. It will be key for Stafford to take care of the ball and avoid any critical mistakes. If he can do that, the Rams’ dominant defense is more than capable of slowing down the prolific offense of the Bengals. 

The Bengals’ quarterback, Joe Burrow, has had a breakout year in his sophomore campaign, but his offense’s glaring weakness is their offensive line. Unfortunately for them, the Rams’ biggest strength defensively is their ability to get to the quarterback. Aaron Donald is widely considered the best pass rusher in the league, and if the Bengals are unable to slow him down, Burrow could be in for a long game. Alongside Donald is Von Miller, another trade deadline acquisition, who is more than capable of getting to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. All-pro cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, is another player with a great impact on the game. Jamarr Chase, the Bengals’ rookie wide receiver, has emerged as a star this year, but will draw an incredibly tough matchup in all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey’s physicality is unlike anything Chase has faced so far this year, and it could pose a serious problem for the Bengals’ offense if Chase struggles.  

Overall, the Rams have a high-octane offense that the Bengals’ defense will struggle to contain. In addition to their powerful offense, the defense will be able to pressure Joe Burrow consistently enough to throw him off his game. The Rams’ overall wealth of talent should prove to be too much for the Bengals to overcome and ensure that the Rams wake up Monday morning as Super Bowl Champions. 

 

Luke Sweeney ’24

Sports Staff

Cincinnati Bengals

This Sunday, two blazing hot teams will meet for the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA when the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike most years, both of these teams have had to play a wild card game at the beginning of their postseason campaigns. The Bengals have won six of their last seven games and are currently the high-powered offense that is being talked about around the league.

Led by the prophesied young Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals have been shocking the world recently with big postseason wins against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and then the reigning American Football Conference (AFC) championship powerhouse, Kansas City Chiefs. Joe Burrow and the Bengals proved everyone wrong who thought that the Chiefs were an unstoppable force. In doing so, they have left their mark on the AFC as the new young team to beat for the coming years.

The National Football Conference (NFC) and AFC championship games two weeks ago left the world with their jaws open. The San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs, although coming up just short of a victory, showed that they have the tools on both offense and defense to win a Super Bowl. The weekend of championship football will go down in history as two of the most competitive and offensively explosive games ever played on the gridiron.

As for the Super Bowl between the Rams and Bengals, the Bengals are the younger and better of the two teams who will come up with the win. While the Rams have superstars such as Matt Stafford, Cooper Cupp, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsay, there is no group of players that can stop the well-rounded AFC powerhouse Bengals.

Joe Burrow and his number one target, Jamar Chase, have been unstoppable all season and the media is widely on their side. The deciding factor of this Super Bowl matchup is most likely going to be on the defensive side of the ball. It is no secret that both offenses have the ability to sling the ball down the field and hammer the run game when needed. That being said, whoever makes the biggest plays on defense will be the ones to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and bring it home to their respective cities.

The question, though, still remains: does a young Joe Burrow have the NFL-caliber skills and poise in the pocket to perform on a stage as big as the Super Bowl? We have all seen what he is capable of, but only time will tell. 

Providence College Investigates

by npatano


PCI


Which is the Better Olympics?

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Summer

The Summer and Winter Olympic Games allow the best athletes in the world to showcase their talents while representing their country. Although both are extremely fun to watch, the summer games beat out the winter games in terms of excitement. 

The wide array of sports to choose from during the Summer Olympic Games, ranging from archery to water polo ensures that there will be something for everyone. The track and field events that take place during the Summer Olympics are can’t-miss T.V. The races combine mesmerizing star power with incredible pace. Battles between Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and the rest of the field have been consistently breathtaking for nearly the past two decades, often with Bolt coming out on top. The relays also add another layer to watch during the track and field events, often resulting in chaotic finishes. 

The swim events are another aspect of what makes the Summer Olympic Games so fun to watch. The United States’ Michael Phelps’ run of dominance in swimming can be compared to Bolt’s in sprinting, as he is the all-time leader in medals in the Summer Olympic Games, at a whopping 28 medals. 

Beach volleyball is another event that adds to the excitement of the games. The beach volleyball matches are fast-paced and never fail to amaze the crowd. Another fan favorite is table tennis, as it is incredible to watch the coordination displayed throughout the matches. 

Some of the recently added events have also been rapidly growing in popularity. Skateboarding and surfing were both added as events to the games, and each continue to reach a broader audience. Each sport has polarizing athletes who continue to grow the fanbase for the Olympics. 

The Summer Olympic Games also have widely popular sports such as basketball and soccer. Both  have consistently provided competitive matchups, with three-versus-three basketball being a recent addition to the games on top of five-versus-five. The great variety of events that provide something for everyone combined with the star power of the Summer Olympic Games pushes them ahead of the Winter Olympic Games. 

Overall, both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games are great opportunities for every country around the world to band together and appreciate the hard work that each athlete puts in to reach the levels of greatness required to participate in the Olympics.

 

Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

Winter

When it comes to the Olympic games, it always seems to feel like the summer games get much more love and attention than their winter counterparts.  In all fairness, the summer games are exciting and have been full of iconic moments, athletes, and events. Usain Bolt and the Jamaican 4×100 meter relay team beating the U.S. team after both squads beat the previous world record time in the same race, for example, are some exciting moments in Olympic history. Similarly, Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated Olympians of all time. And, the cultural significance of the USA Dream Team in the basketball tournament has had an impact to this day. Whatever it may be, winter sports are  just as good, and perhaps even better.

The winter games can answer the summer games in terms of star power and iconic moments themselves.  Look at Lindsey Vonn, one of the greatest female skiers of all time, or, Shaun White, who makes even the most difficult snowboarding tricks look easy. And, few moments in sports are more iconic than the 1980 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament when the United States beat the USSR in the semi-finals and went on to win gold. Needless to say, the winter games are right up there with summer in terms of iconic moments, athletes, and overall enjoyability. However, not notoriety. 

Maybe it is because the summer games have more recognizable and exciting sports.  After all, it is much easier to get excited about a race when the racers are competing head-to-head and not against a clock like some winter events, but the winter games are vastly underrated in this area too. 

For fans of technique and grace, perhaps gymnastics in the summer games is a favorite event. But, figure skating is just as beautiful and graceful and arguably more difficult than gymnastics. And if it resembles “dancing” too much for your taste, half pipe and freestyle skiing and snowboarding are just as technical and dramatic. For fans of speed, speed skating or ski jumping may be interesting. And, of course, the exhilarating  downhill skiing events. Anyone who has ever skied or snowboarded knows the rush of flying down a mountain and it is no different here. The hockey tournament, which could be less popular in the United States, is nonetheless incredibly entertaining and intense as the talent is spread evenly worldwide. 

The winter games have many great aspects and advantages over its summer counterpart, and it is time we gave these games the respect they deserve.

 

Who Will Win 2021/22 NBA MVP?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Providence College Investigates

Will Murphy ‘23

Sports Staff

Ja Morant

Ja Morant has begun this season with the Memphis Grizzlies scorching hot. Morant appears poised to lead the Grizzlies on a playoff run, thanks to the considerable improvements that have been evident in all aspects of his game. The three-point shot, once a hole in Morant’s game, has developed into an asset. He now makes almost two three-pointers per game on five attempts, shooting around 35 percent. Morant is even more dangerous off the bounce because defenders must respect his jumper. One crucial characteristic of an MVP is their ability to improve the play of their teammates, an area in which Morant excels. He consistently blows by his primary defender and forces the defense to collapse on him in the paint, and his vision allows him to kick the ball out to wide-open shooters at the three-point line. Morant is top ten in assists in the league, something that has been invaluable for a Grizzlies squad with many capable shooters who are comfortable spotting up and awaiting a dime from Morant.

Morant is also fearless when attacking the rim, willing to climb the ladder against rim protectors even when he’s often almost an entire foot shorter. This willingness to slash to the basket leads to countless momentum-swinging dunks that often end up as highlights on SportsCenter’s Top Ten Plays. His scoring has also seen an impressive jump from 19 points per game last year to almost 27 this year, which is good for fifth in the league. What’s more is that he has been able to boost his scoring volume rather efficiently, shooting just a shade under 49 percent from the field, which is extremely impressive for a lead guard tasked with being his team’s primary shot creator.

Morant is also one of the best rebounding guards in the league, bringing down six per game. A point guard’s ability to grab rebounds is an asset for a team, allowing them to push the ball up the court quickly before the defense gets set without needing an outlet pass from a center to a guard. MVPs are not only difference-makers on offense, but impactful defenders. At point guard, he guards the opponent’s elite playmakers. His elite lateral quickness allows him to stay in front of even the shiftiest guards. He also has a knack for timing steals perfectly, in the league’s top 15 in steals per game at just under two. Morant will likely be the best player on the court each game this year, but even in games when he’s not, he will be the most valuable to his team, which is why Morant will take home the 2021-2022 MVP award.

Leo Hainline ’22

Sports Co-Editor

Stephen Curry

Right now, there is no better basketball player in the world than Stephen Curry. The Warriors star has led his team to a league-best 11-2 record without fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson and the team’s raw but talented center James Wiseman. No signs suggest that Curry will slow down this season and he has established himself as the rightful favorite to win the NBA’s 2021-2022 MVP award.

Curry is second in the league in points-per-game average at 28.1, trailing only Kevin Durant, who is providing 6.7 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.2 made 3’s a contest. These statistics are on pace to surpass his 2014-2015 MVP campaign numbers and are similar to his 2015-2016 statistics, a season in which he led the Warriors to a record-breaking 73-9 regular season record while recording 30.1 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.4 rebounds a game. Despite posting similar individual numbers last season, Curry finished third in MVP voting behind winner Nikola Jokic and runner-up Joel Embiid. The main factor preventing Curry from winning his third MVP this past season was the Warriors 39-33 record and failure to make the playoffs. Judging from the first month of the season, this year is a different story for Golden State.

The Warriors have a legitimate chance to grab for the one-seed in the competitive Western Conference, an achievement that would undoubtedly reward Curry with this third MVP trophy. What would make this feat even more remarkable is the fact that without Curry, the Warriors would probably be a sub-50 team. There is no single player who contributes more to his team’s success.

What further helps Curry’s case is that he has already broken NBA records this season. At only 33 years old, he has broken Ray Allen’s record for most three-pointers made in the history of the NBA. Do not be surprised if Curry continues to set and break records this season, adding to his resume and making him the clear choice for NBA MVP. Furthermore, Curry is the type of player who people enjoy watching and adds to the game of basketball. His shooting and general offensive skill is objectively fun to watch, and Curry is one of the most likable athletes in the world. This will only help his case for winning the prestigious award.

Curry’s play this season has been literally the most valuable out of any player in the league. Continued production out of the Warriors’ point guard will seal his position as the award’s frontrunner, and he will walk away from the 2021-2022 season with his third, and likely not final, MVP trophy.

Sports Shorts

by The Cowl Editor


Sports Shorts


Sports Shorts

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Men’s Soccer

In their final home game of the season, the Providence College Men’s Soccer Team tied Villanova University 0-0, on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Friars were able to outshoot the Wildcats 28-7 but were unable to find a way to notch the go-ahead goal. Goalkeeper Lukas Burns ’24 had a clean sheet making two saves, helping the Friars to their fifth shutout of the season. The tie moved the Friar’s record to 9-2-4 on the season. Next up for the Friars is the regular-season finale on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Omaha, NE against Creighton University.

Women’s Soccer

The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team closed out the regular season strong at home on Thursday, Oct. 28 with a 2-0 win against Seton Hall University on senior night. The Friars pulled ahead at 41’ thanks to Angie Suaza ’23 netting a penalty kick. After taking the lead, the Friars didn’t look back, scoring again at 58’ with a Meg Hughes ’24 goal. The win clinched a Big East Tournament spot for the Friars, for which they traveled to New York to take on St. John’s University on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Field Hockey

The Providence College Field Hockey Team had a successful week beating Quinnipiac University 5-2 Friday, Oct. 29 at home. The Friars got off to a hot start and by the time the first half was over, they led 3-0. In the third and fourth quarter, each team traded goals, but the Friars were always able to keep the Bobcats at arm’s length. Sophia Pompeo ’23 and Olivia Ward ’22 each scored two goals, and the fifth was added by Niamh Gowing ’22. The Friars close the regular season at home on Sunday, Oct. 31, taking on Dartmouth University.

Men’s Hockey

The No. 8-ranked Providence College Men’s Hockey Team had a busy weekend, taking on the unranked University of New Hampshire on back-to-back nights, Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30. They dominated Friday’s matchup at home, winning 6-1, but fell in Saturday’s matchup on the road 2-1 in a tightly contested overtime battle. The weekend’s results moved the Friar’s record to 6-3 on the season. Looking ahead, the Friars have an important two-game set with the No.12-ranked University of Massachusetts Amherst Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6.

What Sport has the Best Playoffs?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Providence College Investigates

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

College Basketball

The playoffs are one of the most exciting aspects of sports, but one league stands out with the most exciting playoffs: NCAA Men’s Basketball.

There is so much to love about the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, appropriately dubbed “March Madness.” Whether one enjoys Cinderella stories, heroic individual performances, or powerhouses squaring off, there is something for everybody.

Take the University of Baltimore County Maryland, for example, ranked as the 166th best team in the country entering the tournament in 2018, after winning their conference tournament to secure a bid. They were able to knock off the one seed, the University of Virginia, who was ranked as the No. 2 overall team in the country heading into the tournament. They were the first 16 seed in the history of the tournament to defeat a one seed, instantly becoming the Cinderella story of the year.

Some Cinderella stories continue up until the final weekend of the tournament, as was the case with Butler University in 2011. Butler was able to notch upset after upset as an eight seed in the tournament to reach the final game, becoming only the second eight seed to reach the final game since the tournament began.

Another aspect of March Madness that makes it so exciting is the capacity for an individual player to carry their team to unlikely upsets and capture the heart of the country in the process. Jimmer Fredette was able to lead Brigham Young University to the Sweet Sixteen, with his electric shooting range.

Stephen Curry also led a small school from North Carolina, Davidson College, to the Elite Eight in 2008. Curry led the tournament in points per game averaging an incredible 32 points per game and drawing the adoration and support from fans across the nation.

Finally, the powerhouse matchups in the Elite Eight and Final Four add another layer to March Madness. In one of the most exciting championship games in the history of sports, Villanova University took on the University of North Carolina in 2016.

The final possessions of the game proved to be one of the most memorable moments in the sport of basketball. After Marcus Paige of UNC sank a nearly impossible double-clutched three-pointer to tie the game at 74, the game seemed destined for overtime. That was until Ryan Arcidiacono pitched the ball back to Kris Jenkins who nailed a buzzer-beater to win the National Championship, in one of the best finishes to a championship ever.

From beginning to end, March Madness provides the most thrilling moments out of any playoffs in sports.

 

Justin Bishop ’24

Sports Staff

National Hockey League

Reaching the playoffs is the goal of every team in every sport, every season. To keep playing competitively after the regular season concludes is the only way to win a championship, and the hardest path to win a title out of any sport is, undoubtedly, hockey.

Few other sports have a playoffs composed of a taxing seven-game series that each team must go through in order to win their championship. In hockey, there are four rounds of this style of games, which means that a team must win 16 playoff games, no fewer, in order to lift the Stanley Cup. This is after playing a regular season of 82 games and having a top-three record out of a division of eight teams.

Basketball is the only other sport whose playoff season shares this concept, but hockey has proven to be a tougher sport to play than basketball. After each playoff series, one can only look at the injury report to see the unique circumstances that hockey players must fight through in order to win the cup.

Patrice Bergeron played games five, six, and seven of the 2013 Cup Final with a broken rib, torn rib cartilage, separated shoulder, and a pinhole puncture in his lung. Fans recognize this and appreciate the sacrifice of each player during their time playing.

The atmosphere at a regular-season hockey game is rivaled only by a college football game. If you are watching a playoff game, you know the stakes are high and players will put their whole bodies on the line in order to make a play for the advantage of their team.

Hockey fans recognize this at a different level than others and are the most passionate in sports. They increase the level of engagement in the playoffs by chanting louder, chanting more often, coordinating with each other specific chants targeted at particular players (most of the time it is the goaltender’s name).

The Nashville Predators have the most coordinated fans in the playoffs. The chant each fan participates in after a Predator goal is scored echoes throughout Bridgestone Arena, giving everyone chills down their spines. There are plenty of YouTube videos that showcase this specific chant among Predators fans.

Attending a hockey playoff game is an experience that cannot be described and can only be felt by going to one yourself. The energy, passion, and grit required by both a team in their fan base to lift the Stanley Cup makes it the greatest playoffs in all of sports.

Big East Basketball Preview

by The Cowl Editor


Friar Sports


Potential for a Year to Remember

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

The Big East is perennially one of the best conferences in college basketball, and this year’s Conference looks very deep from top to bottom. Villanova University figures to be a title contender between their experienced group of returning upperclassmen and their strong class of freshmen. In particular, look for fifth-year guard Collin Gillespie to lead the team and potentially play his way into an All-American selection. If the Wildcats can stay healthy, they should be a legitimate Final Four threat.

In their second year since their return to the Big East, University of Connecticut is a team that could challenge Villanova for the top spot within the conference. Despite losing star guard James Bouknight to the NBA, the Huskies have room to improve on last year’s strong showing. A trio of freshmen, led by top 50 recruit Samson Johnson, should be able to replace a good chunk of Bouknight’s production, while the returning upperclassmen, like R.J. Cole, are allowed to step up and shoulder more of the playmaking responsibilities.

Seton Hall University, led by head coach Kevin Willard, is another team that is consistent atop the standings in the Big East. Look for Bryce Aiken to take a big step forward in his second year at Seton Hall, as he will be one of the strongest guards in the conference, and form a formidable backcourt pairing with Syracuse transfer Kadary Richmond.

A team that could surprise some people with a top-three finish in the conference this year is Butler University. Last year, Butler had one of the youngest rotations in the country, and their star point guard and leader, Aaron Thompson, battled injuries all year. With Thompson returning for his fifth year, alongside sophomore guard Chuck Harris, the Bulldogs should bounce back from last year’s disappointment.

Another solid team that may be a top three finish is Providence College. The Friars return one of the best big men in the country in Nate Watson ’21GS, who should be able to dominate in the post and on the glass. One thing to look for is the potential addition of a more reliable jumper for Watson which would make the already imposing big man nearly unstoppable. The X-Factor for Friars should be Brycen Goodine ’23, a sharp-shooting guard with serious bounce. If Goodine can break out for Providence and Watson takes a step forward with his jumper the Friars could be poised for a run into the NCAA tournament.

Coach Cooley
Photo Courtesy of Hartford Courant

The Xavier University Musketeers is another team that should be battling for a position in the middle of the pack in the deep Big East. The Musketeers return their top seven scorers from last year’s team and are hoping that experience can give them an edge this year. Zach Freemantle is a strong forward with the ability to grab rebounds, score, and facilitate offense for his teammates out of the post. If Paul Scruggs and Freemantle can stay healthy Xavier is another team with realistic NCAA tournament aspirations.

Georgetown University’s run at the end of last year has many people questioning if it was a fluke or not. Led by head coach, Patrick Ewing, Georgetown was a talented bunch, but they did not put it together until the Big East tournament last year, where they rattled off four consecutive wins to win the tournament and secure a bid into the NCAA tournament. This year’s team is looking to build off that positive momentum, despite the departure of their top four scorers from last year. If the Hoyas can have a solid year, it will likely be Dante Harris, a sophomore point guard, stepping up to lead the squad with his ability to get to the rim and create easy offense for others. Another player to watch for Georgetown is freshman Aminu Mohammed, who is projected to be a first-round pick in next year’s NBA Draft. Mohammed will be relied upon to replace a large portion of the scoring that was lost from last year’s squad.

St. John’s University is another team that will be of great interest this year. Head coach Mike Anderson likes to play at one of the fastest paces in the country and relishes speeding other teams up with their high-pressure full-court press. Leading the charge for St. John’s will be Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander, each of whom should be candidates for the Conference’s player of the year. University of Vermont transfer Stef Smith should provide some much-needed three-point shooting off the bench for the Red Storm.

Creighton will be an intriguing team to watch this year as well, after losing their entire starting lineup from last year. Expect them to struggle early in the year, but considering they have the top-ranked freshman class in the Big East they could put things together as the year progresses. Arthur Kaluma should lead the bunch with his physicality on the defensive end and ability to guard multiple positions. Marquette University could be in line for a bounce-back year following their acquisition of Shaka Smart as head coach. They are going to have to rely heavily on the four transfers that they picked up, namely Darryl Morsel, the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. DePaul University should struggle again this year after losing their best player, Charlie Moore, from a team that was unable to find success last year. On the bright side, the Blue Demons do have a promising freshman in Ahamad Bynum, whose versatile skill set should allow him to make an impact immediately.

Providence College Investigates: NBA

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Should the NBA Logo Be Changed?

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Yes, There’s A Better Choice

The NBA’s logo is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable logos in the world of professional sports.

The NBA has kept the same logo for upwards of 50 years since it was originally established. The logo famously consists of a silhouette of Jerry West, an NBA All-Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.

Although the NBA has never publicly acknowledged that West is the logo, it is common knowledge that it is West who is represented in the iconic silhouette. One would think that being the logo of the sport they played professionally is one of the highest honors that could be bestowed upon them.

West has publicly stated that, although he is honored to be depicted in the logo, it also embarrasses him to some extent.

In recent years, West has even gone as far as to advocate for the NBA to change the logo.

The game today is almost unrecognizable from the game that was played in the 1960s; there was not even a three-point line yet when the logo was instituted back in 1969. The NBA deserves a logo that evolves with the game and that can more accurately represent the spirit of today’s game.

Since West’s retirement in 1974, there have been countless players who have made a profound impact on the NBA, providing a wealth of options to choose from. Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James are just a few of the players who have left a remarkable impact on the NBA.

One player, however, may be even better suited to become the new face of the NBA: Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant
Photo Courtesy of DeAngelo Vaxter

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for the duration of his 20-year career in the NBA. Throughout his career he racked up countless individual accolades, including 18 All-Star appearances, one Most Valuable Player award, and two years spent atop the league’s scoring leaderboard.

In addition to his individual accomplishments, he also led one of the most successful dynasties the league has ever seen to five NBA championships. Bryant has had one of the most storied NBA careers in the history of the league.

Bryant embodied the loyalty of a true star, remaining with the Lakers for his entire playing career. In every aspect of the game, Bryant’s hardworking nature was evident, which allowed him to gain the respect of opponents and become a fan favorite around the league.

Unfortunately, Bryant died in a tragic helicopter accident on Jan. 26, 2020. What better way to honor Bryant than to reward all the work he put into the league by memorializing his trademark fadeaway as the new NBA logo? 

 

 

Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

No, Keep It the Same

There is no good reason, be it social or economic, that the NBA should change their logo.

The narrative that the NBA should consider this change really began to pick up steam in the past year since the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

Prior to Kobe’s death, the discourse around altering the logo was not present, or at least it was not nearly as prominent as it is now.

I agree that Kobe should be immortalized; his behavior on and off the court as well as his impact on the sport will be forever remembered by fans and the league; however, changing a logo is a big deal for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the NBA logo has been a symbol of the league for a number of decades. The NBA as we know it today is still relatively young and the game never really exploded in popularity until the 1980s.

Jerry West is the figure on the league’s current logo. He has been one of the best guards in league history, one of the best talent evaluators in league history, and the face of the Los Angeles Lakers organization before the “Showtime” Lakers of the 80’s.

Needless to say, he is an iconic NBA player and an integral part of league history. The man nicknamed “The Logo” has represented the league for years.

The current logo is everywhere: on NBA video games, apparel, hats—that is to say, if you own or watch something NBA-based, you recognize it as the NBA.

If you change that, not only do you outdate all of those broadcasts and merchandise, but you have to pay to replace it all. You also confuse everyone who has for years associated that specific image with the league. The fans may not easily recognize the new logo. Those are just a couple of good reasons that the logo shouldn’t be changed.

All in all, there is no justifiable reason for the NBA to change its logo.

NBA Logo
Photo Courtesy of NBA

There is no controversy around it, and it hasn’t become outdated or the cause of outrage. The logo, an established visual of the league, doesn’t have to be changed.

The NFL hasn’t changed theirs in the last couple decades. Neither has the MLB or NHL, and all of those leagues, you could argue, have worse logos than the NBA.

Why change a piece of the league’s history, a change that may not help the expansion of the league to fans and could cost the league extensively financially for absolutely no good reason?

No, the league should certainly not change their logo.

 

 

Sports Shorts

by The Cowl Editor


Sports Shorts


Sports Shorts

Will Murphy ’23

Sports Staff

Women’s Soccer

The Providence College Women’s Soccer Team played one game this week, picking up a 2–1 win at home against Brown University on Thursday, Sept. 16. The Friars went down 1–0 in the 17th minute, but were able to battle back and take the win thanks to two clutch second-half goals. Meg Hughes ’24 scored the equalizer in the 62nd minute, and Hannah McNulty ’22 netted the go-ahead goal in the 71st  minute. Looking ahead, the Friars will take on Xavier University on Thursday, Sept. 23. 

Field Hockey

The Providence College Field Hockey Team went on the road to face Villanova University on Friday, Sept. 17. After trading goals in the first quarter, the Friars went into the half-tied 1–1. Each team scored two goals in the third, but Villanova pulled away in the fourth with two more goals for a 5–3 win. Sophia Pompeo ’23 scored two goals and Amanda Collins ’22 scored the third. The loss dropped the Friars to 4­–3 on the year. Looking ahead, the team has a matchup with Monmouth University on Sunday, Sept. 19, and Georgetown University on Friday, Sept. 24. 

Men’s Soccer

The Providence College Men’s Soccer Team traveled to South Orange, N.J. to face No. 19 Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday, Sept. 18. The Friars were trailing 2–1 until the 81st minute when they were able to break through with two unanswered goals in two minutes. Brendan McSorley ’24 scored the first and Paulo Lima ’22 was able to notch the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute. The win pushed the Friars to 4–1–1 on the year, and 1–0 in Big East play. The Friars next take on Brown University on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Volleyball

The Providence College Volleyball Team continued their strong play as they traveled to the Bronx for the Fordham Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 18. The Friars started the day with a match against St. Francis College and won in straight sets. In the next match, they faced the host, Fordham University, and after four sets they entered the pivotal fifth set tied 2­–2. In the deciding set, they were able to win 15­–13, taking the victory. The undefeated weekend pushed the Friars to 12–1 on the year.