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RHODE MAP AT MARCH MADNESS

🏀 It’s on to the Sweet 16

Providence's Noah Horchler, defending against Nathan Cayo of the Richmond Spiders, finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and one emphatic blocked shot in the second half.Elsa/Getty

Greetings from Buffalo, where the Friars looked like they could have beaten any team in the country tonight.

BTW, if you’d like to receive these special edition Rhode Map newsletters from the NCAA tournament as convenient e-mails, as well as our regular M-F edition with interesting news and info about Rhode Island, you can sign up here. I’ll be covering the team as it heads to Chicago to take on Kansas.

Tipping off

Remember when everyone thought Providence would get bounced from the NCAA Tournament by a No. 13 seed?

Well, see you in Chicago for the Sweet 16.

The fourth-seeded Friars jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back, nailing 12 three-pointers in a 79-51 blowout victory over No. 12 Richmond.

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Providence was considered the favorite in this one, even though Richmond (which ended URI’s season last week in the Atlantic 10 Tournament) upset Big 10 champion Iowa on Thursday.

But the Spiders were overmatched from the start, as Providence shot them out of the gym in the first half.

MVP: Noah Horchler has been a double-double machine all season, and he finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and one emphatic blocked shot in the second half.

🏀 🏀 🏀

“We’re still here.”

That was coach Ed Cooley’s message when he talked to reporters after the game, a nod to all of the so-called experts who think Providence has been too lucky.

”This was literally our best game of the season,” Cooley said.

Something fun: After every game, Providence players are given championship belts (think WWE) for most assists, most rebounds, and for being “that dude.” That means Jared Bynum took home the assists belt, and Horchler took the other two.

“We want Kansas”

Once it was clear that the Friars were going to win the game, the heavily pro-Providence crowd started cheering “we want Kansas.” Providence will take on the top-seeded Jayhawks next Friday (the time hasn’t yet been determined) at the United Center in Chicago.

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It’s the first time Providence has advanced to the Sweet 16 since 1997, when the team lost to eventual national champion Arizona in the Elite Eight.

It won’t be as easy as it was against Richmond.

Kansas is 30-6 on the year, and they’re a perennial college basketball powerhouse. They won the Big 12 title last week, and won a close game against Creighton earlier today.

They’re led by two of the best guards in the country, Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun.

🏀 🏀 🏀

Buffalo is a big-league food city

I’m rooting hard for the Globe to open a Buffalo bureau.

Any place where chicken wings and hot dogs are the top food options is basically built for my diet, and this city didn’t disappoint.

So many of you sent in wing recommendations, and trust me, I planned to try them all. But then I walked into Duff’s, and it was love at first sight.

Over the course of three meals, I devoured 70 wings (flavors: mild and medium mild). I could have eaten more, but I figured I should save some room for Chicago.

What makes these wings so special?

They’re nothing fancy. Just perfectly crispy and not overly saucy, so you don’t run the risk of getting sauce in your eye.

And then there were the hot dogs.

Everyone thinks it’s easy to prepare the perfect hot dog, but it’s more difficult than it looks. First, it cannot be boiled. Second, it needs to be a little burned, but not so much so that you feel like you’re eating charcoal.

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Enter Ted’s Hot Dogs.

I’m a simple person, so I just need a good hot dog with a little mustard, and the fine folks at Ted’s delivered so well that I’m going to stop in one last time before I head back to Providence.

🏀 🏀 🏀

Fan-bros of the game

Dan McGowan/Globe Staff

From left: Chipper Howe (in PC long sleeve), Chris Mastroianni (Celtics shirt), Mark McLaughlin Jr. (gray hoodie and green drink), Kevin Griffin (white shirt and girly beer), Ryan Mastroianni (blue shirt and red beer), Mark McLaughlin Sr. (white shamrock hat), and Chris Jernigan (black shirt).

Thanks for reading. See you on Monday morning.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.