fb-pixel Skip to main content
COLLEGE BASKETBALL

‘Are you Friar-ed up?!’ Hundreds gather to send Providence College men’s basketball team off to the Sweet 16

“A sendoff like this is what college athletics all about,” said Friars head coach Ed Cooley. “I am ready for this. Our community is great. I’m really happy for our players.”

Crowds gather to catch a glimpse of the Providence College men’s basketball team as they leave for Chicago to play in the Sweet 16.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Going into this season, the Friars were considered the underdogs, and getting past the NCAA March Madness round of 32 was thought to be a long-shot.

Naysayers, be gone.

More than 300 people swarmed the front doors of the Ruane Friar Development Center on Wednesday, cheering as the beloved Providence College men’s basketball team boarded the team buses.

Sweet 16, here they come.

The Providence College men’s basketball team greets fans as they make their way to the team bus.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The Friars — and their so-called lucky streak — will take on the top-seed Kansas Jayhawks on Friday in Chicago. Providence is considered the underdog again, and a chance to play in the Elite Eight is on the line.

Advertisement



One man in the crowd shouted, “Are you Friar-ed up?!”

Students, staff, and nearby residents sported black and silver team gear and hoisted signs with enlarged faces of their favorite players. Guard AJ Reeves, a Roxbury native, wrapped his arm around fellow guard Aljami Durham, watching as fans shouted their names and chanted for “Friartown.”

“This is a huge moment for us... We’re just trying to go out there and get a ‘W,’” said Reeves, a senior this year. “I couldn’t imagine going out any other way, for real. Four years, [and] honestly, it pays off going out like this.”

But, “we’re not finished,” said Reeves.

Head Coach Ed Cooley, a Providence native, said the team has had promising practices since blowing past Richmond in Buffalo, N.Y., last week.

“A sendoff like this is what college athletics all about,” said Cooley. “I am ready for this. Our community is great. I’m really happy for our players.”

“We know we have a monumental task ahead of us,” said Cooley. “Why not the Friars? How far can we make it? Until today. You can’t predict the future. All you ask for is an opportunity, and that’s what we have... We gotta get lucky a little bit, we got to play well because we’re playing against a blue blood and a hall of fame coach.

Advertisement



Fans hold signs while they wait for the Providence College men’s basketball team to emerge from the Ruane Friar Development Center for a send-off to the Sweet 16 in Chicago.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Unlike Kansas, which just made it to the Final Four just four years ago, Providence hasn’t made an appearance since 1987. And Providence is the bracket’s chance in preventing the Final Four from being filled with the usual big dogs.

“How do you beat a team like Kansas? You play 40 minutes and try your best,” said Cooley.

Coach Ed Cooley gets love in the line at team send off at Providence College.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz. Carlos Muñoz can be reached at carlos.munoz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ReadCarlos and on Instagram @Carlosbrknews.