The Providence Friars had to wait an extra day, but the No. 16-ranked team in the country upset the No. 4 Villanova Wildcats, 82-76, in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
Providence snapped Villanova's 22-game Big East winning streak, led by a game-high 31 points from Ben Bentil.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman chimed in with his thoughts on not only how impressive this win was for the Friars, but how rare a win over a great team like Villanova is on the road:
This Providence victory at ’Nova is as impressive as just about any all season. Not many teams have beaten Top 10’s in a true road game.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) January 24, 2016
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein thinks Providence redeemed itself nicely after losing two tough conference games at home:
Providence just erased its two home losses against Marquette and Seton Hall. Friars beat Villanova at Villanova in OT. An epic win. #pcbb— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 24, 2016
This conference matchup of Top 25 teams was supposed to take place on Saturday but was moved to Sunday because of winter storm Jonas. Even a day later, with the frigid cold outside, Bentil was on fire inside in Philadelphia.
The Providence forward shot 11-of-18 from the floor and made eight of his 10 free-throw attempts to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year.
ESPN analyst Jay Williams, who played in a number of big conference games in his day, said this one took the Big East back a few years and in a good way:
Loving this Providence/Villanova game right now. What a battle. Reminds me of the old #BigEast— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) January 24, 2016
A lot of the attention in regard to Providence has come from point guard Kris Dunn, who HoopsHype projects as the top point guard to enter the NBA draft this year. But Bentil has been a force, averaging 19.7 points and almost eight rebounds per game.
Adam Zagoria from SNY talked to an NBA scout on what he thought of Bentil as a pro prospect:
NBA scout on Ben Bentil 'Tougher,quicker and coming on faster than just about everyone. Ready now.'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 24, 2016
That's not to say Dunn didn't leave his stamp on this game either. He scored 13 points and dished out 14 assists to go along with five rebounds and four steals. And he's been known to make a few big shots this year, such as this one, courtesy of SB Nation:
DUNNIONS https://t.co/2HwUd7R3JP— SB Nation CBB (@SBNationCBB) January 24, 2016
Villanova had four starters in double figures, led by a game-high 18 from Josh Hart on 8-of-18 shooting. The Wildcats got too comfortable behind the three-point line, taking 31 attempts and only making nine. That turned out to be one of the differences of the game.
Winning 22 straight in the Big East would normally constitute that team as the favorite come March, but Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg doesn't think it's the right move to crown Villanova the King of the East just yet:
Don't hand Villanova the Big East crown just yet. Four teams within a game in the loss column after Providence upsets the Wildcats.— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) January 24, 2016
Providence can be a sleeper come tournament time. The Friars have two pro-ready prospects who can put up big-time numbers. One of them is a true floor general who can see the floor better than any point guard prospect in recent memory, and the other is a 6'9" star who can score, rebound and play good defense.
Dunn and Bentil did their jobs, and the Friars pulled off one of the bigger wins in college basketball this season.