PROVIDENCE - We won't know the complete rundown of the 2011-12 Providence College men's basketball schedule until later this summer, but it was revealed Thursday that PC will travel to South Carolina on Thursday, Dec. 1 as part of the first-ever Big East/SEC Challenge. This ESPN-driven event will be shown on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
All told there will be 12 games featured as part of this early-season showcase involving two BCS conferences. On paper the most compelling matchup is Billy Donovan's Florida Gators traveling to Syracuse, set for Dec. 2. Defending national champ Connecticut will face Arkansas on Dec. 3.
Speaking of Dec. 3, that date is significant given that it's the first Saturday of the month - a time frame normally set aside for PC-URI. Might the schedule be tweaked so that Ed Cooley's Friars will get more than 24 hours before heading down to the Ryan Center, site of this year's game? In 2007 Providence faced Boston College at the then TD Banknorth Garden on Sat. Dec. 1, which resulted in the pushing back of the URI-PC clash until the following Tuesday.
Speaking of games at South Carolina, Friar fans should remember the Dec. 3, 2001 contest in Columbia. Though PC would lose 67-48, the game served as the debut of future star Ryan Gomes after he had spent the first seven games of the season on the bench.