There was a time when Carson Desrosiers probably wondered if he would ever play in the NCAA Tournament, but he isn’t losing sleep over that anymore.
Desrosiers, a 7-foot center from Windham, and his Providence College teammates won this year’s Big East Tournament, which earned the Friars (23-11) an automatic berth in the NCAA field.
Providence, a No. 11 seed, will face sixth-seeded North Carolina (23-9) tonight at 7:20 p.m. at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Desrosiers, a junior, played high school basketball for Central Catholic in Lawrence, Mass. He spent two seasons with a struggling Wake Forest program before he transferred to Providence.
“As a little kid, I would dream of playing in the tournament, and now I’m finally here,” Desrosiers said. “It’s a great opportunity for the program to beat a household name — something Providence wants to become.”
Desrosiers is one of two 7-footers from New Hampshire whose team begins NCAA Tournament play on Friday. Claremont’s Kaleb Tarczewski is the starting center for Arizona, the No. 1 seed in the West Region. The Wildcats tip off against No. 16 Weber State at 5:10 p.m.
After sitting out the 2012-13 season under NCAA transfer rules, Desrosiers is averaging 3.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 19.6 minutes of playing time per game this season. He also leads the team with 80 blocked shots.
Tonight’s game — which, like the Arizona-Weber State contest, is scheduled for broadcast on TNT — will be the third Desrosiers has played against North Carolina. He was 0-2 against the Tar Heels when he played for Wake Forest.
Desrosiers was inconsistent during the Big East Tournament. He had eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots in 24 minutes against St. John’s but fouled out in 11 minutes against Seton Hall. Providence beat Creighton, 65-58, in the tournament’s championship game, with Desrosiers contributing five points and three rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time.
This is Providence’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2004. It will be the fourth meeting between the Providence and North Carolina programs and the first since 1979.
Tonight’s winner will face either third-seeded Iowa State or No. 14 North Carolina Central on Sunday.