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Kemba Walker broke the Big East Tournament scoring record as Connecticut completed its impressive run at the conference championship by beating Louisville, 69-66.
Walker, who easily won the tournament MVP award, scored 19 points against Louisville, giving him 130 for the tournament as a whole. Jeremy Lamb had 13 points and Roscoe Smith 12 for the Huskies. Preston Knowles scored 18 for the Cardinals.
UConn won five games in five days, beginning with a thrashing of DePaul and continuing with four games against top teams. The Huskies easily beat Georgetown, then had closer wins against Pitt and Syracuse before defeating Louisville.
Walker scored 26 points against DePaul, then dropped 28 against Georgetown, then hit the game-winning bucket at the buzzer against Pitt, then scored 33 points in the Huskies’ overtime win against Syracuse.
UConn had struggled at the end of the regular season, with four losses in their last five games. But it looks like the Huskies are very much on track to perform well in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville and UConn both won their respective games in overtime against Notre Dame and Syracuse to advance to the Big East Tournament Final.
UConn advanced first, winning their fourth game of the tournament by defeating Syracuse 76-71 in OT. The Huskies’ Kemba Walker again played an amazing game, scoring 33 points. He also hit the free throws to put the game out of reach for the Orange. At this point, Walker is averaging 28 points per game and has all but wrapped up the Most Valuable Player honors. Even if UConn loses tomorrow, Walker still shouldn’t be beaten out by anyone as he’s put together one of the most dominant tournament performances in recent memory.
The second game was another overtime upset as Louisville fought back from 16-point first half and 13-point second half deficits to beat No. 2 seed Notre Dame, 83-77. The Cardinals were led by Peyton Siva’s 20 points. The big question out of this game is if Notre Dame has done enough to secure a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed. Winning their first game yesterday, I think the Irish will wind up with a top seed.
Saying that UConn will lose because they’ve played four games in four nights would be a silly excuse. You could have said that two games ago, yet the Huskies have found ways to win. They have the conference’s best player and they’ve got to be playing on adrenaline right now. And having a Hall of Fame head coach doesn’t hurt, either.
Tomorrow’s game should be entertaining, but in the end, I think UConn leaves as Big East champs.
Both the local teams are gone, and Pitt was the only team seeded in the top four that didn’t make it all the way through to the semifinals, but here we are. Here’s the schedule for today’s games, both of which are on ESPN.
No. 4 Syracuse takes on No. 9 Connecticut at 7:00 PM. The two teams last played on February 2 in a game the Orange won, 66-58. Kemba Walker’s heroics against Pitt notwithstanding, Syracuse probably has to be considered the favorite here.
No. 2 Notre Dame plays No. 3 Louisville at 9:00 PM. The Fighting Irish destroyed Cincinnati last night and look pretty fierce right now, but Louisville has recent wins against Syracuse, UConn and Pitt, and shouldn’t be discounted. The two teams last met February 9, and the Irish won 89-79 in overtime.
The two winning teams will play in the finals Saturday night at 9:00 PM.
The Big East tournament is down to the final four teams and all have a legitimate shot to win the championship.
UConn kicked things off with a thrilling two-point win over No. 1 seed Pitt. The Panthers held double-digit leads at a few points in the game, but couldn’t hold off the Huskies. Pitt repeatedly failed to grab defensive rebounds in the second half, and with the score tied, Kemba Walker hit a jump shot at the buzzer to win the game for UConn, 76-74. UConn played its third game in three consecutive days and may run out of steam, but with Walker, you have to give them a fighting chance to win the whole thing.
After trailing St. John’s at halftime, Syracuse stormed back to win the next game, 79-73. The game was fairly sloppy and the two teams combined for 34 turnovers. Even worse than losing the game, the Red Storm may have lost D.J. Kennedy for a while as he left the game early with a knee injury. Lavin called it a “serious knee injury.” Losing Kennedy for the NCAA Tournament would be a big blow as he’s the team’s third leading scorer and the top rebounder.
Notre Dame routed Cincinnati, 89-51, in its quest for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With Pitt’s loss in their first game of the tournament, if the Irish go on to win the conference championship, they have a compelling argument for getting a No. 1 seed over the Panthers. They would have the same number of losses (five) as Pitt, they own a road win over Pitt, and they would be fresh off of beating some pretty impressive teams.
In the day’s final game, Louisville took care of Marquette – winning handily, 81-56. Mike Marra, who averages only about six points per game, had a career game leading all scorers with 22 points. He shoots under 30% from three-point distance, but was six of ten from that range in the contest.
UConn will take on Syracuse on Friday while Louisville will play Notre Dame.
Most nights, 55 percent shooting from the field, including 73 percent from 3-point territory, will get you to the winner's circle, but it wasn't enough for Pitt when Connecticut's Kemba Walker drilled a jumper over Gary McGhee as time expired at Madison Square Garden to send the Panthers home 76-74 losers in their Big East quarterfinal matchup with the Huskies on Thursday afternoon.
The sensational Walker finished with 24 points and took over the game for UConn in the second half. Equal to the task was Pitt's Ashton Gibbs, who racked up 27 points on 6-for-7 3-point shooting to lead Pittsburgh. After halftime, the pair seemed to be locked in a blow-for-blow battle right down to the wire.
Connecticut trailed by double digits early, but rallied to within one by halftime. In the second half, the Panthers again threatened to take a double-digit lead, but Walker and the Huskies rallied and kept the game within one possession until the last seconds.
In the final minute, Gibbs hit his sixth three of the game to tie the game at 74 with 49 seconds remaining. On the ensuing UConn possession, Walker missed a jumper, but his team grabbed the offensive rebound, setting up the final sequence in which the Huskies drew a mismatch of McGhee guarding Walker in which Walker faked a drive, then stepped back and drained the game winning bucket.
"This is probably the biggest thing ever," Walker told ESPN after the game. "To hit a game winner against one of the best teams in our league, that's a special moment."
UConn shot only 44 percent for the game, and was just 3-for-12 from beyond the 3-point line, but the Huskies won the game by dominating Pitt in transition, winning the points-off-turnovers statistic 20-0. Pitt turned the ball over 11 times, but UConn made the Panthers pay almost every time.
Pitt is now one-and-done in New York and will await its fate for the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday. The Panthers are a projected No. 1 seed at the moment by many prognosticators, but that may fluctuate with an early-round loss in the Garden. UConn will move on to the semifinals.
Pittsburgh opened up a double-digit lead early in its Big East Tournament quarterfinal game against Connecticut on Thursday, but scrappy play by the Huskies to keep up with the Panthers' hot shooting kept them in the game and they now trail only 41-40 as the teams enter halftime at Madison Square Garden.
The Panthers were hot shooting the ball, ripping off a 60 percent average from the field to start the game, including a 4-for-5 performance from behind the 3-point line. Aston Gibbs already has 16 points. Nasir Robinson and Gilbert Brown each tallied seven in the half and Brad Wannamaker had six.
For the Huskies, first team All-Big East selection Kemba Walker led the way with 13 points and Jeremy Lamb contributed eight. Three other Huskies have five points each.
Pittsburgh out shot the Huskies from both the 3-point line and the field in the first half. They also kept the rebounding margin even at 11 boards a piece. The Panthers' undoing was turnovers. Seven in the half led to several Connecticut run outs in transition. Coach Jamie Dixon wasn't pleased about that heading into the locker room.
"We've got to take care of the ball," Dixon said. "Then obviously get our guys back."
Here’s your slate of Big East Tournament games for Thursday. All games are on ESPN.
Top-seeded Pitt takes on Connecticut at noon. You can check out Anson Whaley’s preview of the game here.
No. 4 Syracuse plays No. 5 St. John’s at 2:00 PM. Both teams are riding high on recent successes. Syracuse beat the Red Storm 76-59 back in January.
No. 2 Notre Dame takes on No. 7 Cincinnati at 7:00 PM. The two teams last met January 19 in a contest the Fighting Irish won, 66-58. Notre Dame looks very tough right now after winning 11 of its last 12 games, but keep in mind that the Irish lost to West Virginia and only narrowly beat Providence and UConn in that span, so they are beatable.
Finally, No. 3 Louisville plays No. 11 Marquette at 9:00 PM. The Cardinals won the two teams’ last meeting on January 15, 71-70.
After having the first two days of the Big East Tournament off, Pitt is back in action on Thursday in a noon game against UConn.
The Huskies have built some momentum in blowout victories over DePaul and Georgetown, winning by a combined 43 points. Kemba Walker continued building his resume for the Big East Tournament Most Valuable Player award on Wednesday with a 28-point performance against Georgetown. UConn will need to keep winning for Walker to have a chance at bringing home the award, but he’s off to a good start.
UConn could have a bit of a disadvantage having played over the past two days. Pitt, meanwhile, has had time to rest, but shouldn’t be too rusty as they played on Saturday in their regular season finale against Villanova.
Still, the Huskies are looking good through two games and will be a tough out for Pitt. They’ll also, no doubt, be looking to get a bit of revenge after Pitt’s big 78-63 win at the Pete in December. Walker had 31 points in that game, but was only 10-27 from the field as Pitt repeatedly forced him into tough shots. He also didn’t get much help as no other UConn player reached double figures in that game. The Panthers led from start to finish and the Huskies simply weren’t competitive.
That should change on Thursday. UConn is going to make the NCAA tournament, but a win over Pitt could go a long way to improving their seeding.
For Pitt to win on Thursday, the team should have a similar game plan as their December matchup. Walker is so good that he’s going to score points no matter what. But if the Panthers can limit UConn’s other players and force Walker to play one-on-five, the Huskies will have a difficult time with Pitt’s balanced attack.
In the evening’s other game, the Cincinnati Bearcats dispatched the South Florida Bulls with ease. The Bull, who upset Villanova on the tournament’s opening day, never got things rolling and were completely over matched by the Bearcats.
Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon both went over twenty points for Cincinnati who dictated the pace with suffocating defense and tough play inside. South Florida was led by Augustus Gilchrist who finished with 16 points, though he need 15 shots to get there.
Cincinnati advances to face Notre Dame on Thursday night.
Early in the second half, Joe Mazzulla, John Flowers and Truck Bryant continued their first half habits. Joe and Truck hit big threes, and JFlow picked up his third foul. The Mountaineers looked sluggish, but still held a firm lead.
In the next segment of play, however, the Mountaineers weren't so lucky, and turnovers and stupid fouls let the Golden Eagles cut the deficit to two after a 7-0 run. This prompted Huggins to put Flowers back in the game, and he made his coach look good, stopping the Marquette run by getting to the line and sinking two free throws.
As in the first half, the Golden Eagles made a mid-half run, spurred up when West Virginia got lulled into taking early shots. In one sequence, Casey Mitchell shot the ball on four straight possessions, netting four points for the 'Eers, but four points the other way as well.
To stop the bleeding, Bob Huggins went with the 1-3-1 and it netted an immediate stop, and the game was tied at the next-to-last media timeout. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball down the stretch, West Virginia going over nine minutes without a field goal. If this game didn't have free throws, it wouldn't have points. However, neither team managed to take the upper hand in a brutal and physical Big East struggle.
As the game crossed the four-minute mark, two John Flowers turnovers led to six straight Marquette points, and the Mountaineers were on the ropes. The 'Eers' nine-minute scoring drought was cut with a John Flowers layup off of the inbounds pass to cut the deficit to four. The Mountaineers could have cut it closer, but after Truck Bryant stole an inbounds pass his layup attempt missed wildly, and that was it. The Golden Eagles closed it out, sealed a trip to the tournament, and outlasted the Mountaineers 67-61. The Mountaineers went through one of their patented scoring slumps, and in the end it cost them. They're still a solid NCAA tournament team, but tonight wasn't pretty, and folks in Morgantown can go back to worrying.
Early on, the Mountaineers found all their scoring from behind the three point arc, hitting their first four deep shots of the day. Marquette's first half success came driving the basketball. While the Golden Eagles stagnated in the halfcourt early, by the middle of the half they realized the path to the basket worth taking was the direct route. The Golden Eagles pushed the tempo and began scoring consistently scored in transition. West Virginia's big men have struggled getting back, and have generally been exposed by the dribble drive.
While it's good to see the Mountaineers hitting their shots early, the defensive end of things has been struggling. This Marquette team isn't afraid of playing aggressively and WVU has had trouble with dynamic guards this season. John Flowers went to the bench early in the half picking up two fouls early.
Turnovers also killed the Mountaineers early and a lot of good possesions were sunk by junor varisty mistakes. Joe Mazulla gave the ball up a couple of possesions in a row, and West Virginia dug themselves a small hole. As usual, West Virginia's defense kept things close and the Mountaineers were always a shot away, most times a long jumper. It was then that West Virginia stormed back into the lead on a 10-0 run highlighted by deep threes from Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant.
On the half's final play, Truck put the ball on the deck and went straight to the rack and scored the kind of falling lay-up that he often whiffs on. In the last five minutes of the half, the Mountaineers finally came alive and go into the locker room up 7.
The UConn Huskies won their second game in as many days by besting a sluggish Georgetown team, while the St. John's Red Storm advanced past Rutgers in a game that went down to the wire.
The Huskies easily dispatched the Hoyas, 79-62. Kemba Walker led all scorers, pacing the Huskies for 28 points in one of the senior guard's most explosive performances of the season. Walker, who some consider to be the best player in the conference, and possibly the country, was left off of the All-Big East First Team, a slight which may have motivated him to control today's game. Georgetown dug themselves a deep hole missing 17 three-pointers, and generally never looking in sync. Austin Freeman had 23 points, but was 1-for-7 from deep range. The Huskies will play their third game in three days tomorrow against regular season champions, Pittsburgh.
The Rutgers/St. John's game was much more competitive, a brutally physical Big East battle that might have been hard to watch for some, but was a thing of beauty for fans of Big East basketball.
St. John's controlled the entire game until beginning to coast with about six minutes remaining. Rutgers capitalized, taking their first lead on a Mike Coburn layup and one with 57 seconds remaining. St. John's re-took the lead with two free throws of their own. Rutgers had a chance to get a go ahead basket with 20 seconds remaining, but Dane Miller turned the ball over in traffic. St. John's forward Sean Evans extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws. St. John's coach Steve Lavin chose to foul Rutgers instead of letting them attempt a tying three, a move that came back to haunt him. After Coburn hit two free throws to cut the margin to one, St. John's turned the ball over to give the Scarlet Knights one more chance to win the game. Coburn drove to the basket and tried to draw a foul, but was unable to convert the basket.
In an even more bizarre sequence, the game ended when there should have been 1.7 seconds left on the clock. In fact, it should be Rutgers ball RIGHT NOW, with a chance to win. Instead, the game is over. In case you needed me to tell you, Jim Burr and Tim Higgins worked this game. They. Are. Awful. Referees. Thank goodness they won't be available for the West Virginia game later!
All of a sudden, just like that, it's March again. West Virginia's 2010 run to the the Big East Championship and the Final Four was amazing. A year later, last March's achievements seem like something I dreamed, and I'm still not totally sure it actually happened. Since then, the Mountaineers have had an up and down season filled with mighty struggles, that have seen players injured, suspended, and kicked off the team. Nothing has been easy. Miraculously, just as the calendar turns to March, the Mountaineers are playing their best basketball, winning four out of the last five. Today they open Big East Tournament their Big East Championship defense against the Marquette Golden Eagles. Here's what's worth watching tonight, if you can stay up late enough:
Check back at SBNation Pittsburgh for halftime and post-game updates...
We’ll have an update on the entire day later tonight, but it seemed worthwhile to note that Kemba Walker has led the Connecticut Huskies to a 79-62 win over Georgetown, meaning that UConn will face Pitt tomorrow at 12:00 PM in Pitt’s first Big East Tournament game.
Walker, who is averaging 23 points per game this season, scored 28 against the Hoyas, while Jason Clark had 23 points and Austin Freeman had 20 for Georgetown.
Pitt last played the Huskies on December 27 in a game the Panthers won, 78-63. Walker scored 31 points in that game, but the rest of the Huskies only scored 32 points.
Since then, UConn has beaten Georgetown (twice), Texas, Cincinnati, Marquette and Villanova, while losing to Notre Dame (twice), Louisville (twice), West Virginia, Syracuse, Marquette, and St. John’s. Walker and the Huskies will be a tough matchup for the Panthers, but that’s almost a given when you’re two rounds deep into a tournament in a very tough Big East field.
With the first day’s worth of games now over (with Connecticut beating DePaul, Rutgers beating Seton Hall, South Florida upsetting Villanova, and Marquette knocking off Providence), we now know who will be playing tomorrow. Here’s the schedule. All games are on ESPN.
No. 8 Georgetown plays No. 9 Connecticut at 12:00 PM, and Panthers fans should be watching, because the winner will play Pitt on Thursday.
No. 5 St. John’s will take on No. 13 Rutgers at 2:00 PM. The Red Storm is one of the hottest teams in the Big East, winning seven of its last eight and nine of its last 11, including victories over Duke, Pitt, Connecticut and Villanova. The winner will play Syracuse.
No. 7 Cincinnati plays No. 15 South Florida at 7:00 PM. That’s a great draw for the Bearcats, as the Bulls’ victory yesterday over Villanova was their first non-DePaul Big East win since mid-January. The survivor will face Notre Dame.
Finally, No. 6 West Virginia will play No. 11 Marquette at 9:00 PM, with the winner facing Louisville.
The first day of the Big East tournament has ended and while most of the games went as expected, there was a big time upset.
Villanova has been in a ltieral freefall, losing their last four regular season games to end their season. Make it five in a row now as the Wildcats have been taken out by South Florida in the opening round. South Florida’s Anthony Carter scored a last-second layup to help defeat Villanova, 70-69. Jay Wright believes the Wildcats need to regroup:
“I don’t think any of us have ever finished a season this way,” Villanova coach Jay Wright lamented afterward, “so we’ve got to get their heads right.”
Villanova will still make the NCAA tournament, but it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of seed the selection committee awards to them. The Wildcats lost to four very good teams to end their season (Pitt, Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Syracuse), so none of those losses were shameful. But losing to the 10-22 Bulls is definitely an eye-opener.
In other games, UConn routed DePaul behind 26 points from Kemba Walker, Rutgers beat Seton Hall in overtime, and Marquette beat Providence 87-66 despite 41 points from Marshon Brooks and Vincent Council.
Marquette will take on West Virginia tomorrow and Georgetown will square off against UConn to determine who plays Pitt on Thursday.
With the Big East men's basketball tournament set to begin today, here's a look at the TV schedule for today.
Connecticut takes on DePaul in today's first game, at noon on ESPN2, with the winner facing off against Georgetown. This matchup might be the least interesting in the whole tournament, given how few wins DePaul has so far against Big East competition. After that it's Seton Hall vs. Rutgers at 2:00, also on ESPN2, playing for the right to face St. John's in the second round.
Villanova and South Florida will square off at 7:00 on ESPNU, and the winner will face Cincinnati. South Florida is a bad team, but the Bulls have beaten ... well, nobody, actually. DePaul and Providence. Even with Villanova ending its season in a free-fall, and even after needing overtime to beat DePaul themselves a couple weeks back, the Wildcats should be able to take this one. In the final game of the evening, Marquette will take on Providence (9:00, ESPNU), and West Virginia fans will be watching, since the winner of the game will be the Mountaineers' opponent in their tournament debut on Wednesday.
It may not seem like the West Virginia Mountaineers are favorites to make the Final Four, or to win the Big East Tournament, which begins tomorrow. But the Trib sees parallels between this year’s squad and last year’s Final Four team:
“Instead of playing five games, we only have to play four,” point guard Truck Bryant said. “Considering we were in 11th place in the Big East last week … that’s huge in this tough conference” …
… West Virginia finished with a seventh straight 20-win season despite playing what coach Bob Huggins called the toughest schedule in program history.
“It’s not even close,” he said.
West Virginia is peaking at the right time — again. The players credit that to [Coach Bob] Huggins’ ability to prepare them for the games that truly count.
WVU ended its regular season on a high note, pulling off wins against Notre Dame and Connecticut and a very unlikely comeback win against Louisville in its last five games. The Mountaineers will await the winner of the Marquette/Providence matchup tomorrow to determine who their first foe in the Big East Tournament will be. If they win that game, they’ll have another tough matchup against Louisville.
The bracket for the 2011 Big East Tournament seedings were set yesterday, but already it's time to look into the crystal ball and see how next week's tournament will play out. We here at SBNation Pittsburgh think that the local teams, the Panthers and the Mountaineers, will both do just fine. The rest of the field? Not so much.
Tuesday, March 8
Connecticut - 75, DePaul - 60: The Blue Demons only managed to net one win in the conference this season, and they won't get number two against the Huskies. Kemba Walker and company roll easily through the tournament's opening game.
Seton Hall - 66, Rutgers - 59: The battle of the turnpike won't be pretty but Jeremy Hazell's crew should come out on top. Seton Hall had another lackluster season this year, but seem to be playing better down the stretch.
Villanova - 81, South Florida - 68: Another of the conference's premier teams find themselves playing on the first day of the tournament, but it shouldn't bother the Wildcats. South Florida hasn't beaten a team not named DePaul since mid-January, which doesn't bode well for the Bulls.
Providence - 69, Marquette - 66: The first day's only upset, Marshon Brooks will lead the Friars into day two of tourney. The Golden Eagles have had plenty of chances to play their way into the big dance, and have blown all of them. Add this one to the pile.
Wednesday, March 9
Connecticut - 75, Georgetown - 74: Two evenly matched teams will play an evenly matched game, but the Huskies will come out on top. Late-game heroics from freshman Shabazz Napier will seal the deal and propel UConn into the third round. John Thompson III's squad has been slumping lately and coming into this one cold will put them off of their game.
St. John's - 65, Seton Hall - 54: St. John's got blown out by the Hall last week, putting a slight tarnish on their Cinderella season. They won't let that happen again. St. John's marches on.
Cincinnati - 67, Villanova - 59: Mick Cronin's squad punched their ticket to the NCAA's this weekend when the knocked off the Hoyas. They'll wipe away any doubts the committee might have bye stymieing 'Nova with tough defense and and a physical presence in the paint.
West Virginia - 60, Providence - 51: Marshon Brooks is no match for West Virginia's physical defense, and the Mountaineers win their fourth straight game the way they've won twenty games this season: ugly. The steady hand of Joe Mazzulla will keep the ship from taking in water during some cold stretches, and the Mountaineers pull away at the end.
Thursday, March 10
Pitt - 70, Connecticut - 62: The Panthers climbed to the top of the conference this season with size, defense and depth. By the time the Huskies make it to Thursday, they'll be playing their third game in five days. The Panthers' depth will wear down UConn's tired legs, and put Pitt into the semi-finals.
St. John's 65, Syracuse - 59: The Orange have won five in a row, and seven of nine, but their mojo stops in the Garden. Lavin's squad have their finest moment of the season and Dwight Hardy scintillates the hometown crowd by raining threes over the 'Cuse's patented zone defense.
Notre Dame - 71, Cincinnati - 55: Sometimes talent outweighs grit, and Mike Brey's squad will dispatch the Bearcats with ease in their first tournament game. The Irish are the real deal, a lesson Cincy learns the hard way.
West Virginia - 64, Louisville - 55: The season's first two meetings between the Mountaineers and the Cardinals had wild finishes. In this one, the Mountaineers use their size to create second looks in paint and Kevin Jones and John Flowers have standout games. Joe Mazzulla's tough defense creates havoc for Peyton Siva and the Mountaineers move on without much drama.
Friday, March 11
Pitt - 72, St. John's - 66: St. John's will hold close for most of this one, but will have no match for Gilbert Brown and Brad Wanamaker in the game's waning minutes. The Panthers' experience will trump the Johnnies' emotion, and Pitt will make a return to a very familiar place: the Big East title game.
Notre Dame - 71, West Virginia - 59: The Mountaineers blew by the Irish by shooting lights out a week ago in Morgantown. Unfortunately for Bob Huggins' squad, their hot hand can't last forever. Tough defense and a dominant shooting performance from Ben Hansbrough put the Irish in the title game, and foil the opportunity for a third Backyard Brawl.
Saturday, March 12
Pitt - 69, Notre Dame - 63: There may have been a few upsets along the way, but the conference's two best teams will chalk their way into Saturday night's final. Pitt's senior leadership and depth make them a tough out in any tournament, and Notre Dame won't be able to dislodge the Panthers. The only question remaining for Jamie Dixon's crew is if Big East tournament success will translate to NCAA tournament success? A Big East title will wrap up a Number One seed for Pitt, and the remaining question will be what the Panthers can do with it.
Make sure to follow SBNation Pittsburgh all week for updates on the 2011 Big East Tournament, with a heavy emphasis on the Pitt Panthers and West Virginia Mountaineers.
Pitt has clinched the Big East regular-season title and will be the top seed in the Big East Tournament, which begins on Tuesday, and West Virginia is the sixth seed in the tournament and has a first-round bye. Here's the full schedule for the tournament:
Tuesday, March 8
9. Connecticut vs. 16. DePaul, 12:00 PM
12. Seton Hall vs. 13. Rutgers, 2:00 PM
10. Villanova vs. 15. South Florida, 7:00 PM
11. Marquette vs. 14. Providence, 9:00 PM
Wednesday, March 9
Connecticut/DePaul vs. 8. Georgetown, 12:00 PM
Seton Hall/Rutgers vs. 5. St. John's, 2:00 PM
Villanova/South Florida vs. 7. Cincinnati, 7:00 PM
Marquette/Providence vs. 6. West Virginia, 9:00 PM
Thursday, March 10
Connecticut/DePaul/Georgetown vs. 1. Pitt, 12:00 PM
Seton Hall/Rutgers/St. John's vs. 4. Syracuse, 2:00 PM
Villanova/South Florida/Cincinnati vs. 2. Notre Dame, 7:00 PM
Marquette/Providence/West Virginia vs. 3. Louisville, 9:00 PM
Friday, March 11
Winner of Pitt game vs. winner of Syracuse game, 7:00 PM
Winner of Notre Dame game vs. winner of Louisville game, 9:00 PM
Saturday, March 12
Big East championship, 9:00 PM
Pitt gets two rounds of byes, whereas West Virginia gets one. Once they start playing, though, nothing will be easy. West Virginia will have to play the Marquette/Providence winner. Providence isn't good, and WVU beat them by 30 points earlier this season, but the Friars do have wins against Louisville and Villanova. Marquette, meanwhile, beat Notre Dame, Syracuse and UConn.
Pitt's first game will come a day later, but it will be even tougher (unless lowly DePaul pulls off a very unlikely pair of upsets). Georgetown ended its season with four losses in its last five games, but reeled off eight straight Big East wins before that. UConn is currently ranked 16th in the country, although that will drop after losses to West Virginia and Notre Dame this week.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh for analysis of the tournament, and be sure to check out Cardiac Hill, SB Nation's Pitt blog.
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