Men's Basketball: Big East Gets 11 in Dance

  • By Chuck Sullivan
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  • March 13, 2011 08:08 PM
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Eleven BIG EAST men's basketball teams were chosen to compete in the 68-team NCAA Divisiion I Men's Basketball Championship Sunday evening as the the conference shattered its own national record for the number of teams selected from one league.

The selections included Connecticut, which completed an unprecedented run through the BIG EAST Championship Saturday by winning its fifth game in five days to gain the conference's automatic bid. Ten teams were chosen among the 37 at-large selection.

In addition to Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse, St. John's, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova made the field as BIG EAST representatives.

"On the heels of a groundbreaking performance by Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship, I’m thrilled by the news of yet another record-setting accomplishment by our men’s basketball programs," said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto "Placing 11 teams into the NCAA Championship doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a concerted, consistent and focused effort on the part of our coaches, administrators and student-athletes and I’m thrilled to see them rewarded in this manner.

"I look forward to following the progress of our men’s teams through the NCAA Championship and expect to break even more new ground tomorrow when the women’s bracket is revealed."

Four BIG EAST teams comprise the 16 seeds in the East Region. Syracuse enters as the No. 3 seed in the East and will face Horizon League champion Indiana State in its first game.

West Virginia is the East Region's no. 5 seed as the Mountaineers face the winner of a First Four game between UAB and Clemson in their opening game.

Villanova was tabbed as the No. 9 seed in the East, putting the Wildcats against Colonial Athletic Assocation champion George Mason in the second round.

Marquette was given the No. 11 seed in the East Region as the Golden Eagles match up with Xavier in their first game.

Pittsburgh - the BIG EAST regular-season champion - was chosen as the No. 1 seed in the Southeast and will face the winner of Tuesday's First Four matchup between North Carolina-Asheville and Arkansas-Little Rock.

The Southeast Region also features No. 6 seed St. John's, which will face West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga.

Notre Dame was tabbed as the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Region, pairing the Irish against Akron, which won the Mid-American Conference title. Notre Dame leads three BIG EAST teams to be placed in the Southwest Region.

Louisville is the No. 4 seed in the Southwest as the Cardinals face Ohio Valley Conference champion Morehead State in a second-round game.

Georgetown is the No. 6 seed in the Southwest Region as the Hoyas await the winner of a First Four pairing between USC and Virginia Commonwealth.

Connecticut parlayed its run to a No. 3 seed in the West Region, putting the Huskies against Patriot League winner Bucknell in the second round.

Cincinnati was chosen as the No. 6 seed in the West to set up a matchup against Missouri in the second round.


Big East Conference, NCAA tournament