Connecticut Beats Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Georgetown To Win Big East Championship

Kemba Walker set a new record for most points scored in a single Big East Tournament as Connecticut won five games in five days to give Jim Calhoun his seventh Big East title.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Connecticut Beats Louisville 69-66 To Win Big East Championship

There was under one minute remaining in the Big East Tournament Championship game, and with the Connecticut Huskies down by just one point, there was only one player who could take the potentially game-winning shot. Kemba Walker. Right? He's made three game-winning shots already this year.

But this time, Walker did something equally brilliant. With 33 seconds remaining, he drove to the basket, he jumped towards the rim, and then he dished the ball to Jeremy Lamb for an easy layup to give the Huskies a 65-64 lead over the Louisville Cardinals in the Big East Title game.

Holding a slim lead, Connecticut managed to steal the ball from Louisville on the ensuing possession, and Walker was fouled. He made both free throws to extend UCONN's lead to three.

With nine seconds remaining, Preston Knowles missed a three-point attempt, but the rebound landed in the hands of Mike Marra, who was fouled in the process of shooting a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds to go, setting up the three biggest free throw attempts of Marra's life. He made two of them. He needed all three.

After two free throws from Connecticut's Shabazz Napier increased the team's lead to three again, Knowles had one more chance to send the game to overtime, but his three-point attempt once again rimmed out, giving the Huskies the Big East Tournament title, and making Jim Calhoun the first coach ever to win seven Big East Championship games.

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Big East Championship 2011: Connecticut Leads Louisville By Just 3 With 10-Minutes To Play

We could be in for an exciting finish at Madison Square Garden in New York. But we would expect nothing else from the Big East Conference. There are just 10 minutes remaining in the Big East Championship, and the Huskies lead 49-46.

Kemba Walker may have literally broke the ankles of Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva. The enigmatic sophomore had to leave the game with just over 12 minutes to go after Walker drove past him en route to being fouled. Walker is leading all scorers with 12 points so far, while Siva was leading the Cardinals with nine points before departing.

The news didn't get any better for Louisville, as Preston Knowles exited just moments later. Neither player sat out long though, as both reentered the contest with 10:51 to go.

Connecticut has led by as many as 14 points, but this game has been close ever since Walker took a seat in the second quarter due to foul accumulation.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Connecticut Leads Louisville 38-32 At Halftime Of Championship Game

The Louisville Cardinals have figured out the best way to slow down Kemba Walker. Make sure that his coach sticks him on the bench. Walker picked up his second foul of the Big East Tournament Final with over seven minutes remaining in the first half, and Jim Calhoun gave his star guard the rest of the half off. Walker will need to be more careful in the second half when driving to the basket. His second foul was an offensive charge when pushing the ball up quickly through the lane.

The change has visibly hurt the Huskies. Their defense hasn't been as sharp and their passing hasn't been as crisp.

Meanwhile, Louisville has been working the ball around in the offensive zone, finding the open shooter, and draining buckets. The Cardinals trail now by only six heading into the locker room for halftime. But will their progress continue with Walker back on the floor in the third quarter. We'll find out soon enough.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Kemba Walker Cannot Be Slowed As UCONN Leads Louisville 21-10 At 10-Minute Mark

Kemba Walker didn't need to score a single point in the Championship game to set the record for the most points ever in a single Big east Tournament. Its a record he already holds. But that won't stop him from scoring anyway. Walker has eight of his team's 21 points in the first 10 minutes as the Connecticut Huskies lead the Louisville Cardinals by 10 midway through the first half.

The team has been feeding Walker the ball every possession, and why not? The guy is currently turning in one of the greatest performances in Tournament history.

Jeremy Lamb has seven points for the Huskies, including a big three-pointer to extend his team's lead to eight.

The two teams are tied in rebounds, but shot selection has been the key. Louisville is shooting under 33% from the field in the first 10 minutes, while Connecticut is over 50% in what is becoming a fast-paced game.

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Big East Tournament Bracket And Schedule: Connecticut, Louisville Meet In Championship Game

After two thrilling semifinal games in the 2011 Big East Tournament, the championship will pit Kemba Walker and his Connecticut Huskies against Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals. The Huskies are trying to win this title after playing on the first day, while Louisville hopes to follow up its comeback win over Notre Dame with a Big East championship, which will take place Saturday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN. 

Connecticut got to this point by defeating DePaul in the openin round, then following it up with wins over three straight ranked opponents. The Huskies topped No. 8 seed Georgetown, 79-62, in the second round, topped No. 1 seed Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals on a Walker buzzer beater, then defeated No. 4 seed Syracuse in just one overtime in the semifinals Friday night. Louisville, the No. 3 seed, got a double bye in the tournament, topping No. 11 seed Marquettein the quarterfinals and rallying to beat No. 2 seed Notre Dame last night.

On paper, this is obviously a matchup between Walker and a deep, ranked opponent. That would seem to give Louisville the edge, especially after the win over a Notre Dame squad that was playing as well as anyone in the nation. But such was the case with all of Connecticut's previous victories in this tournament. Who's to say Kemba can't do it again.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Louisville Rallied For 83-77 Overtime Win Over Notre Dame

As the ads at Madison Square Garden will tell you, "Nobody Beats the Wiz", and frankly, when it comes to conference tournament basketball, nobody beats the Big East, either.  Louisville 83, Notre Dame 77 is the nightcap to yet another great day of Big East tournament basketball, with the Cardinals advancing to the championship game tomorrow night against Kemba-Conn with their win.

After trailing 46-32 at the half Rick Pitino's Cardinals' rallied back behind Peyton Siva, Terrence Jennings and, dare I say it, G:TB favorite Gorgui Dieng (4 points, 8 rebounds, 3 good fouls).  Despite shooting just 38% from the floor Louisville was able to pressure the Irish into a few key turnovers in the second half that led to momentum shifting buckets on the other end of the floor.

Louisville returns to the Big East Final for the second time in three years, this time facing the Huskies and en fuego guard Kemba Walker tomorrow night at the Garden.  I can assure you it will be a good show.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Notre Dame Leads Louisville, 46-32

In the "Who Want to Lose to Kemba Walker" Bowl, Notre Dame quickly raised a hand, shooting 57 percent percent from the field to lead the Louisville Cardinals 46-32 in the first half of tonight's 2011 Big East Tournament semifinal matchup.  The Irish have been uber efficient in the first half, making 17 of 30 two point field goals and five of eleven three point attempts while holding Louisville to just 38 percent shooting.

Unheralded senior guard Scott Martin led Notre Dame in the first half with 13 points and four rebounds, while Proactive candidate and all-around lunchpail guy Tim Abromaitis chipped in with 12 points, two boards and two assists for the Irish.

No easy Rick Pitino jokes here, other than to say his team needs to get out of the gate quick in the second half if they want to repeat last year's run to he Big East Final.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Kemba Walker Leads Connecticut To Big East Championship Game With 76-71 Win Over Syracuse

Kemba Walker decided enough is enough with the Gerry McNamara Big East Tournament lore. After topping Pittsburgh with a buzzer beater, Walker decided to drop 33 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals in an otherworldly performance that bolted the UCONN Huskies to the Big East final with a 76-71 win over Syracuse.

And we all thought we were going for six overtimes like the last time these two teams played. Scoop Jardine sent the game into overtime, but Walker was just too much in the extra frame.

The No. 9 seed Huskies await the winners of Friday's Louisville/Notre Dame match-up in the Big East final. Let's face it, it's the most anticipated big top showdown since Pee Wee was a box office draw. UCONN has now beaten three straight ranked teams on their way to the 2011 Big East Conference Tournament Finals, and the team's confidence seems to have risen with each game. With a game-changer like Walker dominating each March possession the Huskies are a must watch team at all times.

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Big East Tournament 2011: UCONN Leads Syracuse, 26-25, At Halftime

Gerry McNamara is logging in from a Dutch "internet cafe" right now and smiling down on this tightly-played Big East Semifinal match-up. The big stage of Madison Square Garden has once again provided a stellar game between Syracuse and Connecticut in the 2011 Big East Tournament. In what has been otherwise known as the Kemba Walker Invitational, Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph have kept the Orange within one at the half, as UCONN leads 26-25.

Walker has chosen to only score 10 of his team's 26 points to this juncture, but I assure you that will change shortly. UConn's offense has been bolstered by the surprising play of freshman Tyler Olander, who contributed seven points and four boards in the first half to the Huskies' effort.

Syracuse is down just one despite he fact that it also couldn't hit the broad side of a bran. Both teams shot less than 28% percent in the first half. Let's saves ome chickens in half two, fellas.

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Big East Tournament 2011 Bracket And Schedule For Semifinal Action

Well, the 2011 Big East Tournament has certainly lived up to it's lofty billing. Not every game has been one to remember, but we still have two days left and we've already had out fair share of late game drama. First it was the end of the St. John's - Rutgers game that wasn't really the end of the game, then it was Kemba Walker rising up and single-handily striking down the entire City of Pittsburgh. If the first three days are any indication, the last two should be pretty fun to watch. But we have to play the Semi's first before we can worry about the finals. Here is today's schedule.

UConn Vs. Syracuse, 7, ESPN: The biggest issue the Huskies will face in this game is fatigue, both physically and emotionally. This will be their fourth game in a row, so one would expect them to be running on fumes a little bit. And they have to somehow put that incredible win over Pitt behind them. Syracuse looked pretty average against St. John's. So if UConn can keep their momentum and their energy up, I really like their chances.

Louisville Vs. Notre Dame, 9, ESPN: Notre Dame is a lot like the Duke teams of recent years. If their three point shot is falling, you might as well not even be on the court trying to stop them. If they aren't having a good shooting night, then they are vulnerable. Louisville has a few guys that can fill it up from the outside as well. This one should be a shootout.

We'll be updating this stream with all the scores and reaction from these games as they happen.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Louisville Ends Day With 81-56 Win Over Marquette

The quarterfinal day in the Big East Tournament ended with yet another lopsided game that saw the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals defeat the Marquette Golden Eagles 81-56.

Mike Marra led the Cardinals with 22 points off of the bench, including six three-pointers. Preston Knowles had 15 points, Terrence Jennings had 12 points and Kyle Kuric had 11 points. For Marquette, Jimmy Butler had 14 points to lead the Golden Eagles.

The first half saw Marquette take a quick nine point lead before blowing it just as fast. Louisville had a five point lead at halftime and used a 12-5 run to start the second half to pull away. Louisville took advantage of Marquette's awful shooting performance which saw them shoot 29.8 percent from the field, 20 percent from the three-point line and 63.3 percent from the free throw line.

Louisville will advance to face the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Louisville Leads Marquette 36-31 At Halftime

Unlike the previous game against the No.4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Cincinnati Bearcats, the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals and Marquette Golden Eagles are playing a much closer game.

Louisville leads Marquette 36-31 at halftime.

Mike Marra has 11 points off of the bench for the Cardinals. Kyle Kuric has nine points and four rebounds, while Peyton Siva and Preston Knowles each have six points. For Marquette, Jae Crowder has eight points off of the bench, while Jimmy Butler has seven points and four rebounds.

Marquette took an early 11-2 lead, but it was short-lived as Louisville took the lead at 14-13 about three minutes later. The teams would trade leads for a few minutes before the Cardinals took control for good at 18-17.

Neither team is shooting particularly well. Louisville shot 39.4 percent and Marquette shot 32.1 percent. Marquette kept themselves in the game by hitting 11 free throws to Louisville's four.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Notre Dame Easily Disposes Of Cincinnati In 89-51 Rout

The Big East Tournament has already had plenty of exciting games. The quarterfinal matchup between the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cincinnati Bearcats was not one of them.

The Irish would dominate the second half and defeat the Bearcats 89-51.

Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough had 23 points and seven assists. Carleton Scott had 18 points and seven rebounds and Tim Abromaitis added 17 points. Dion Dixon had 15 points for the Bearcats, while Yancy Gates had 12.

Notre Dame held a 40-30 halftime lead and pulled away early in the second half, outscoring Cincinnati 18-9 in the first five minutes and 49-21 for the half.

Cincinnati may have been the more athletic team, but Notre Dame used its strong field goal shooting to counteract that. The Fighting Irish shot 9-19 from three-point range and 56.1 percent from the field. Notre Dame would also hit twice as many free throws (16 to 8).

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Big East Tournament 2011: Notre Dame Leads Cincinnati 40-30 At Halftime

After 20 minutes, the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have built a 40-30 lead over the Cincinnati Bearcats in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Tim Abromaitis leads all scorers with 14 points, while Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough has nine points and four assists. Carleton Scott has 12 points. Meanwhile, Dion Dixon leads the Bearcats with 10 points. Yancy Gates has five points.

The two teams traded baskets to start the game with Notre Dame eventually building a 13-5 lead. The Bearcats would cut it to 13-10, but the Fighting Irish would extend the lead to 20-10 and kept it above five for the rest of the half. Notre Dame's largest lead was 12.

While the rebounding battle is deadlocked at 16 each, Notre Dame used its three-point prowess to pull away from the Bearcats. The Fighting Irish shot 8-16 from three point range.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Fab Melo Carries Syracuse To 79-73 Win Over St. John's

St. John's couldn't use the homecourt magic at the 2011 Big East Tournament to carry them this time. After advancing to the quarterfinals with the help of a series of questionable calls, the Red Storm's run ended with a 79-73 loss to No. 4 seed Syracuse in the quarterfinals. The game was tight late, but much-maligned Syracuse freshman Fab Melo made a couple nice plays to carry Syracuse to the win in the end.

Syracuse moves on to face Connecticut, who upset No. 1 seed Pittsburgh thanks to a buzzer beater by Kemba Walker (which you can see here!). St. John's drops to 21-11 and will await its NCAA Tournament seed.

Melo ended with 12 points, but he made his big plays count. His layup off a nice pass from Brandon Triche broke a 68-all tie with just under two minutes remaining and gave Syracuse the lead for good. He then put the game away with a second layup with 31 seconds left. 

Triche led Syracuse with 22 points, while Dwight Hardy had 22 to lead St. John's. 

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Big East Tournament 2011: St. John's Leads Syracuse, 37-32, In Quarterfinal Game

There are many who feel that St. John's should not even be in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament after escaping against Rutgers in a win marred by an officiating controversy. Nevertheless, the Red Storm are taking advantage of their opportunity. Led by 11 points from Justin Brownlee, the Red Storm lead No. 4 seed Syracuse 37-32 at halftime of this quarterfinal game.

The winner will face No. 9 seed Connecticut, who upset No. 1 seed Pittsburgh 76-74 on a buzzer beater by Kemba Walker.

Syracuse jumped ahead early in this one, going ahead 14-5 six minutes into the game. St. John's chipped away to eventually tie the score, then scored seven of the last nine points of the half to take the 37-32 lead. Brownlee, who was the man that threw the ball into the stands against Rutgers, has hit five of his eight field goals for his 11 points. Dion Waiters leads Syracuse with eight points off the bench.

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VIDEO: Kemba Walker's Buzzer Beater To Beat Pittsburgh In Big East Tournament

The first real marquee matchup of the 2011 Big East Tournament was Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh, and it absolutely lived up to expectations. Connecticut upset Pittsburgh 76-74 on an incredible Kemba Walker buzzer beater. I could go on and one about Walker's game-winner, or I could just show you the video, via @bubbaprog.

Walker has now hit six "game-winning" shots to put his team ahead for good late in the game. He has been the most clutch player all year, and he showed it again on Thursday. Everyone knew that he was going to get the final shot, including the Pittsburgh defense, and he still rose up and hit it.

We have to question Pittsburgh's defensive strategy on this play. They are notorious for switching on picks, and being unwilling to change that approach regardless of situation. Jim Calhoun knew that and drew up a play that would force Pitt to put a bad matchup for Walker on him for the last shot. But all the credit still goes to Walker for hitting it. 

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Big East Tournament 2011: Kemba Walker Buzzer-Beater Gives UConn 76-74 Win Over Pitt

With the game tied at 74, Kemba Walker took Pitt center Gary McGhee off the dribble and hit a step-back 18-foot jump shot as time expired to down the Pitt Panthers 76-74. And with that; and the 2011 Big East Tournament just got real.

Pitt had tied the game at 74 on a three pointer from Ashton Gibbs, his sixth of the afternoon, with about 50 seconds left. Walker missed a floater in the lane shortly thereafter, but a huge offensive rebound from Jamaal Coombs-McDaniel with 18 seconds left gave UConn opportunity to take the final shot.

I think everyone in the building and watching on television knew that the ball was going to Kemba Walker, and yet, he got a wide open look for a game winner. He got a screen from Coombs-McDaniel early in the possession and Pitt switched, meaning McGhee had the unfortunate task of guarding Walker. Kemba took him off the dribble, and stepped-back (in reality, it was closer to a leap. He probably moved about five feet across the lane on the step) and got a great look at an 18-footer for the game. He did not disappoint. His shot splashed through the net as time expired.

The second half of the game was about as entertaining of a game as they come. It went back and forth and back and forth, but to be honest, UConn just looked like they wanted it a little bit more. They out-rebounded and outhustled the Panthers, and they seemed to be first to every loose ball. They now advance to face the winner of the next game, Syracuse vs. St. John's. We'll see if this emotional win is too much for them to get over in time to play tomorrow. We'll also keep you updated on that game here.

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Big East Tournament 2011: UConn Now Leads Pitt 61-60 In Back And Forth Second Half

If this is the way that the rest of the 2011 Big East Tournament is going to play out, I think we're going to be in for a real treat. Both teams are playing hard in the second half and the scoring has picked up considerably. UConn now leads Pitt 61-60 with 8:26 left in the game.

In the first few minutes of the second half, it looked like Pitt was going to re-establish their dominance. They took a quick seven point lead with some continued hot shooting by Ashton Gibbs. But UConn has been able to respond by establishing Alex Oriakhi in the post, which is a sharp departure from their first half game plan of trying to get out in transition.Contributions from Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb are also keeping UConn right in the thick of this one.

UConn is still getting out on the break, particularly following Pitt turnovers. They now have 15 points off Pitt's nine turnovers, which is an excellent percentage. The pace has picked up in the second half, and we should be in for a pretty exciting finish. Keep it locked.

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Big East Tournament 2011: UConn Trails Pitt 41-40 At The Half As Kemba Walker Starts To Take Control

If nothing else, the 2011 Big East Tournament is not short on excitement. For about ten minutes of UConn's game against Pittsburgh, it looked like the Huskies were ready to be written off. But a flurry of transition points and increased defensive effort have brought the Huskies all the way back. They now trail Pittsburgh 41-40 at the half.

As I mentioned, UConn got back into this game with strong transition offense. Pittsburgh is an excellent defensive team, but they aren't quite as effective when they are forced to defend the fast break. When UConn's starting center Charles Okwandu went to the bench with his third foul, UConn went small and started to use the fast break as the main source of their offense. Kemba Walker has been the focus of that transition offense, and has 13 points to lead the Huskies.

As for Pittsburgh they just went cold. They started off the first half so hot that it would have been difficult to maintain that pace. Even though they have cooled down considerably, they still finished out the first half shooting 60% from the floor. Despite Walker's outburst, Ashton Gibbs has been the best player on the floor so far today. He has 16 points on very tidy 6-7 shooting form the field.

UConn actually took the lead briefly on a Kemba Walker free throw with six seconds left, but a layup at the buzzer gave Pittsburgh the lead back before the break. It will be interesting to see how UConn responds in the second half now that they have the momentum. They are an extremely young team, and I am not sure that they will be able to keep their foot on the accelerator.

They can't afford to let Pitt regain any of their confidence in the first few minutes of the second half. If this game doesn't go down to the wire, it could be decided in the first five minutes of the second half. If I were you, I'd find a TV to watch it, but also keep checking back here for updates, of course.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Ashton Gibbs Leading Pittsburgh To Early 30-19 Lead Over UConn

So much for that "two round bye" rust the Panthers were supposed to have coming into this game. They didn't have to play during the first two days of the 2011 Big East Tournament, but you wouldn't know that from watching the beginning of their third-round game against UConn. The Panthers lead the Huskies 30-19 with 7:20 left in the first half.

Ashton Gibbs has come out firing, and has 13 points on 5-6 shooting from the field, including two three pointers. Nasir Robinson scored the first points of the game and has seven points so far.

UConn is relying, not surprisingly, on Kemba Walker. He only has six points so far but he has taken a team-leading five field goal attempts. If I can say anything positive about the Huskies, and believe me I'll try, it is that they haven't fallen behind because of lack of effort. They aren't playing particularly poorly, it just isn't easy to keep up with a team that started off as hot from the field as Pittsburgh did.

I would imagine that Pittsburgh has to cool down at some point. And Kemba Walker will certainly make his imprint on the game known. But as of right now, Pittsburgh is in control early.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Officials Behind Blown Call Reportedly Withdraw From Tournament

Unless something incredible happens over the course of the next three days (and having watched plenty of tournaments in the past, I know that is a distinct possibility) the 2011 Big East Tournament is going to be remembered for the blown call from the end of the game between St. John's and Rutgers on Wednesday.

In case you missed it, A St. John's player stole the ball, then ran out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left and threw the ball into the stands. Somehow, all the officials on the court missed it, and the clock expired. Because they hadn't called an infraction, it was not a reviewable play. Instead of getting 1.7 seconds to tie the game or win it, Rutgers only got a 65-3 loss.

As you can imagine, people aren't too thrilled about it. Even the head of officiating has come out and said that it was a blown call (but let's be honest, I think we all knew it was before he said anything). Missing a call like that has it's consequences. According to ESPN, the three officials working that game have withdrawn themselves from the rest of the tournament.

One has to wonder if they would have been removed from the rest of the tournament had they not chosen to take themselves out of consideration. Sort of like what Maryland offered Ralph Friedgen last year. Either way, the 2011 Big East Tournament has a pretty big black eye, and it isn't getting any better.

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Big East Tournament 2011 Bracket: TV Schedule And Game Times For Quarterfinal Matchups

Ok, so Georgetown is no longer part of the 2011 Big East Conference Tournament, but if you have some free time over the next few days, the rest of the tournament is definitely worth watching. Particularly if you work in an office that has a very lenient supervisor-worker relationship. Let's recap yesterday's results.

UConn dismantles Georgetown 79-62

St. John's escapes Rutgers in controversial fashion 65-63

Cincinnati runs away from South Florida 87-61

Marquette with a slight upset of West Virginia 67-61

Here is the schedule for today's BIg East Tournament games.

UConn Vs. Pitt, Noon, ESPN: UConn did not look very good against Pitt earlier this year, but they have the double bye on their side, potentially. I know the double bye is supposed to be an advantage, but three out of the four teams that had it last year lost their first game. UConn has had two days to get into a rhythm while Pitt has been sitting on their hands. Maybe it will come back to bight them.

St. John's Vs. Syracuse, 2 p.m., ESPN: It will be interesting to see how St. John's responds to their controversial win over Rutgers last night. It could unite them, or it could distract them. Either way, Syracuse is a tough opponent and this will not be an easy game.

Cincinnati Vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m., ESPN: On paper, Notre Dame should beat up on the Bearcats. But strange thigns tend to happen in the Big East Tournament.

Marquette Vs. Louisville, 9 p.m., ESPN: Marquette has probably earned a spot in the NCAA tournament with wins over the first two days of this tournament. But I'm sure they aren't satisfied with just that. Louisville is more talented on paper, but it should be an interesting game regardless.

You can follow all the action here in this StoryStream.

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Big East Tournament 2011: St. John's Tops Rutgers, 65-63, In Game Marred By Officiating Failure

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St. John's will move on to the 2011 Big East Tournament quarterfinals after edging No. 13 seed Rutgers, 65-63, but the story after the game is an officiating gaffe that cost Rutgers a chance to tie the score. 

The Scarlet Knights turned it over with just seconds remaining on an inbound pass, giving St. John's a chance to run out the clock. Justin Brownlee chose to run to the sidelines and throw the ball into the stands. The only problem? There was still 1.7 seconds remaining, as this photo indicates. Brownlee stepped out of bounds at this point, which should have given Rutgers the ball back. The officials completely missed the call and let the clock run out, ending the game.

The moment was particularly damaging because this likely ends Rutgers' season. The Scarlet Knights will have to hang their hats on an opening-round win over No. 12 seed Seton Hall and a competitive performance against a very good St. John's team on its home court. 

The Red Storm will face No. 4 seed Syracuse Thursday at 2:30 p.m. That will take place after No. 1 seed Pittsburgh takes on No. 9 seed Connecticut. The Huskies rolled over No. 8 seed Georgetown 79-62 earlier Wednesday.

(Photo via MockSession)

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Big East Tournament 2011: Georgetown Falls To UCONN, 79-62, Await NCAA Tournament Seed

The Georgetown Hoyas will officially be backing into the NCAA Tournament once the field is announced on Sunday. The Hoyas dropped their fourth straight game without star guard Chris Wright, falling to Connecticut 79-62 in the second round of the 2011 Big East Tournament.

The No. 8-seeded Hoyas were never in the game, falling far behind early and never even getting close in the second half. Kemba Walker led the way for the Huskies, scoring 28 points as the Hoyas' defense completely faltered. Jason Clark scored 23 points and Austin Freeman added 20 for the Hoyas, but the rest of the team scored just 19 points combined. In fact, only three other players scored for the Hoyas, period. 

The Huskies will move on to play No. 1 seed Pittsburgh on Friday. The Hoyas, meanwhile, fall to 23-10 on the season, and it remains an open question how high they will be seeded. Wright is scheduled to return in time for the NCAA Tournament opener, but how healthy will he be? That is the question the NCAA selection committee will struggle with on Sunday.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Georgetown Struggling In Second Half, Now Trail UConn 61-45

Georgetown is playing their first game in the 2011 Big East Tournament, and the way things are shaping up, it will also be their last. Georgetown was down 12 points at the half, but the are struggling so far in the second frame and their deficit continues to grow. They now trail UConn 61-45.

The story of this game continues to be Kemba Walker. He has gotten pretty much anywhere on the court that he wants to and leads all scorers with 20 points. Georgetown has struggled to stay in front of him all day, and too many of his points are coming at the rim. When they do shut him off, Walker is getting help from a number of his teammates who are consistently making baskets.

Austin Freeman carried Georgetown in the first half, but has not been successful at all in the second half. As I type this, Austin Freeman rattles in a free throw for his first point of the second half. He scored almost half of Georgetown's points in the first half, and they need his production to stay in the game.

Georgetown isn't playing well enough on offense or defense to inspire any confidence that they can come back. There is plenty of time left for them to make up the deficit, but they need to play a little bit better for that to even be considered a legitimate possibility.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Balanced Scoring Effort Has UConn Ahead Of Georgetown 42-30 At The Half

Georgetown is getting just about all they can handle in their second round matchup in the 2011 Big East Tournament. UConn has looked a step faster than them in all aspects of the game and holds a 42-30 lead at the half.

Kemba Walker has been great, but he isn't carrying UConn on his back. UConn has Five players have scored at least five points for the Huskies in the first half, led by Walker with 11. They have also taken ten more free throw attempts than the Hoyas in the first half, and that has helped them establish their lead.

As we expected, the Hoyas are trying to run most of their offense through Austin Freeman. He has nearly half of their points with 14. He is playing pretty well, but if they don't get some support from some of his teammates they could fall behind even further in the second half.

For inspiration, Georgetown needs to look no further than UConn's game against DePaul yesterday. The Huskies had a comfortable lead at the half in that one, but DePaul came out in the second half with a different level of intensity and was able to reduce the Huskies' lead down to handful of points. They ran out of gas, and the Huskies ran away from them, but Georgetown can learn from that example. If they come out with more effort on the defensive end, and starting hitting their shots, particularly three-pointers, at a higher rate, there is no reason they can't get themselves back into this game in a hurry.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Georgetown Getting Into Early Foul, UConn Leads 18-15

Georgetown is already in action in the 2011 Big East Tournament, as they play UConn and Kemba Walker at Madison Square Garden. UConn leads 18-15 with just over ten minutes to go in the first half.

The Hoyas are definitely missing Chris Wright early in this game. Not so much because of the defense on Kemba Walker (even though Walker is playing well early) but because of his ability to run the offense. Doris Burke pointed out a time when Austin Freeman had to tell Markel Starks where to line up. That's not so good.

The other big issue that the Hoyas are facing is foul trouble. Just ten minutes into the game, they already have six team fouls, including two on both Nate Lubick and Markel Starks. Julian Vaughn had to come to the bench early after picking up his first, but has since checked back in. The Hoyas can't afford to give points away to UConn at the free throw line, and they definitely can't afford to lose Vaughn on the inside. It could also be problematic if their point guards need to sit, considering the lack of depth at the position already.

Keep checking back for more updates from this contest.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Georgetown Vs. Connecticut Preview

Georgetown Basketball faces the UConn Huskies in Madison Square Garden as the 2011 Big East Tournament rolls on. The game starts at Noon and can be seen on ESPN. 

The biggest factor in this game will be Georgetown's ability to defend Kemba Walker off the dribble. Walker exploded for 19 points in the second half of the Huskies' victory over DePaul yesterday. When he is determined to, Walker can get to the rim at will. It doesn't help that Georgetown still doesn't have Chris Wright, who is their best defender from the point guard position.

For Georgetown to be successful, Austin Freeman will probably have to have a big day. There isn't really anyone on UConn that can match Freeman physically, and he will need to bully the young UConn perimeter players. Without Wright to get him the ball in his spots, we'll probably see a lot more isolation plays run for Freeman, and he needs to take advantage of what should be a mismatch no matter who is guarding him.

UConn won the only game between these two teams this year, and that was when Georgetown had Chris Wright. This should be a tough one for the Hoyas, as UConn and Kemba Walker are probably the worst possible matchup for a team without their point guard. We'll keep you updated in this stream as the game unfolds.

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Big East Tournament 2011 Schedule And Bracket For Day 2

The 2011 Big East Tournament got underway yesterday, and action continues today at Madison Square Garden. The biggest game of the day today is Georgetown facing UConn in a game that starts at Noon. That game can be seen on ESPN. Here are the rest of the games, all games can be seen on ESPN.

Rutgers Vs. 18 St. John's, 2: St. John's has beaten more top-10 teams than anyone in the Country this year, but they have struggled with teams that are closer to their skill level. But this game is being played in Madison Square Garden, which is their home court, so that should help them tremendously.

South Florida Vs. Cincinnati, 7: This is kind of the dud game of the Second Round. Villanova would have been in this one if they hadn't blown the game against the Bulls yesterday. It's kind of a disappointment that one of these two teams has to be in the quarter-finals. Hopefully they won't last very much longer.

Marquette Vs. West Virginia, 9: Marquette is still on the bubble, and they might need another quality Tournament win to bolster their schedule. West Virginia is a pretty solid team, the definition of a Big East scrapper. If you're not tired of basketball at this point, it should be a good one.

Tomorrow's matchups will look like this.

 

Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 10

No. 1 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Georgetown/UConn, noon, ESPN

No. 4 Syracuse Orange vs. St. John's/Seton Hall/Rutgers, 2, ESPN

No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Cincinnati/Villanova/USF, 7, ESPN

No. 3 Louisville Cardinals vs. West Virginia/Marquette/Providence, 9, ESPN

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Big East Tournament 2011: South Florida Shocks Villanova, 70-69

We have our first upset in the 2011 Big East Tournament. No. 10 seed Villanova, who was in the top 10 in the nation for large stretches this season, blew a 16-point lead and fell to lowly No. 15 seed South Florida in the first round. The Bulls will face No. 7 seed Cincinnati Wednesday in the second round.

The Wildcats fall to 21-12 overall, and while they will almost certainly make the NCAA Tournament, it will be interesting to see what their late-season slide means for their seeding. South Florida, meanwhile, improves to just 11-22 on the season.

The Bulls scored the first eight points of the game, but Villanova dominated the rest of the first half and led 49-33 at halftime. However, the Bulls rallied and finally took a 68-67 lead with 22 seconds left when Anthony Crater stole the ball from Maalik Wayns on a horrendous inbounds pass and scored a layup on the other end. Wayns then gave the Wildcats the lead with two free throws, but Crater responded with a righty layup with seven seconds left to give VSouth Florida the lead. Wayns streaked down the court on the other end, but missed a three at the buzzer for the final margin.

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Big East Tournament 2011: Rutgers Tops Seton Hall In Overtime, Will Face St. John's

It wasn't a pretty game, but Rutgers won the battle of the two New Jersey schools in an exciting first-round Big East Tournament game at Madison Square Garden. The Scarlet Knights survived a game-tying three-pointer from Jeremy Hazell and defeated Seton Hall in overtime 76-70 to move on to the next round.

The Scarlet Knights move to 16-16 overall and will face No. 5 seed St. John's Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Seton Hall's season likely ends, as they fall to 13-19.

The Scarlet Knights made a late rally to take a three-point lead with just 8.9 seconds remaining, but Hazell tied the game with this three-point shot. Video via MockSessions.

But Rutgers controlled overtime, taking the lead for good with under a minute remaining. Seton Hall had two chances late, but Jeff Robinson missed a three and Hazell turned it over. Jonathan Mitchell had 25 points to lead the Scarlet Knights, while Hazell had 27 in a losing effort.

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Big East Tournament 2011: UConn Beats DePaul 97-71 In Tournament's First Game

It got a little bit dicey for the Huskies for a little while in the second half, but UConn (and particularly Kemba Walker) turned up the intensity in the last few minutes and were able to beat DePaul going away 97-71.

The first ten minutes of the second half were all DePaul. They were faster to every loose ball, their three pointers were falling, and they were just playing with a sense of urgency that UConn seemed to lack.

But over the course of the last few minutes Kemba Walker completely took over, especially in transition. DePaul just didn't have an answer for Walker over the last ten minutes. He finished with 26 points, with 19 of those coming in the second half.

The final score is a little bit surprising, considering it was only an 11 point game with about eight minutes left. But the Huskies then put the pedal through the floor.

As we mentioned earlier, UConn now advances to take on the Georgetown Hoyas in the second round of the tournament tomorrow. It will be difficult for them to stop Walker because of the absence of Chris Wright. We'll see how they are able to keep Walker out of the paint.

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Big East Tournament 2011: UConn Leads DePaul 45-28 At The Half

If I told you that at halftime of a Big East Conference Tournament game, Kemba Walker would only have seven points and just as many turnovers as assists, it might be easy to assume that things aren't going so great for the Huskies. Well, luckily for them, they are playing the lowest seeded team in the fieldin DePaul, who is missing arguably their best player. So even without much of a contribution from Walker, UConn still leads DePaul 45-28 at halftime.

UConn has gotten a great offensive contribution from one of their starting guards, but it is freshman Jeremy Lamb, not Walker, that is carrying the Huskies. Lamb finished the half with 17 points, which is the difference between the two squads conveniently enough. He finished the half 6-8 from the field, with one of his misses coming on a desperation tip in attempt at the buzzer, so we won't hold that one against him.

The biggest advantage UConn has had is on the glass. They have so much more size than DePaul and it's showing. They have 27 rebounds to DePaul's 12, with eight of those boards coming on the offensive end. They have also more than twice as many free throw attempts, which doesn't hurt.

This wasn't a tough matchup on paper, but UConn doesn't appear to be messing around. If they can pull out the win they would face Georgetown tomorrow. That would be a tough matchup for the Hoyas who might not have anyone to counter Walker with Chris Wright still on the shelf. We'll keep you updated on this game here.

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Big East Tournament 2011 Schedule: Connecticut, Villanova, In Action In First-Round Play

The Big East Tournament gets under way today and you can follow all of the action in this stream, or over at SB Nation.

When I was younger my family had a fireplace, and we always used to burn our first fire on Halloween. It was a family tradition and the official start of winter, for us at least. That's kind of what the Big East Tournament is for March Madness. Sure, there has been some winter weather so far, but this is when it starts to get real.

The first round features four games, played between the bottom eight teams in the field. But don't let that fool you, there are still some teams ranked in the top 25 in action today. Here is the schedule for today's action.

Noon, ESPN2: No. 9 Connecticut (21-9, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 16 DePaul (7-23, 1-17 Big East)

2:30 p.m., ESPN2: No. 12 Seton Hall (13-17, 7-11 Big East) vs. No. 13 Rutgers (14-16, 5-13 Big East)

7:00 p.m., ESPNU: No. 10 Villanova (21-10, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 15 South Florida (9-22, 3-15 Big East)

9:30 p.m., ESPNU: No. 11 Marquette (18-13, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 14 Providence (15-16, 4-14 Big East)

The best news about the Big East tournament? It doesn't get any smaller for three days. There are another four games tomorrow, and another four on Thursday. With all of the byes the conference hands out, it's the tournament that keeps on giving. We'll be updating this stream with scores and updates from the big-little dance in Madison Square Garden.

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Big East 2011 Bracket, Schedule: Pittsburgh Earns No. 1 Seed As Action Gets Underway Tuesday

The Pittsburgh Panthers have dominated the Big East all season, so naturally, they will be the No. 1 seed when the Big East Tournament gets underway at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Led by guards Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker, the Panthers will be the favorite. However, there are a number of teams that could knock them off during the week.

The conference is as deep as ever, and the seeding shows it. Three likely NCAA Tournament teams -- Connecticut, Villanova and Marquette -- will have to win five games in five nights if they want to get the conference's automatic bid. All five are very capable of doing that, which goes to show just how deep the conference is this season.

Here are all the tournament matchups. All games will be on either ESPN, ESPNU or ESPN2, and all will be available on ESPN3.com.

Tuesday, March 8:

Noon, ESPN2: No. 9 Connecticut (21-9, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 16 DePaul (7-23, 1-17 Big East)

2:30 p.m., ESPN2: No. 12 Seton Hall (13-17, 7-11 Big East) vs. No. 13 Rutgers (14-16, 5-13 Big East)

7:00 p.m., ESPNU: No. 10 Villanova (21-10, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 15 South Florida (9-22, 3-15 Big East)

9:30 p.m., ESPNU: No. 11 Marquette (18-13, 9-9 Big East) vs. No. 14 Providence (15-16, 4-14 Big East)

Wednesday, March 9

Noon, ESPN: No. 8 Georgetown (21-9, 10-8 Big East) vs. Connecticut/DePaul winner

2:30 p.m., ESPN: No. 5 St. John's (20-10, 12-6 Big East) vs. Seton Hall/Rutgers winner

7:00 p.m., ESPN: No. 7 Cincinnati (24-7, 11-7 Big East) vs. Villanova/South Florida winner

9:30 p.m., ESPN: No. 6 West Virginia (20-10, 11-7 Big East) vs. Marquette/Providence winner

Thursday, March 10

Noon, ESPN: No. 1 Pittsburgh (27-4, 15-3 Big East) vs. Georgetown/Connecticut/DePaul

2:30 p.m., ESPN: No. 4 Syracuse (25-6, 12-6 Big East) vs. St. John's/Seton Hall/Rutgers

7:00 p.m., ESPN: No. 2 Notre Dame (25-5, 14-4 Big East) vs. Cincinnati/Villanova/South Florida

9:30 p.m., ESPN: No. 3 Louisville (23-8, 12-6 Big East) vs. West Virginia/Marquette/Providence Winner

Friday, March 11

7:00 p.m., ESPN: Pittsburgh/Georgetown/Connecticut/DePaul vs. Syracuse/St. John's/Seton Hall/Rutgers

9:30 p.m., ESPN: Notre Dame/Cincinnati/Villanova/South Florida vs. Louisville/West Virginia/Marquette/Providence

Saturday, March 12

9:00 p.m., ESPN: Big East Championship Game

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Big East Tournament 2011: Georgetown Earns No. 8 Seed, First-Round Bye

Despite losing three games in a row, the Georgetown Hoyas will have a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament. The Hoyas earned the No. 8 seed after Connecticut fell 70-67 to Notre Dame on Saturday. The loss dropped the Huskies to 9-9 in the conference, one game behind Georgetown's 10-8 mark. 

It's a lucky break for the Hoyas, who have really faltered after Chris Wright's injury. Georgetown is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but its seeding will likely take a major hit, especially if Wright cannot return in time for the Big Dance.

The Hoyas will therefore begin their Big East Tournament play on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Here are the final Big East standings:

 

  1. Pittsburgh: 15-3
  2. Notre Dame: 14-4
  3. Louisville: 12-6
  4. Syracuse: 12-6
  5. St. John's: 12-6
  6. West Virginia: 11-7
  7. Cincinnati: 11-7
  8. Georgetown: 10-8
  9. Connecticut: 9-9
  10. Villanova: 9-9
  11. Marquette: 9-9
  12. Seton Hall: 7-11
  13. Rutgers: 5-13
  14. Providence: 4-14
  15. South Florida: 3-15
  16. DePaul: 1-17
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Big East Tournament 2011 Bracket And Schedule

The Big East Tournament is is nearly a third the size of the NCAA Tournament at this point, and based on the conference's regular season, it figures to be just as competitive. The tournament gets under way Tuesday, and will feature 15 games over four days.

The top four teams get a two-round bye, with the next four teams getting a first-round bye. The first day features only the bottom eight teams in the conference, but that is still better than the best teams from other conferences from around the country. You can check out the brackets and matchups here.  The games on Tuesday are as follows.

No. 9 Connecticut Vs. No. 16 DePaul, Noon, ESPN2

No. 12 Seton Hall Vs. No. 13 Rutgers, 2 p.m., ESPN2

No. 10 Villanova Vs. No. 15 South Florida, 7 p.m., ESPNU

No. 11 Marquette Vs. No. 14 Providence, 9 p.m., ESPNU

The next four teams, including Georgetown, will join the fray on Wednesday. The Hoyas will take on the winner of the game between UConn and DePaul. Even in the first round of play for the Hoyas, we can expect a difficult and competitive game. All of these games are available on ESPN3 online as well, so if you have any privacy in your office, you can say goodbye to productivity for the next few days.

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