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.