Sunday, March 15, 2009
Updated: March 16, 9:06 AM ET
The Big East made history again. The conference that came together for basketball decades ago hit another milestone Sunday, when three of its teams earned top seeds in the NCAA tournament.
Louisville, Pittsburgh and Connecticut were all No. 1, joined by North Carolina of the Atlantic Coast Conference, never an outsider this time of year.
Still, the headlines on Selection Sunday belonged to the Big East, the league that gave us Patrick Ewing and John Thompson, one of the game’s biggest upsets (Villanova over Georgetown in 1985) and one of its greatest games (Syracuse over UConn in six overtimes just last week).
The conference also broke new ground in 1985, when it became the first to place three teams in the Final Four.
“It speaks volumes for what it means to win the Big East,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whose Cardinals are the tournament’s overall top seed and will play in the Midwest.
The Cardinals (28-5), winners of the regular-season and conference championships in the nation’s top-ranked conference, will open against the winner of an opening-round game Tuesday between Alabama State and Morehead State.
The rest of the tournament starts Thursday and Friday.