The Cardinals (18-11 overall, 6-10 BIG EAST), seeded 11th in the tournament, lost 61-57 to sixth-seeded Pittsburgh (21-6, 10-6) on Jan. 15 in Freedom Hall.
"They've been a top 10 team for much of the season and have been very deserving of that ranking," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "They've been very consistent, have great experience and have one of the premier big men in the country. We obviously won't have David Padgett for this one, but we'll have a healthy Taquan (Dean)."
Dean limped through 12 minutes against Pittsburgh earlier this season with the high ankle sprain that kept him out for three other games. Padgett, who has missed the last four games, will have surgery on his left knee in New York on Monday.
Third-seeded West Virginia (20-9, 11-5), which earned a first-round bye, awaits the winner in a quarterfinal game to be played at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 9. The semifinals will be played on March 10 at 7 and 9 p.m., while the championship game will be played at 8 p.m. on March 11.
The Cardinals lost their regular season finale 84-80 at Connecticut (No. 2 AP, No. 2 ESPN/USA Today) on Saturday while Pittsburgh was beaten 65-61 by Seton Hall in their last outing on Friday. The complete tournament schedule is below.
2006 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP Presented by Aeropostale
March 8-11, 2006
Madison Square Garden
New York City
Wednesday, March 8 - First Round
Thursday, March 9 — Quarterfinals
Friday, March 10 — Semifinals
7:00 Thursday Afternoon Winners (ESPN) 9:00 Thursday Evening Winners (ESPN)
Saturday, March 11 — Championship
8:00 Semifinal Winners (ESPN)