Louisville will face the winner of Wednesday's Pittsburgh-Cincinnati opening round contest. The Cardinals lost by one to Cincinnati to open the Big East season and beat Pittsburgh last month on the road 75-73.
"I think no matter who you play it will be a tough game," Rick Pitino said. "There is no easy draw. The winner of Pittsburgh-Cincinnati is not an easy draw. We didn't play particularly well on defense against Pittsburgh but that's because of their potent offense. Hopefully we'll improve next time around."
The Cardinals will tip-off quarterfinal action Thursday night at 7 p.m. in New York's Madison Square Garden.
team All-Big East selection.
"I think playing at 7 o'clock is beneficial more than it hurts because Earl Clark and Derrick Caracter aren't morning people – well they get in at four," said Pitino. "I'm only kidding…I'm only kidding."
Before heading to New York, Louisville will get to work preparing to play either team.
"Pitt and Cincinnati split during the year," Pitino said. "And Cincinnati is coming off a tough loss. They played Pitt to the wire at Pitt. So now we sort of have to go 50/50. What we'll do today is concentrate on defending Pittsburgh and how they defend us. And tomorrow we'll do it with Cincinnati."
There's a lot at stake for Louisville in the Big East Tournament. Pitino told his team after Saturday's 55-52 loss to Georgetown that they can't consider the season a ‘great' success unless they win a championship. Since they didn't win the regular-season title, Louisville will be aiming to win their first Big East Tournament title since joining the league three years ago.
And while Louisville isn't playing for a place in the NCAA Tournament – the Cardinals having already punched their dance ticket – they are playing for a better seed in the Big Dance.
"If we win the championship we could be a two-seed," said Pitino. "For us and Georgetown – Georgetown could move into a one-seed and we could move into a two seed. It was tough trying to beat Georgetown at Georgetown on senior night but it's a lot tougher to win the Big East Tournament than it was that one game. When you get down to the 12 teams we're now the best conference in basketball," Pitino said. "It's great pageantry, it's a great tournament and it's a lot of fun for everybody."
One concern for Pitino heading into post-season action: Free throw shooting. Louisville went only 10-18 against Georgetown from the foul line and are shooting just 65 percent from the free throw stripe for the season.
"I am concerned. It is a factor but I don't think it's a major factor in the game for us," said Pitino. "I think we will make (them). I don't think we'll make 80 percent – I think we're capable of making it in the low 70's. It was one of the three or four aspects that lost the Georgetown game for us but the thing I like about it is – you never like a miss – but the ball was going in and out and it was soft on the rim and I like that. We've been spending a lot of time with our technique and I like the way the guys are shooting it."
All-Big East Team Announced; Padgett Selected First-Team
All-BIG EAST First Team
Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati, So., 6-1, 195, Indianapolis, Ind.
Jeff Adrien, Connecticut, Jr., 6-7, 243, Brookline, Mass.
*A.J. Price, Connecticut, Jr., 6-2, 187, Amityville, N.Y.
*Roy Hibbert, Georgetown, Sr., 7-2, 278, Adelphi, Md.
*David Padgett, Louisville, Sr., 6-11, 245, Reno, Nev.
*Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, So., 6-8, 251, Schererville, Ind.
Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame, Jr., 6-0, 196, Staten Island, N.Y.
Sam Young, Pittsburgh, Jr., 6-6, 215, Clinton, Md.
Brian Laing, Seton Hall, Sr., 6-5, 215, Bronx, N.Y.
Kentrell Gransberry, USF, Sr., 6-9, 270, Baton Rouge, La.
Joe Alexander, West Virginia, Jr., 6-8, 230, Mt. Airy, Md.
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, So., 7-3, 263, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown, Sr., 6-1, 188, Harvest, Ala.
Draelon Burns, DePaul, Sr., 6-4, 220, Milwaukee, Wisc.
Terrence Williams, Louisville, Jr., 6-6, 210, Seattle, Wash.
Lazar Hayward, Marquette, So., 6-6, 225, Buffalo, N.Y.
Dominic James, Marquette, Jr., 5-11, 185, Richmond, Ind.
Jerel McNeal, Marquette, Jr., 6-3, 200, Chicago, Ill.
Donte' Greene, Syracuse, Fr., 6-9, 217, Baltimore, Md.
Paul Harris, Syracuse, So., 6-5, 228, Niagara Falls. N.Y.
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, So., 6-2, 190, Herndon, Va.
All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, Fr., 6-7, 250, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Geoff McDermott, Providence, Jr., 6-8, 235, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Anthony Mason, Jr., St. John's, Jr., 6-7, 209, Memphis, Tenn.
Dominique Jones, USF, Fr., 6-4, 205, Lake Wales, Fla.
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse, Fr., 6-0, 186, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
BIG EAST All-Rookie Team
Mac Koshwal, DePaul, Fr., 6-10, 250, Chicago, Ill.
Dar Tucker, DePaul, Fr., 6-4, 210, Saginaw, Mich.
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, Fr., 6-4, 225, Hyattsville, Md.
*DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, Fr., 6-7, 250, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Corey Chandler, Rutgers, Fr., 6-2, 180, Newark, N.J.
Justin Burrell, St. John's, Fr., 6-8, 230, Bronx, N.Y.
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, Fr., 6-5, 185, Bronx, N.Y.
*Dominique Jones, USF, Fr., 6-4, 205, Lake Wales, Fla.
*Jonny Flynn, Syracuse, Fr., 6-0, 186, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
*Donte' Greene, Syracuse, Fr., 6-9, 217, Baltimore, Md.
Corey Fisher, Villanova, Fr., 6-1, 185, Bronx, N.Y.
*denotes unanimous selection
2008 BIG EAST Championship presented by Aeropostale
Madison Square Garden - New York (all games televised by ESPN)
Wednesday, March 12 (First Round)
Game 1 - (8) Villanova vs. (9) Syracuse Noon ET
Game 2 - (5) West Virginia vs. (12) Providence 2:00 p.m. ET
Game 3 - (7) Pittsburgh vs. (10) Cincinnati 7:00 p.m. ET
Game 4 - (6) Marquette vs. (11) Seton Hall 9:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 13 (Quarterfinals)
Game 5 - Villanova/Syr winner vs. (1) Georgetown Noon ET
Game 6 - WVU/Providence winner vs. (4) Connecticut 2:00 p.m. ET
Game 7 - Pitt/Cincinnati winner vs. (2) Louisville 7:00 p.m. ET
Game 8 - Marq/Seton Hall winner vs. (3) Notre Dame 9:00 p.m. ET
Friday, March 14 (Semifinals)
Game 9 - Thursday afternoon winners 7:00 p.m. ET
Game 10 - Thursday evening winners 9:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 15
Game 11 - Championship Game 9:00 p.m. ET