Cards No. 1 overall seed

Louisville, the Big East regular-season and tournament champs, earned the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region; while Pittsburgh and UConn also earned No. 1 seeds - the first time in history one league earned three top seeds.

After winning the Big East Tournament championship Saturday night in Madison Square Garden with a 76-66 win over No. 18 Syracuse, Louisville found out where it's headed Sunday evening as the No. 1 overall seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals will begin their Road to the Final Four in Dayton with a first-round game against the winner of the Alabama State/Morehead State play-in game on Friday.

"I think the number one seed is a tremendous accomplishment for our basketball team. It speaks volumes for what it means to win the Big East regular season and tournament championships," Rick Pitino said. "I know our players are excited about it. We've sat here in other years when we were in Conference USA, thinking we deserved a number two or three seed when it didn't come to fruition, so this is very exciting for our team.

"When you have a play-in game, you have a disadvantage in preparation because you don't know which team you'll play for two days of practice. We'll just scout and prepare for them both. If we were to get by our first-round game, we'd be playing the Ohio State - Siena winner, and Ohio State is right in Dayton's back yard. Our fans will be close as well, and it's great they will only have to drive two and a half hours."

Provided Louisville advances to the second round (keep in mind no No. 1 seed has ever lost a first round game) the Cardinals will face the winner of the No. 8 Ohio State/No. 9 Siena game in what would essentially be a virtual home game for the Buckeyes, who fell to Purdue in the Big Ten tournament title game Sunday.

"We looked at the fact they won the regular-season and tournament title and what they did over the year, especially during the second half of the year," NCAA Tournament Selection Committee chairman Mike Slive said. "I think the committee just looked at all of that, the competition they played and winning those (Big East regular-season and tournament championship) both led them to the No. 1 seed."

Other teams in Louisville's half of the bracket: Wake Forest earned the No. 4 seed and will play No. 13 Cleveland State in the first round. Utah earned the No. 5 seed in the Midwest and will open against No. 12 Arizona, one of the final at-large teams invited to the NCAA's. If Louisville advances to the Sweet 16, they'd face one of those four teams.

Michigan State, Big Ten regular-season champions, earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, with Kansas No. 3. West Virginia, who Louisville beat twice during the regular-season, including a 62-59 win in the regular-season finale to clinch the Big East title, is the No. 6 seed.

Pittsburgh (East), North Carolina (South) and Connecticut (West) earned the other three No. 1 seeds in the tournament. The Midwest Region champion will play the champion of the West Region in the national semifinals while the East Region champion will play the South Region champs.

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