Big East Basketball Report

News, notes and a look ahead at the weekend action in the Big East basketball conference


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Seven Teams Have Made It To Twenty Wins

The BIG EAST already has had seven teams reach the 20-win plateau. No other conference has more than four. The 20-win squads in the BIG EAST are: Georgetown (23), Louisville (23), Connecticut (22), Notre Dame (21), Marquette (21), West Virginia (20) and Pittsburgh (20). West Virginia and Pitt joined the "club" Wednesday night with victories.


Passing The Road Tests

Winning on the road is one of the marks of teams that expect to make the NCAA Tournament. The top 11 teams in the BIG EAST standings have at least three road victories. Louisville has been the most successful with an 8-2 record. Georgetown is 7-4, while Marquette and West Virginia are 5-4. No other major conference has as many teams with winning records on away courts.


It's Easy To See The Big Games This Weekend

Starting with Thursday night's game between Notre Dame and Louisville on ESPN, five conference games through the weekend involving BIG EAST teams contending for NCAA berths will be all over the nation's television sets. Saturday's lineup starts at noon ET with West Virginia visiting Connecticut on the BIG EAST Game of the Week. Also at noon, Pittsburgh at Syracuse will be telecast on ESPN. At 2 p.m., CBS Sports will carry Georgetown at Marquette. The BIG EAST is back on CBS on Sunday with Villanova at Louisville at 4 p.m.


Ruoff's Academic Honors Go National

Last week, West Virginia junior guard Alex Ruoff was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team as selected by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). This week, he was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team. Ruoff, WVU's second leading scorer, owns a 3.79 GPA in history.


WOMEN

Nine of 12 Set for BIG EAST Championship Field

Nine teams have already qualified for the 2008 BIG EAST Championship, to be held March 8-11 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. There are only two games left on the regular-season schedule, as all 16 teams will play a game on Saturday, March 1 and Monday, March 3. Seven teams are vying for the last three tournament openings. Connecticut and Rutgers have already played themselves into first-round bye positions, and West Virginia, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Marquette and DePaul have all earned championship berths and are playing for seeding in the final two games.


Regular Season to End with Two Nationally Televised Games

With the possible conference regular-season title on the line, No. 1/1 Connecticut will host No. 4/4 Rutgers on March 3 for ESPN2's presentation of Big Monday. The game is a rematch of then-No. 7/7 Rutgers 73-71 home win over then-top-ranked Connecticut on Feb. 5, when the Scarlet Knights knocked the Huskies from the ranks of the unbeaten.

USF and Marquette will close out the 2008 regular-season schedule with the last game of the night on March 3. The 9 p.m. ET game will be aired on CSTV: College Sports Television.


Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer Enters the 800-Win Club

Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer stood at center court and received a rose from each one of her players after joining college basketball's most exclusive club. The Hall of Famer earned win No. 800 putting her in the company of Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and former Texas great Jody Conradt with No. 4/4 Rutgers' 60-46 victory over DePaul on Feb. 27.

Stringer becomes just the third women's coach and the first African American – male or female – to reach 800 wins. While Summitt and Conradt won almost all their games with one team, Stringer has succeeded at three different schools – Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers.


Quigley Named Academic All-American

DePaul senior Allie Quigley became the second player in program history to claim Academic All-America honors as she was named third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America. Quigley is the third BIG EAST women's basketball star to earn the award in the past three years, as she joins Megan Duffy (Notre Dame) and Ann Strother (Connecticut) who were both named to the 2005-06 team.


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