ESPN's Rivalry Week Has Big East Flavor
The Big East is the only conference to appear every night this week on ESPN's Rivalry Week. On Thursday night, Louisville visits Notre Dame at 7 p.m. ET. The Cardinals outlasted the Irish 87-73 in overtime Jan. 12 on the network's first Big Monday telecast of the season. This Friday, Villanova, which is on a six-game winning streak, visits West Virginia at 9 p.m. On Saturday, Georgetown travels to Syracuse at noon and Cincinnati visits Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. All games will be carried on ESPN.
Scoreboards Have Been Busy
Forget the traditional notion that Big East games are low-scoring, physical affairs – at least for this season. Since Jan. 31, nine Big East games have seen the winning team finish with at least 90 points. Villanova has scored 102 points in each of its last two games. Six Big East teams rank among the nation's top 30 offensive teams, with Marquette leading the way at 80.2 points per game.
Big East Has The Most On The Wooden Midseason List
The Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award Committee has announced the top 30 candidates for college basketball's highest individual honor, and 10 Big East players have made the cut. The Big East had twice as many selections as any other conference, with the Pac-10 and ACC placing five players each among the final 30. The Big East's candidates are Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut, Greg Monroe of Georgetown, Terrence Williams of Louisville, Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal of Marquette, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, DeJuan Blair and Sam Young of Pittsburgh and Jonny Flynn of Syracuse.
More Milestones At Providence And Marquette
It's been a history-making week for two Big East schools as Providence guard Sharaud Curry and center Randall Hanke both surpassed the 1,000-career-points milestone. They became the fourth and fifth members of this year's team to reach that mark, making Providence the only school in the country with five active 1,000-point scorers.
Marquette guard Jerel McNeal, meanwhile, broke the program's 40-year-old career scoring record in a loss at Villanova. McNeal finished that game with 1,776 career points, putting him ahead of George Thompson, who had 1,773 points from 1966-69. McNeal's milestone came just one week after Marquette senior Krystal Ellis became the all-time scorer for the Golden Eagles' women's team.
Tournament Tickets Sold Out
Commissioner Michael Tranghese has announced that all tickets to the 2009 Big East Men's Basketball Championship at Madison Square Garden have been sold in advance. All ticket packages for the 2009 Championship have been purchased by the 16 member schools, negating the need for a public sale at Madison Square Garden.
The 2009 Championship will take place March 10-14 and will be the first to include 16 teams. It will be the 30th edition of the Big East Championship and it will be the 27th tournament held in Madison Square Garden. The total attendance of the tournament will surpass 3 million in 2009.
While the tournament has routinely been played in front of sellout crowds, this is the fourth consecutive year in which the entire Championship has been sold out in advance.
"We're looking forward to having our 30th Men's Basketball Championship in front of terrific crowds on what I feel is the greatest stage in sports," said Tranghese. "Our fan support has been incredible and with the quality of our teams, from top to bottom, I'm sure that this year's Championship will be one to remember."