NBE Basketball Report
Tournaments & Events

MERNAGH: TONIGHT’S NCAA SWEET 16 LINEUP

March 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Tonight’s games offer up four potentially excellent match-ups (the thing that everyone says this tournament, and really any basketball game played anywhere, is always about).

Here’s some thoughts on each game.

Syracuse vs Wisconsin

This one will be a battle of pace.

Syracuse wants to get out in transition, run and dunk, hit the trailer for three-point attempts and attack the basket off the bounce.

Wisconsin wants to take their time and get a great shot each possession. If they can’t get a great shot, they want Jordan Taylor to create late in the shot clock on the perimeter by either raising up for a 3, getting to the rim and getting fouled or finding open three-point shooters with kick outs. Or the want Ryan Evans to do the same in the mid-to-low block. Wisconsin wants the game in the 50′s or 60′s, Syracuse in the 80′s. Look for a heavy dose of short corner and free throw line finds in the half court action of the Badgers against the Orange 2-3 zone. Roc Christmas was outstanding against Kansas State in the place of Fab Melo. Another big aspect in this game will be how physical the refs allow things to get. I’m hard-pressed to call anyone a clear favorite here but I think Syracuse’s depth will win it for them.
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MERNAGH: SMART STICKS WITH VCU…AGAIN

March 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ray Mernagh

Another year is almost in the books except for sixteen lucky, and good, programs.

One of those programs that’s closed the season and already started a new one is VCU, and once again they’ve managed to sidestep the same oncoming locomotive they managed to elude following last season (high major programs trying to steal their coach Shaka Smart).

Last year it was NC State — and hey, that Gottfried guy is looking pretty good right about now — and Maryland and several others.

This year it was the Fighting Illini of Illinois making their pitch to Smart.

I consider Shaka Smart a friend. The reason I know him is because he was a young assistant at Akron when I was writing a book about the Mid-American Conference, as well as covering that league and others on my old websites HoopFactor.com and HoopWise.com (may they rest in peace). A lot of things I predicted in that book came true. A lot of opinions I had then have changed since 2004-2006. Some turned out to be false, flat-out wrong. But perhaps the one subject I was most right about was Shaka Smart. In the end of the book there’s a section entitled Post Script in which I update everyone on what’s happened with the subjects in the book since the end of the season. It was written in a coffee shop in Pittsburgh in late August of 2006 right before the book went to print, and the part about Shaka Smart follows in the italicized paragraph below.
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FROM 68 TO 16: ITS A BUCKEYE STATE OF MIND; CONFERENCE STANDINGS; REGIONAL TICKETS

March 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The state of Ohio is at the top of the college basketball world this Monday morning. The first week of the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament is complete and for the first time ever four schools from one state have advanced to the Sweet 16. The state is Ohio as Ohio State, Ohio University, Cincinnati and Xavier have all made it to this week’s Regionals.

While Ohio State was expected to make it at the very least this far, the other three schools can be labeled as surprises. Cincinnati was the 6th seed and got past ACC Tournament champion Florida State, the #3 seed, last night. Xavier rallied from a large deficit against Duke-killer Xavier to join the Sweet 16 earlier in the evening. The biggest surprise is John Groce’s Ohio Bobcats, the 13th seed in the Midwest. After stunning Michigan in the Round of 64, DJ Cooper and company upended South Florida yesterday to make the round of 16 for the first time in over 40 years.

The Sweet 16 is still predominately a major conference party with 14 of the 16 teams coming from the 6 major BCS conferences. The only party crashers are Xavier and the aforementioned Ohio Bobcats. Below is the conference standings of the BCS conferences through the first three rounds of the 2012 NCAA Tournament:

Conference……………W-L………………Teams Remaining
ACC………………….5-3……………………2
Big 10……………….9-2……………………4
Big 12……………….6-4……………………2
Big East……………..11-5…………………..4
Pac 12……………….1-2……………………0
SEC………………….5-2……………………2

This year’s regional sites are TD Garden in Boston, Georgia Dome in Atlanta, US Airways Center in Phoenix and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available right through the Regionals and Final Four:

REGIONAL FINALS (Sweet 16 & Elite 8):
BostonTD Garden

AtlantaGeorgia Dome

PhoenixUS Airways Center

St. LouisEdward Jones Dome

2012 NCAA FINAL FOURNew Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome

2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT: CONFERENCE SCORECARD & MORE

March 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Norfolk State?

Lehigh?

It has been 11 years since a 15 seed won a game in the NCAA Tournament and on Friday we saw two colossal upsets with Norfolk State beating Missouri 86-84 and Lehigh sending Duke packing, 75-70.

After a rather mundane Thursday opening to the Round of 64, the Madness returned to March Madness on Friday!

The upsets did not stop with Duke and Mizzou going down either. In all, seven double-digit seeds advanced on Friday to play on Sunday. Exactly half of the 16 games yesterday saw the higher seed advance.

Here is a look at how the 6 Power Conferences have fared to so far:

Conference……………W-L………………Teams Remaining
ACC………………….3-2……………………3
Big 10……………….5-1……………………5
Big 12……………….4-2……………………4
Big East……………..7-3……………………6
Pac 12……………….1-1……………………1
SEC………………….3-1……………………3

Last year it was the Round of 32 that decimated the BIG EAST, we shall see how the perform starting today. Right off the bat the Melo-less Orange take on Kansas State in front of a national television audience. It will be a tough test for the No. 1 seed Syracuse squad that has endured plenty of distractions this season.

Will this have of the early round stay to form? Or will they revert to the upsets of yesterday? stay tuned…and, make sure you get your tickets to see your favorite team in action for the regionals later next week! The great action on the court returns Thursday March 22nd for the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) and Finals (Elite 8] as tickets to the 2012 Final Four will be punched.

Be there when your favorite college team or alma mater hits the court and tries to make the Final Four in New Orleans.

This year’s regional sites are TD Garden in Boston, Georgia Dome in Atlanta, US Airways Center in Phoenix and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available right through the Regionals and Final Four:

REGIONAL FINALS (Sweet 16 & Elite 8):
BostonTD Garden

AtlantaGeorgia Dome

PhoenixUS Airways Center

St. LouisEdward Jones Dome

2012 NCAA FINAL FOURNew Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome

FIRST FOUR DOWN; 2012 ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR BEGINS IN EARNEST THURSDAY

March 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The First Four in Dayton this week definitely provided some thrills, and spills. From Western Kentucky’s thrilling rally from 16 down in the last five minutes to overtake Mississippi Valley State to the nightcap where BYU rallied from 25 points down to win, Tuesday was an evening none will soon forget. Even Barack Obama made an appearance in Dayton to see some of the action Now, can WKU (vs No. 1 Kentucky) or BYU (vs. Marquette) avoid being lambs headed to the slaughter on Thursday?

There wasn’t so much drama in Wednesday’s doubleheader in Dayton as Vermont fought off Vermont, 71-59, and South Florida got the BIG EAST off on the right foot with an emphatic win over Cal, proving what everyone already knew about the Pac 12.

The First Four is now out of the way and the real action begins on Thursday…one of the best days of any year! However, there does not seem to be a series of compelling games in the first half of the first round tomorrow. Here is what we will be watching during the day on Thursday:

Tournament tips off with Colorado State and Murray State. Envisioning a double-digit victory for the Racers. In fact, much of the early slate will likely see the favorites cruise to victory. Kansas State and Southern Miss might be the most compelling, but expect Frank Martin’s club to end up in control of this game.
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2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT REGIONAL SITES & TICKETS

March 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament is here and already tipping off. The great action on the court returns Thursday March 22nd for the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) and Finals (Elite 8) as tickets to the 2012 Final Four will be punched.

Be there when your favorite college team or alma mater hits the court and tries to make the Final Four in New Orleans.

This year’s regional sites are TD Garden in Boston, Georgia Dome in Atlanta, US Airways Center in Phoenix and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available right through the Regionals and Final Four:

REGIONAL FINALS (Sweet 16 & Elite 8):
BostonTD Garden

AtlantaGeorgia Dome

PhoenixUS Airways Center

St. LouisEdward Jones Dome

2012 NCAA FINAL FOURNew Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome

KIRSCHMAN & MERNAGH: 2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT MANIFESTO

March 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

March 13, 8:28 PM:
Gracious sakes alive in the name of John Wooden.

I can understand your dislike for this event I mean, dang, it’s not like some team from the CAA will get in unexpectedly, get routinely bashed by everyone from Joe Lunardi to Jay Bilas and, in-spite of all the negativity, still win five games to get to the final four….oh wait.

Iona vs BYU
Machado vs Carlino — two great guards with really good support. This could be a great game and the winner has a chance to win 1-2 “real” games afterwards.

Vermont vs Lamar
My hope for this one of Lamar’s seniors to hit a deep three from the corner to win it at the buzzer, dig a blunt out of his sock, light it up and blow the smoke in Pat Knight’s face. Would that change your un-American view of the First Four?
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Need tickets for 2012 NCAA Tournament?

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:

The First Four (Round One) – University of Dayton Arena
-Mississippi Valley State vs. Western Kentucky
-Lamar vs. Vermont
-BYU vs. Iona
-California vs. South Florida

ROUNDS 2 & 3 (Various Sites):
PITTSBURGHConsol Energy Center — Thurs/Sat
–Syracuse vs. UNC-Asheville
–Kansas State vs. Southern Miss

–Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
–Ohio State vs. Loyola (MD)

LOUISVILLEKFC Yum! Center — Thurs/Sat
–Kentucky vs. Miss. Valley St/WKU winner
–Iowa State vs. Connecticut

–Murray State vs. Colorado State
–Marquette vs.BYU/Iona winner

ColumbusNationwide Arena — Fri/Sun
–Michigan State vs. LIU-Brooklyn
–Memphis vs. St. Louis

–San Diego State vs. NC State
–Georgetown vs. Belmont

GreensboroGreensboro Coliseum — Fri/Sun
–Notre Dame vs. Xavier
–Duke vs. Lehigh

–North Carolina vs. Lamar/Vermont winner
–Creighton vs. Alabama

PortlandRose Garden — Thurs/Sat
–Wichita State vs. VCU
–Indiana vs. New Mexico State

–New Mexico vs. Long Beach State
–Louisville vs. Davidson

NashvilleBridgestone Arena — Fri/Sun
–Cincinnati vs. Texas
–Florida State vs. St. Bonaventure

–Temple vs. California/South Florida winner
–Michigan vs. Ohio

OmahaCentury Link Center — Fri/Sun
–Florida vs. Virginia
–Missouri vs. Norfolk State

–St. Mary’s vs. Purdue
–Kansas vs. Detroit

AlbuquerqueThe Pit — Thurs/Sat
–UNLV vs. Colorado
–Baylor vs. South Dakota State

–Vanderbilt vs. Harvard
–Wisconsin vs. Montana

REGIONAL FINALS (Sweet 16 & Elite 8):
BostonTD Garden

AtlantaGeorgia Dome

PhoenixUS Airways Center

St. LouisEdward Jones Dome

2012 NCAA FINAL FOURNew Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome

2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD OF 68 SET: SITE & TICKET INFO FOR MARCH MADNESS

March 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Selection Sunday has arrived and the 2012 NCAA Tournament field of 68 has been revealed. Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Michigan State head the field as this year’s #1 seeds. The BIG EAST also highlights the field, sending nine representative from the conference to the tournament.

The action will once again tip off Tuesday night in Dayton with the ‘First Four’, a pair of games on both Tuesday and Wednesday night, and this year’s final destination is New Orleans, the host city of the ‘Final Four.’

Below are where the teams ended up for their early round contests. Plenty of tickets are available and fans can get their seats through our relationship with Ticketnetwork.com. Do not hesitate, tickets will be going quickly now that the teams have been placed in their locations.

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:
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2012 NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT SITES & TICKETS

March 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Selection Sunday has arrived. It seems like just yesterday we were reporting on Midnight Madness activities and stories. Many tournament tickets have already been punched, but now fans have a chance to get their tickets at all the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament sites below. Get your tickets now to make sure in your the building to see the greatest sporting event of the year!!

The 2012 NCAA Tournament tips of Tuesday night with the ‘First Four’ doubleheader in Dayton, Ohio. Thursday the tournament will hit full speed with second and third round games being played in the following host cities:

Albuquerque
Columbus
Greensboro
Louisville*
Nashville
Omaha
Pittsburgh*
Portland

Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston and St. Louis will be 2012 regional cities.

The 2012 NCAA Tournament Final Four will be played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans (LA).

Our partnership with TicketNetwork.com allows you to pick the seats you want from their tremendous inventory at great prices. See below for 2012 NCAA Tournament Sites and tickets available:
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FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: 2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS SET

March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most exciting nights of the year is upon us: Big East Tournament Semifinal Friday at Madison Square Garden.

This year’s doubleheader features No. 1 seed Syracuse taking on Mick Cronin’s 4th-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats at 7 PM and No. 7 seed Louisville matched up against No. 3 seed Notre Dame in the nightcap.

Since the conference went to the double-bye format, this is the best results for the teams with the double-bye, going 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Despite a very slow start offensively, Syracuse got past UConn 58-55 in the day’s first contest. Dion Waiters picked up the scoring slack while the starters took a while to find their footing at MSG, leading the Orange with 18 points off the bench. Fellow reserve James Southerland hit the clutch shots down the stretch to finish with 10.

For the Huskies, who saw their seven-game BIG EAST Tournament win streak snapped, Shabazz Napier led them in scoring with 15 points, but was just 5-17 from the floor. Andre Drummond added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
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2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT TIPS OFF TODAY – - CAN UCONN DO IT AGAIN?

March 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The bright lights of Broadway will begin shining today at high noon as the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament will get underway. Leading off the action will be the #9 seeded UConn versus the #16 seed DePaul. These very two teams opened the tournament last season and the Huskies began their improbable March run of 11 straight wins with a 97-71 win over the Blue Demons. Do they have it in them again?

“Last year we did the impossible,” Alex Oriakhi told the Hartford Courant. “So we know anything is possible.”

Of course, last year the Huskies had Kemba Walker, who had a March run that will live on through the ages. Even without Walker UConn is a team stocked with talent. Sophomore Jeremy Lamb and freshman Andre Drummond could be lottery picks in the NBA Draft this June. Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi played key roles throughout last year’s March run.
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MELO, COOLEY, WAITERS & CLARK EARN BIG EAST BASKETBALL AWARDS

March 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Courtesy of BIG EAST conference

NEW YORK – Fab Melo, Syracuse’s sophomore center, has been named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.

The league also announced that Notre Dame junior forward Jack Cooley is the BIG EAST Most Improved Player. Syracuse sophomore guard Dion Waiters has won the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award and Georgetown senior guard Jason Clark has been named the winner of the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.

Melo, who came to Syracuse from Sagemont, Fla., led the BIG EAST in blocked shots in league play with a 3.7 average. He also averaged 6.1 rebounds. The 7-0, 244-pound Melo is a valued member of the Syracuse lineup. In the team’s only loss of the season, a defeat at Notre Dame, Melo did not play. He is the second straight Defensive Player of the Year winner from Syracuse. Rick Jackson was the 2010-11 honoree.

Cooley emerged as one of the BIG EAST’s best big men this season after making modest contributions a season ago. As a sophomore in 2010-11, he averaged 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds while playing 10.3 minutes per game. This season, the 6-9 Cooley is averaging 12.5 points and owns a rebounding mark of 9.2, which ranks fourth in the BIG EAST. Cooley is a native of Glenview, Ill.
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BIG EAST RELEASES 2011-2012 MEN’S BASKETBALL ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS

March 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Courtesy of BIG EAST conference

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Forward Jae Crowder and guard Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette were two of six players named to the All-BIG EAST First Team, the league announced. The conference’s head coaches choose the all-conference teams. The coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players. The league announced the All-BIG EAST First, Second and Third Teams in addition to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.

The BIG EAST Player of the Year will come from the All-BIG EAST First Team. The conference will announce Player of the Year, Oppenheimer Funds/BIG EAST Coach of the Year, BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, March 6. The announcement will be made between sessions of the first day of The BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden. The press conference will begin after the postgame interviews of the afternoon doubleheader have been completed. The other league individual awards will be announced Monday, March 5.

In addition to Crowder and Johnson-Odom, the other first-team selections are: Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, Jason Clark of Georgetown, Kris Joseph of Syracuse and Kevin Jones of West Virginia.

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2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE & TICKETS (TOURNAMENT OVERVIEW)

March 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2012 BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters will be the 30th straight at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena. More than 3.2 million fans have gone through the turnstiles to watch the longest running conference basketball tournament at the same venue. Eleven different schools have taken home the crown. The Championship begins Tuesday with teams seeded ninth through 16th competing. Last year, it was ninth-seeded Connecticut that made it to the Saturday night championship game and took home the trophy. With Saturday’s topsy-turvy action, the Huskies find themselves in a familiar place…the #9 seed opening up the tournament with DePaul. Do they have it in them again?

On the heels of a historic regular season in which it won 30 of 31 games, including a 17-1 mark in conference play, Syracuse has earned the 2012 BIG EAST regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters. Syracuse enters the tournament in search of its sixth BIG EAST Championship title.

Syracuse joins Marquette, Notre Dame and Cincinnati as the top four seeds in The BIG EAST Championship, which begins Tuesday, March 6 at noon Eastern at Madison Square Garden in New York. Those four schools receive byes through two rounds of the tournament and won’t play until Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The Championship begins Tuesday with four first-round matchups. Connecticut and DePaul kick things off with a battle between the Nos. 9 and 16 seeds at noon, while No. 12 St. John’s takes on No. 13 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. to complete the afternoon session. Those games will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN 3D.

The Tuesday evening session begins with No. 10 Seton Hall and No. 15 Providence at 7 p.m., followed by No. 11 Rutgers against No. 14 Villanova at 9 p.m. on ESPNU and ESPN 3D.

No. 8-seed West Virginia will await the Connecticut/DePaul winner Wednesday at noon in the first of four second-round games. No. 5 Georgetown has the Pittsburgh/St. John’s winner at 2 p.m., while No. 7 Louisville takes on the Providence/Seton Hall winner at 7 p.m. No. 6 USF closes Wednesday’s action against the Villanova/Rutgers winner.

Friday’s semifinals are scheduled for 7 and 9 p.m., while the championship game tips at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Georgetown and Connecticut have won a conference-record seven BIG EAST Championships. The Huskies made history last season by winning five games in five days to take the conference crown on their way to an NCAA Championship.

The 2012 BIG EAST Tournament is already a sell out, but fans can still get their tickets. This is the last appearance in the Men’s BIG EAST championship for West Virginia and SU and Pitt are not far behind…so this year’s event promises to be one to remember!

Below are ticket links to all the sessions for this year’s event. Hundreds of seats for $10 or less are available right now so check out the links and get your seats to one of the great events of college basketball.

Here are your 2012 BIG EAST Tournament seeds:

1) Syracuse, 17-1
2) Marquette, 14-4
3) Notre Dame, 13-5
4) Cincinnati, 12-6
5) Georgetown, 12-6
6) South Florida, 12-6
7) Louisville, 10-8
8] West Virginia, 9-9
9) Connecticut, 8-10
10) Seton Hall, 8-10
11) Rutgers, 6-12
12) St. John’s, 6-12
13) Pittsburgh, 5-13
14) Villanova, 5-13
15) Providence, 4-14
16) DePaul, 2-15 (vs SHU)

We have also included a source to get tickets for the entire tournament or for each individual session as the NBE Basketball Report has partnered with TicketNetwork.com to help put fans in the stands this March. So, buy your tickets with complete confidence that you will be there (follow links to purchase tickets for each session) for the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament or Tickets to All Sporting Events!

2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (with ticket purchase links) – IF TOURNAMENT BEGAN TODAY:

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2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT IS SET TO TIP TUESDAY

March 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2012 BIG EAST Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters will be the 30th straight at Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena. More than 3.2 million fans have gone through the turnstiles to watch the longest running conference basketball tournament at the same venue. Eleven different schools have taken home the crown. The Championship begins Tuesday with teams seeded ninth through 16th competing. Last year, it was ninth-seeded Connecticut that made it to the Saturday night championship game and took home the trophy. With Saturday’s topsy-turvy action, the Huskies find themselves in a familiar place…the #9 seed opening up the tournament with DePaul. Do they have it in them again?

On the heels of a historic regular season in which it won 30 of 31 games, including a 17-1 mark in conference play, Syracuse has earned the 2012 BIG EAST regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters. Syracuse enters the tournament in search of its sixth BIG EAST Championship title.

Syracuse joins Marquette, Notre Dame and Cincinnati as the top four seeds in The BIG EAST Championship, which begins Tuesday, March 6 at noon Eastern at Madison Square Garden in New York. Those four schools receive byes through two rounds of the tournament and won’t play until Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The Championship begins Tuesday with four first-round matchups. Connecticut and DePaul kick things off with a battle between the Nos. 9 and 16 seeds at noon, while No. 12 St. John’s takes on No. 13 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. to complete the afternoon session. Those games will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN 3D.

The Tuesday evening session begins with No. 10 Seton Hall and No. 15 Providence at 7 p.m., followed by No. 11 Rutgers against No. 14 Villanova at 9 p.m. on ESPNU and ESPN 3D.

No. 8-seed West Virginia will await the Connecticut/DePaul winner Wednesday at noon in the first of four second-round games. No. 5 Georgetown has the Pittsburgh/St. John’s winner at 2 p.m., while No. 7 Louisville takes on the Providence/Seton Hall winner at 7 p.m. No. 6 USF closes Wednesday’s action against the Villanova/Rutgers winner.

Friday’s semifinals are scheduled for 7 and 9 p.m., while the championship game tips at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Georgetown and Connecticut have won a conference-record seven BIG EAST Championships. The Huskies made history last season by winning five games in five days to take the conference crown on their way to an NCAA Championship.

The 2012 BIG EAST Tournament is already a sell out, but fans can still get their tickets. This is the last appearance in the Men’s BIG EAST championship for West Virginia and SU and Pitt are not far behind…so this year’s event promises to be one to remember!

Below are ticket links to all the sessions for this year’s event. Hundreds of seats for $10 or less are available right now so check out the links and get your seats to one of the great events of college basketball.

Here are your 2012 BIG EAST Tournament seeds:

1) Syracuse, 17-1
2) Marquette, 14-4
3) Notre Dame, 13-5
4) Cincinnati, 12-6
5) Georgetown, 12-6
6) South Florida, 12-6
7) Louisville, 10-8
8] West Virginia, 9-9
9) Connecticut, 8-10
10) Seton Hall, 8-10
11) Rutgers, 6-12
12) St. John’s, 6-12
13) Pittsburgh, 5-13
14) Villanova, 5-13
15) Providence, 4-14
16) DePaul, 2-15 (vs SHU)

We have also included a source to get tickets for the entire tournament or for each individual session as the NBE Basketball Report has partnered with TicketNetwork.com to help put fans in the stands this March. So, buy your tickets with complete confidence that you will be there (follow links to purchase tickets for each session) for the 2012 BIG EAST Tournament or Tickets to All Sporting Events!

2012 BIG EAST TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (with ticket purchase links) – IF TOURNAMENT BEGAN TODAY:

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Mernagh: Valley Recap Plus Some A-10 Stuff

March 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Creighton and McDermott Get Tested by Drake

Doug McDermott hit two big three pointers in the middle of the second half and it looked like the Valley’s Player of the Year and his teammates were ready to pull away from Drake. The young Bulldogs had other plans though, cutting a 13-point lead with a little over 4 minutes remaining to 3 –63-60 – on a Rayvonte Rice bucket with 1:24 left on the clock. Creighton was able to salt things away by hitting 5-6 from the stripe in the final minute and winning 68-61.

McDermott was brilliant in the second half and finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for the game. Greg Echenique contested multiple shots in the last 3 minutes, blocking one by Drake’s Ben Simons that was huge down inside a minute left. Drake looks to have a bright future heading into next season while Creighton rolls into this afternoon’s semifinals in St. Louis where they will play Evansville. The Missouri Valley Tournament is a great event and anyone with a sports package on their TV can find it up in the Fox Sports Missouri/Midwest channels. Today’s games are usually the best. Tomorrow’s final will be on CBS I’m sure where it’s expected Creighton and Wichita State will slug it out (the greatest thing about this event is the expected rarely happens).

Evansville beat Missouri State 72-64 in the late game as Kenny Harris had 20 and Colt Ryan 19 to lead Marty Simmons’ crew. Evansville now plays #25 Creighton in what, judging by their two earlier games, should be a battle. The Purple Aces beat the Bluejays in Evansville and lost the game in Omaha in overtime.

Shockers Roll

The other semifinal features Wichita State going against Illinois State. The Shockers pounded a tired Indiana State club 72-48 in the Quarters while the Redbirds outlasted Northern Iowa. #14 Wichita State is 27-4 and led by a bevy of veteran players. The Shocks have had three different winning streaks of 8 or more this year and have an NCAA best record of 19-3 on the road since last season. The defending NIT champs are looking to make a deep run here in a few weeks (and with players like 7-footer Garret Stutz, Toure Murry and Joe Ragland, that’s a distinct probability).

Lowery Fired
Southern Illinois did the inevitable when, facing multiple consecutive losing seasons (including this year’s school record 23 loss campaign) they fired head coach and former Saluki player Chris Lowery. Lowery was the hottest name in the coaching business just four short years ago. He turned down more than one big six league job as SIU stepped up and rewarded him with a fat contract. That contract still had 2 years left on it – the buyout is $1.5 million – and in all likelihood was the only thing that kept SIU from pulling the trigger on Lowery last year. Lowery enjoyed great success, but is the latest example of how quickly things can turn on a coach when they lose players to transfer and miss on recruits. Hindsight is 20/20, but I’m guessing that Michigan job Lowery once turned down is looking pretty good right now.

A-10 Action at Noon
Rick – “I’m not a big Gay guy” – Majerus and his Billikens are coming to town to play Duquesne at noon. St. Louis is having a great year at 23-6 (11-4 in the league). I look forward to watching them play the always game at home Dukes at noon today.

UCONN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MAKES IMPRESSION ON OMAR CALHOUN

April 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The saying ‘to the victor goes the spoils’ can definitely be applied to college basketball when the national champion prepares to hit the recruiting trail. This spring and summer when a staff member from Connecticut pays a visit to a high school, makes a phone call or walks into an event to evaluate and show their interest, recruits will take extra notice. The Huskies captured college basketball’s most coveted prize on Monday night and recruits have definitely taken notice as NBE learned from the father of prized 2012 shooting guard prospect Omar Calhoun Jr. this morning.

“He has great interest in UConn,” said Omar Calhoun Sr. to NBE’s Matt Whitfield in a phone interview earlier today. “Definitely with the success they’ve been having over the years. He thinks Coach Calhoun is a great coach and someone he’d love to play for.”

Connecticut is in a tough situation on the recruiting trail as well. The future of Coach Calhoun is often talked about. The Hall of Fame head coach was the oldest to capture a national title at 68 years of age and has battled several health problems in recent years, including two bouts with cancer. The continuing saga of an NCAA investigation over the Nate Miles recruitment continues to hover over the program following recent reports during the Final Four that Miles might be talking with the NCAA in the upcoming months.

Still, Omar Calhoun Sr. feels the UConn program will continue on with the success and tradition that Jim Calhoun has built and the success rate the program has in producing NBA players.
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CHAMPIONSHIP RUN FOR CONNECTICUT BEGAN MORE THAN 27 DAYS AGO

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Raphielle Johnson

To say the least, the national title game between Butler and Connecticut was no work of art for the casual observer, as the Bulldogs shot a record-low 18.8% from the field and UConn wasn’t much better (34.5%). But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone connected with the University of Connecticut willing to replay the game to see if something a bit more artistic transpires. But how did UConn, a team picked to finish tenth in the Big East back in October, get to this point?

The first seed was planted following their season-ending loss in the second round of the Postseason NIT at Virginia Tech, capping a disappointing 18-16 campaign. That group had three seniors in Jerome Dyson, Gavin Edwards and Stanley Robinson, none of whom were the vocal type. And as the season wore on it became apparent that the leaders by example were lacking as well. The nadir: getting whipped by St. John’s in the first round of the Big East Championship and looking like a team desperate for spring break.

The end of the Virginia Tech game marked the passing of the keys to Kemba Walker and Donnell Beverly, and they went to work quickly in getting all other on board to understand how hard they’d have to work. Beverly, one of three seniors (Kyle Bailey and Charles Okwandu), is a guy who gets left out by many due to his lack of playing time.

But that didn’t stop him from being a leader, and guys like him are almost as important as the stars when it comes to winning basketball. But Walker will be the play people think of immediately when discussing the national champions. And as important as his play was, the junior’s willingness to lead is what got the Huskies rolling.
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BIG EAST LESSONS PROVE FRUITFUL FOR NATIONAL CHAMPION UCONN

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The BIG EAST conference took its share of hits over the past three and a half weeks, and deservedly so. The conference sent an NCAA Tournament record 11 teams into the Madness and after the first weekend only two teams were left. Making matters worse Connecticut and Marquette advanced into the second week of the tournament by beating fellow conference rivals. In other words, the BIG EAST was 0-3 in Round Two against non-BIG EAST foes.

After that first weekend the conference was bruised and battered with a cumulative record of just 9-9. The top eight finishers in the league’s regular season all saw their season’s end without reaching the Sweet 16. All that was left was Marquette and Connecticut, two teams that finished 9-9 in regular season BIG EAST play.

“I heard some comments about our league,” said UConn coach Jim Calhoun Monday night in Houston after the Huskies beat Butler 53-41 to earn the National Championship. “I’m a Big East parochial guy, and I have a reason to be.”

When Marquette was trounced by North Carolina in the Sweet 16 in Newark (NJ), Connecticut was left all by alone to carry the conference’s banner deep into the NCAA’s. A win over San Diego State in Anaheim put Jim Calhoun in position to reach his fourth final four since 1999 with one more victory. After surviving a last second attempt to win the game by Arizona, the Huskies moved on to Houston and two more victories later they were national champions for the third time.
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SPECIAL JOURNEY FOR UCONN ENDS WITH THIRD NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2010-2011 college basketball season came to a conclusion Monday night in Houston with Connecticut earning a 53-41 victory over Butler. It was not the most visually entertaining final for basketball fans, but it was just what UConn Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun needed, in this game and for this season.

“Very honestly, this group to me will always be incredibly special,” said Calhoun after the game. “They’re all special in their own way, but I needed this team. I need this team every day for 109 practice sessions, for their walk-ons, for everybody involved, they truly were brothers, they truly were trusting of each other and very, very special.”

The Huskies survived their own slow start offensively by holding Butler to just 41 points and 19% shooting from the field (12-64). The Bulldogs were an incredibly poor 3-31 inside the arc on two-point field goal attempts.

“I think eventually our quickness and length got to them,” said Calhoun.

Even though Monday’s final might go down in history as one of the ugliest games on the big stage of the Final Four, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and both teams gave it everything they had.

“Butler really plays defense…and I think we play defense,” Calhoun said. “But from a purist’s standpoint, you want to teach them defense, take a clip of both teams, you’d see some terrific defense.

“When I saw the kid (Matt) Howard hurt, I didn’t like that. I’m serious. I didn’t like that. Because he gave so much during the game. Both teams were matching that. To me that’s beauty. That’s what this game should be about.

“Damn, I loved it in the sense of the fact of the fight, competitiveness between the two teams.”
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