The March Madness is about to hit full force, as the Big East tournament 2013 bracket schedule has been released with the close of conference play this weekend. Much of the action will be live streaming online and televised, with Syracuse and Georgetown among the top seeds heading into the tourney.
According to a report on March 11 from NBC Sports, the Big East tournament will be held from March 12 through 16 at Madison Square Garden in New York. This will be the last official tournament for the conference, as teams have shifted locations leaving behind the 30 years of basketball history associated with the Big East. So far, the favorites are the #1 seed Georgetown Hoyas, who have won 12 of their last 13 games.
The next choice to run the table in the Big East tourney is Louisville behind its experienced backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva. Among the other players to watch that NBC Sports mentions are Otto Porter of the Hoyas, Jack Cooley of Notre Dame, Bryce Cotton of Providence and Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse. Any one of these individuals is putting on an impressive performance en route to some true March Madness ahead of the "Big Dance."
The two first round games arrive on Tuesday. South Florida vs. Seton Hall will take place at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU for TV coverage followed by DePaul vs. Rutgers at 9:30 PM EST. Both games are also listed for the WatchESPN/ESPN3 live streaming online video feed, but the games are only available in the western half of the U.S. with Virginia and many other eastern states blacked out online.
On Wednesday, March 13, Cincinnati plays Providence in the first game of the second round at 12 p.m. EST on ESPN for TV and ESPN3 for the live stream. St. John's vs. Villanova, which is game 3 of the second round goes live at approximately 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2. Coverage online may be blacked out in Virginia for this game. Meanwhile, two other games will take place as the #5 seed Syracuse Orange and #6 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish await winners from the first round.
Seeds with byes for the first two rounds are the #1 seed Georgetown Hoyas, #2 seed Louisville Cardinals, #3 seed Marquette Golden Eagles and #4 seed Pittsburgh Panthers. Games will resume on the 14th, 15th and 16th for the concluding rounds of the tournament, based on which Big East teams advance in the brackets. As of this report, the times for those games are all to be announced.
The Connecticut Huskies, while finishing at an impressive seventh overall in the conference, are banned from any postseason play, including the Big East tournament, due to academic violations. The school will not be eligible for inclusion in the NCAA tournament this year either.
Several teams competing in the Big East tournament could move up in terms of bracket positions for the NCAA tournament, or even punch their tickets to the "Big Dance" with some big wins. A complete look at the current bracket is available here at ESPN.com.