The 2013 Big East officially started on Tuesday, but things really kicked off Wednesday when a handful of NCAA tourney hopefuls and bubble teams started play. Traditionally one of the deepest conferences in the nation, as many as seven at-large bids could come out of the Big East this year, making for an exciting and competitive week of basketball. Let's recap Thursday's action:
Sean Kilpatrick led with 17 points and JaQuon Parker had a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) as the Bearcats dominated the Friars, effectively ending their postseason hopes. Providence shot a pitiful 28.1 percent from the field, were out-rebounded 42-32, and were never able to make this much of a game. Cincy has been on the right side of the bubble for a while now, and this win should just about punch their ticket. They will face Georgetown on Thursday.
Seton Hall threatened to make this interesting early, going into halftime with the game tied, 34-34. But Syracuse, on a cold streak for most of February, sprang to life and went on to send the Pirates packing. James Southerland lit up the scoreboard with 20 points and six three-point shots, and Michael Carter-Williams dished things out with 14 assists. The Orange now head into a showdown with Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Another bubble team looking to make an impression, Villanova avoided a stumble here and seem set for an at-large bid. Mouphtaou Yarou led with 18 points and seven rebounds and three steals, while Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in with 15 points. The Wildcats will face Louisville next, and even if they lose, their resume at this point should be good enough for the selection committee.
This game wasn't quite as close as the final score indicates. Notre Dame jumped out to a 33-19 halftime lead and never really looked back despite Rutgers' attempts to make things interesting in the second half. The Irish shot an impressive 10 of 17 three-pointers, compared to just 4 of 15 for Rutgers. Pat Connaughton racked up 21 points and Tom Knight helped out with 18 points and nine rebounds. Notre Dame faces Marquette on Thursday.
Check out the complete bracket here.