Big East Puts Basketball on a Pedestal, and Likes How It Looks

To put that in perspective, the Big East has had two of its members placed on the bracket’s top line in the same year only three times, including in the days of Syracuse, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t believe that this idea was achievable,” Ackerman said. “That you could stay relevant, stay competitive — without football.”

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Kyron Cartwright of Providence, center, drew an offensive foul on J.P. Macura of Xavier, in air, in the final minute of overtime on Friday in the Big East semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The Friars came back from a 17-point, second-half deficit to stun Xavier, 75-72.

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A scene from Friday: A 17-point second-half lead for top-seeded Xavier had vanished. A floater in the lane from Rodney Bullock of Providence tied the score, 64-64. A capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden roared. A “Let’s go, Friars” chant resounded.

“I love it!” Ed Cooley, the Providence coach, cried, clapping his hands. “I love it.”

The game went to overtime before the Friars…

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